Release-Recovery in the Field and Reproductive Success in the Lab of Laricobius osakensis (Coleopera: Derodontidae) a Biological Control Agent for the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, Adelges tsugae
Mooneyham, Katlin L.
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The hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), Adelges tsugae Annand (Hemiptera: Adelgidae) is a small, non-native insect that feeds on hemlock (Tsuga spp.) species native to the eastern United States. One biological control agent, Laricobius osakensis, shows promise due to its voracious feeding on and synchronous life cycle with HWA. This beetle species is originally from Japan and has undergone all the necessary testing while in quarantine, gaining permission for field release in 2010. Field releases began in the fall of 2012 and continued the following fall. Reproduction occurred at the first year's field sites with beetles recovered at both sites the following fall. During the second year of field work, beetle recovery was low due to winter temperatures that caused high HWA mortality. All of the L. osakensis beetles released in the field are first reared in an Insectary on Virginia Tech's campus. To improve health of these beetles during rearing, a series of chemical amendments were added to the water baths where HWA infested cut hemlock branches were placed. HWA samples were taken from each treatment and analyzed for carbon, nitrogen and total carbohydrates and beetles emergence was recorded in relation to prescribed treatment. None of the treatments appeared as the best for improving HWA health, but there were differences between the sampling months within the two years. These differences in month correlate with the biological processes occurring within HWA at these times such as reproduction and preparation for aestivation. No treatment helped increase beetle emergence.
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