Red Turpentine Beetle: Innocuous Native Becomes … ARI 10 September 2012 16:11 R E V I E W S I N A D V A N C E Red Turpentine Beetle: Innocuous Native Becomes Invasive Tree Killer - [PDF Document] (2024)

EN58CH15-Gillette ARI 10 September 2012 16:11







Red Turpentine Beetle:Innocuous Native BecomesInvasive Tree Killer in ChinaJianghua Sun,1 Min Lu,1 Nancy E. Gillette,2,∗

and Michael J. Wingfield3

1State Key Laboratory of Integrated Management of Pest Insects and Rodents, Institute ofZoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China; email: [emailprotected],[emailprotected] Southwest Research Station, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Albany,California 94710; email: [emailprotected] Protection Co-operation Programme, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute,University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa; email: [emailprotected]

Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013. 58:293–311

The Annual Review of Entomology is online

This article’s doi:10.1146/annurev-ento-120811-153624

Copyright c© 2013 by Annual Reviews.All rights reserved


∗Corresponding author


Dendroctonus valens, invasive species, invasiveness, IPM, Leptographium,pines


The red turpentine beetle (RTB), Dendroctonus valens LeConte (Coleoptera:Curculionidae: Scolytinae), is a secondary pest of pines in its native rangein North and Central America. Outbreaks and tree mortality attributed toRTB alone are rare in its native range. RTB was introduced into China inthe early 1980s and spread rapidly from Shanxi Province to four adjacentprovinces; it has infested over 500,000 ha of pine forest and has causedextensive tree mortality since 1999. We provide a historical background onRTB outbreaks, explanations for its invasive success, management options,and economic impacts of RTB in China. Genetic variation in RTB fungalassociates, interactions between RTB and its associated fungi, behavioraldifferences in Chinese RTB, and other factors favoring RTB outbreaks areconsidered in an effort to explain the invasiveness of RTB in China. Thepromise of semiochemicals as a management tool is also discussed.


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RTB: red turpentinebeetle

Haplotype: a segmentof DNA containingclosely linked genevariations that areinherited as a unit


The red turpentine beetle (RTB), Dendroctonus valens LeConte (Coleoptera: Curculionidae,Scolytinae), commonly infests pines in its native range in North America (Canada, the UnitedStates, and Mexico) and parts of Central America (Guatemala and Honduras) (16, 71, 89, 109).In this geographic range, RTB is considered a secondary pest, often predisposing trees to attackby more aggressive bark beetles and only occasionally killing healthy trees (71). Outbreaks andtree mortality attributed to RTB alone are rare in its native range (11, 71, 89). In the early 1980s,RTB appeared for the first time outside its native range in China, where it is thought to havebeen introduced on unprocessed logs imported from the west coast of the United States (114).After 1999, RTB spread rapidly from Shanxi Province to the adjacent provinces of Hebei, Henan,Shaanxi, and Beijing and infested over 500,000 ha of pine forest, causing extensive tree mortality(74, 114, 115). It is estimated that RTB has killed more than 10 million Pinus tabuliformis as wellas other pine species, including the possibly endangered P. bungeana (19, 68, 114, 122).

The invasion of RTB into China is worrisome because extensive loss of forest cover can resultin dramatic changes to ecosystems, with concurrent losses of biodiversity and carbon sequestrationcapacity (48, 114). Moreover, pines are key reforestation species in China, and P. tabuliformis iswidely planted across large areas of the country. Several conditions may have contributed to thesuccess of RTB in China, including an abundance of naıve hosts, a lack of natural enemies, andmutualistic symbioses with microorganisms. Increasing global temperatures are also expected tocontribute to RTB success by broadening its latitudinal range. The behavior of RTB in its nativerange is clearly different from that in China, and appropriate management options will be requiredfor it there. Careful monitoring and new research, aimed at understanding RTB’s novel biology inits new environment, will be required to inform management options and avoid further economicand ecological damage.


Genetic Variation

Until recently, few studies have been conducted to assess genetic variation in RTB populations,undoubtedly because its pest status is a new phenomenon. Genetic variation in a number of otherdamaging Dendroctonus species in North America has, however, been extensively studied (3, 7,41). Only recently have studies begun to reveal the genetic architecture of RTB, and these wereintended as source estimation studies to trace the origin of Chinese RTB populations (10, 12).

The comparative genetic structure of native and nonnative RTB was first studied by estimatingphylogenetic and genetic frequencies using partial sequences of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidasesubunit I (COI) of individuals sampled from multiple locations in North America and China(12). Overall, high haplotype diversity was found, and Chinese beetles shared haplotypes withbeetles from the Pacific Northwest (PNW) of North America, supporting the hypothesis thatthe introduction of D. valens into China was recent and originated from the PNW of NorthAmerica (12). However, the high haplotype diversity within populations and the high geneticsimilarity among populations produced many unresolved relationships between haplotypes andpopulations (12). This issue was addressed by Cai et al. (10), who also used a partial sequence ofCOI but included individuals from more sites in China, larger sample sizes, and paleoclimatic andgeological data.

Cai et al. (10) showed that the Chinese beetle-to-haplotype ratio was more than double thatfor PNW of North America, suggesting a genetic bottleneck of some degree in the early stagesafter the introduction of RTB into China, followed by a relatively rapid population buildup (10).

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Loss of rare alleles or haplotypes is expected as a result of founder effects and bottlenecks duringcolonization by invasive pests, and these consequences are even more intense when the introducedpopulations are small (5). High levels of genetic diversity can be maintained, however, if thepopulation expands (79).

The earliest major split for RTB that gave rise to the North American and Central Americanlineages most likely occurred during the late Pliocene, before the beginning of the most recentice age (10). It is no surprise that glacial and postglacial events affected the phylogeography ofRTB, and in fact these geological factors had an important role in the generation of lineagesin many other taxa, including some pine species (90). The marked genetic differences betweeneastern and western North American populations, and between Mexican/Guatemalan and USpopulations (10), call for more extensive molecular phylogeographic studies, especially with theeastern populations, in order to better understand the genetic relationships of RTB globally.

Distinct Characteristics of Chinese Red Turpentine Beetle

Developmental and behavioral characteristics of RTB were initially presumed to be similar inNorth America and China (114). However, Chinese beetles have distinct adaptations, which likelydeveloped in response to different conditions in the new ecosystem. The most striking charac-teristic of Chinese RTB is its ability to colonize, kill, and reproduce in healthy P. tabuliformis,resulting in multiple outbreaks with no parallel in its native region. In North America, RTB ini-tiates attack on trees near ground level, and beetles colonize a short distance both upward alongthe bole and downward to the upper roots (71, 89). In China, RTB extensively colonizes andoverwinters in roots (9, 112). RTB cannot overwinter in the tree bole above the root crown whenthe temperature is below −18◦C (112). Roots provide better thermal insulation than the lowerbole, and low temperatures probably favored beetles that could survive in roots (68, 80). Duringthe early years of RTB colonization of China, winter temperatures below −18◦C were common,presumably limiting rapid range expansion by RTB (114). In recent years, however, temperatureshave seldom dropped below −18◦C, expanding the range of suitable overwintering sites for thebeetles. The increase in overwintering niches may have resulted in a buildup of RTB populationsand concomitant dispersal to adjacent regions. The effects of climate change on range expansionof other North American bark beetles have been well summarized (6), and similar consequencescan be anticipated for RTB in China.

RTB preferentially colonizes pines growing on south-facing hillsides, those growing in valleysrather than at midslope or on ridgetops, and large-diameter trees (55). Studies in the United Stateshave demonstrated RTB attraction to host volatiles released during harvesting operations (22),and research in China has shown that RTB exploits specific concentrations of host monoterpenesto locate hosts of a size for optimal larval survival (54). In cold regions, the beetles complete onlyone generation per year or even one generation every two years, whereas in warmer climates theyare reported to have up to three generations per year (80, 89, 122).

RTB has excellent dispersal abilities. Its flight distance was shown to exceed 16 km in NorthAmerica (89), and in China flight distances of up to 35 km have been documented (122). Long-distance flight capability enables the beetle to migrate over large areas, including such barriers asextensive gaps in forest cover. In China, RTB has overcome the Luliang and Taihang mountainranges, which, barring human-assisted transport, shows remarkable long-distance and altitudinalmigrating ability (122).

The detection of host tree volatiles by beetles is also important in RTB biology and may havecontributed to its successful establishment in China (83). Volatiles from frass expelled from fe-male nuptial chambers are apparently used by males to locate these chambers (56). In China, RTB • RTB as an Invasive Species in China 295

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Pheromone:a semiochemical thatmediates intraspecificinteractions

Kairomone:a semiochemical thatmediates interspecificinteractions to thebenefit of the receiverbut not the emitter

Semiochemical:a chemical emitted byone organism thataffects the behavior ofanother organism,either between orwithin species

Allelochemical:a semiochemical thatmediates interspecificinteractions

has been shown to harbor trans-verbenol, cis-verbenol, myrtenol, myrtenal, and verbenone in itshindgut (83). These volatiles are known pheromone components in other species of Dendroctonus(97). Trans-verbenol, myrtenol, and myrtenal are detected by antennal receptors and elicit attrac-tion in RTB (120). In field tests, both trans-verbenol and myrtenol significantly increased catchesof beetles in traps baited with host kairomone (120). Newly emerged females and males have onlyminute amounts of these compounds, but the quantity of volatiles from female adults increasesafter feeding (83). Male adults produce larger quantities of volatiles after they join females ingalleries, which could be a means for RTB males to accelerate mass colonization of host trees (83).Zhang et al. (121) reported that verbenone functions as a multipurpose pheromone for RTB—attractive at very low concentrations but repellent at high concentrations. This phenomenon hasbeen reported in other species of Dendroctonus, but for practical purposes, the primary functionof verbenone for all species of Dendroctonus tested is as an interruptant to host or mate location(78).

In North America, large-group extracts also showed trace quantities of the bicyclic acetalfrontalin in females but not in males. Small groups of juvenile hormone III ( JH III)–treated or Pi-nus radiata–fed females also produced frontalin (64). Groups of males did not produce frontalin, ir-respective of treatment. Both sexes, in this experiment, also produced cis-verbenol, trans-verbenol,and verbenone, with females producing more cis- and trans-verbenol and males generally produc-ing more verbenone (64). Myrtenol and myrtenal may be new compounds produced by RTB inChina, but this hypothesis has not been explored in US populations. These two oxidized monoter-penes have been proposed as attractants for trapping RTB in China (95).

Rapid production of aggregation semiochemicals could expedite host location and therebyreduce exposure of beetles to predation and other mortality factors. Shi & Sun (83) found thatcis-verbenol, trans-verbenol, myrtenal, myrtenol, and verbenone were not synthesized de novo bythe beetles; instead, they were synthesized through oxidation of the host monoterpene, α-pinene.Oxidation of α-pinene is a relatively simple chemical conversion and hence may involve lowermetabolic costs and provide faster mobilization and release of attractant semiochemicals.

Complex Biological Interactions

Bark beetles are well-known vectors of fungi, particularly species of Ophiostomataceae (Ascomy-cota), several of which are important pathogens of conifers (38, 42, 73, 85, 88). Similarly, numer-ous species of ophiostomatoid fungi and particularly Grosmannia spp. are well-known associates ofRTB in its native range (87, 108). Unlike some other species of Dendroctonus, such as D. frontalis,RTB has no known specific cuticular adaptation to carry fungi; rather, adult beetles simply carryinoculum in pits and on setae on their body surfaces (73). An earlier study by Klepzig et al. (44)clearly showed that host tree allelochemicals induced by beetle-vectored fungal infestation couldinhibit fungal germination and growth and in some cases were also repellent to scolytine beetles,including RTB.

An intriguing question regarding RTB in China relates to the fungi associated with the beetlein its new environment and whether these might, at least in part, account for its unusual behaviorthere. Various studies have been undertaken to compare the fungal associates of RTB in China andNorth America (60–63) (Table 1). Interestingly, of all the fungi isolated from North Americanand Chinese beetles, only two shared species, Leptographium procerum and Ophiostoma ips, havebeen found (60). Of these, L. procerum is the most consistently isolated from RTB in China (60).Oddly, however, L. procerum and L. terebrantis are the most frequently recorded associates of RTBin North America (43, 86, 108), yet despite relatively intensive collections, L. terebrantis has neverbeen found associated with the insect in China.

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Table 1 Fungi reported from red turpentine beetle

Species Host Origin Reference(s)Ceratocystis collifera Pinus teocote Mexico 65Graphium sp. Pinus ponderosa United States 70Grosmannia clavigera Not known United States 86Grosmannia europhioides Not known North America 110Grosmannia piceaperda Not known North America 81Hyalorhinocladiella pinicola Pinus tabuliformis China 60Leptographium alethinum Pinus tabuliformis China 62Leptographium koreanum Pinus tabuliformis China 62Leptographium pini-densiflorae Pinus tabuliformis China 60, 100Leptographium procerum Pinus sylvestris, Pinus resinosa, Pinus

banksiana, Pinus strobusUnited States 36, 43, 108

Pinus tabuliformis, Pinus bungeana China 60–62, 100Leptographium sinoprocerum Pinus tabuliformis, Pinus bungeana China 60, 61, 100Leptographium terebrantis Pinus ponderosa, Pinus sylvestris, Pinus

resinosa, Pinus banksianaUnited States 32, 43, 70, 86, 108

Leptographium truncatum Pinus tabuliformis China 60, 62, 100Leptographium wageneri Pinus ponderosa United States 27Leptographium wageneri var.ponderosum

Pinus ponderosa, Pinus jeffreyi United States 82

Leptographium wingfieldii Pinus resinosa, Pinus strobus United States 36Ophiostoma sp. Pinus tabuliformis China 60Ophiostoma abietinum Pinus tabuliformis China 60Ophiostoma floccosum Pinus tabuliformis China 60, 100Ophiostoma ips Pinus tabuliformis China 60

Pinus ponderosa, Pinus resinosa United States 43, 70Ophiostoma minus Pinus tabuliformis China 60, 100Ophiostoma piceae Pinus tabuliformis China 60Ophiostoma piliferum Not known North America 75Pesotum aureum Pinus tabuliformis China 62Pesotum pini Pinus tabuliformis China 62

It is unclear whether L. procerum was introduced into China along with RTB, although thefungus is a frequent RTB associate in eastern and central North America and this seems the mostlikely case. A recent study by Lu et al. (59) provides some evidence that the fungus was introducedwith RTB into China. There are, however, puzzling contradictions in this regard. For example,although L. procerum has never been reported from western North America, this is the area thoughtto be the source of the Chinese introduction (10, 12). Recent intensive collections in the westernUnited States have confirmed the absence of L. procerum associated with RTB in that region (24),so there is clearly a need for a more in-depth comparison of RTB’s fungal associates in its nativeand introduced ranges.

L. procerum is not known to be a primary pathogen in North America, although it has beenassociated with tree decline syndromes and with other scolytines that feed on living conifers (108).On the other hand, strains of L. procerum collected from exotic RTB in China were much morevirulent in pathogenicity tests on P. tabuliformis than a strain from the beetle in North America (58). • RTB as an Invasive Species in China 297

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Symbiotic invasion




Dendroctonus valens(RTB)

Local H. parallelusvolatiles attract

RTB to host

Native Chinese beetles

facilitate RTB invasion

by simultaneously

attacking the


Fungi are inoculated

in the host as RTB

colonizes it

Inoculated fungi induce

further 3-carene

production in

the host


attracts RTB

Pinus tabuliformis



Figure 1Symbiotic invasion of the red turpentine beetle and its associated fungi in China.

Multitrophicinteraction:interaction occurringbetween more thantwo trophic levels

Intriguingly, these Chinese strains also increased tree production of 3-carene, the most attractivehost volatile for RTB, in inoculated pine seedlings. Although these results are of a preliminarynature, Lu et al. (58, 59) suggest that this multitrophic, semiochemical interaction could be animportant factor involved in the RTB invasion in China (Figure 1). Elevated 3-carene levels havebeen associated with insect and disease defense in other conifers in Pinaceae (18), and the isolation

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A disturbing new phenomenon has arisen worldwide: The sudden emergence of previously unnoticed or unknowntree-killing beetle–fungus symbioses. In some cases, such as that of Xyleborus glabratus vectoring laurel wilt disease,the symbiosis is longstanding, and beetle and fungus were apparently introduced simultaneously to North Americafrom Asia. In the case of the red turpentine beetle and Leptographium procerum, the fungus has a long associationwith the beetle in its native region, but new, aggressive fungal genotypes arose after the symbiosis was introducedinto China. In the case of Platypus quercivorus vectoring the oak wilt pathogen Raffaelea quercivora in Japan, theassociation appears to have resulted from an encounter between a native beetle and an introduced fungus. And inthe case of thousand cankers disease and the walnut twig beetle Pityophthorus juglandis, the association is apparentlylongstanding, but other factors, possibly including climate change, have extended the beetle’s range and increasedtree mortality from the symbiosis. In the past, we were ill-prepared to identify even native fungal associates ofscolytine beetles because fungal taxonomic methods were so challenging. Now, with molecular methods for theirstudy, we should intensify investigation of these symbioses so that we can rapidly and appropriately respond to newintroductions.

of 3-carene synthase cDNA should facilitate mechanistic testing of the function of 3-carene inthe chemical ecology of RTB and its fungal associates in their pine hosts. The phenomenon ofa*ggressive new beetle–fungal associations is reported with increasing frequency and raises seriousphytosanitary concerns (24, 31, 33, 35, 36, 37, 47) (see sidebar, Invasive Beetle–Fungal Symbioses:Bad News for Forests).

The assemblage of fungi associated with RTB in China is remarkably different from that knownof the insect in its native range (Table 1). There is clear evidence that in China the insect hasestablished a unique community of associates (24, 60, 61), including the new species L. sinoprocerumcollected in Shanxi Province (61). The implications of this novel assemblage of fungi associatedwith RTB in China and the novel beetle–fungal interactions with a new Chinese host tree arenot entirely understood. It should also be noted that interactions between RTB and fungi can beeither beneficial or detrimental to the beetles, as has been suggested from in vitro experiments withChinese RTB. In these experiments, larvae fed on an artificial diet including O. minus exhibiteda decreased rate of weight gain compared with those fed on L. procerum and L. terebrantis (101).The immunocompetence of RTB stimulated by the fungi has been inferred to be the underlyingmechanism for the antagonism (84). However, RTB larvae seem to be able to control this negativeeffect by producing a suite of volatiles (verbenol, myrtenol, and myrtenal) that inhibit growth ofO. minus (101).

Two well-known insect pathogenic fungi, Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae, infectRTB larvae, pupae, and adults in China (104, 112, 122). Laboratory tests demonstrated thatsome strains of B. bassiana caused 100% mortality of RTB adults in concentrations of 1 × 107

conidia ml−1 (118). This result is consistent with other studies using B. bassiana as a biocontrolagent of beetles (15, 46, 77).

Many species of bacteria have been isolated from RTB in the United States and Mexico. Thebacterial gut community of RTB from Mexico was characterized and included species of Lactococcus,Acinetobacter, Pantoea, Rahnella, Stenotrophom*onas, Erwinia, Enterobacter, Serratia, Janibacter, Leifso-nia, Cellulomonas, and Cellulosimicrobium (69). This study revealed a relatively low species diversity(17 species) compared with communities in other insects (>100 species in termites, co*ckroaches,and scarab beetles) (69). A possible explanation for this low level of diversity is that bark beetleguts contain toxic host compounds that could limit the number of bacterial species (69). • RTB as an Invasive Species in China 299

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Bacterial symbionts of RTB, like those of other bark beetles, play a role in nutrition, detox-ification of host volatiles, and regulation of fungal symbiont populations (2). Bark beetle gutstypically harbor a few to more than a dozen bacterial species, but relatively few shared bacterialspecies among bark beetles have been investigated for the presence of these organisms. For ex-ample, RTB and Ips pini shared only three bacterial genera (14, 69), suggesting a relatively tightlyevolved relationship between bark beetle species and bacteria. The bacterial gut community ofRTB reported from Mexico included 17 species (69), whereas widespread sampling in the UnitedStates revealed 19 operational taxonomic units (1), with little overlap among taxa between thetwo sites. Indeed, Adams et al. (1) found significant differences in the bacterial compositions evenbetween the sites in the United States. Nevertheless, all bark beetles studied to date share thegenera Stenotrophom*onas and Pantoea (69), which hints at an essential and ancient symbiotic rela-tionship. These types of relationships are very complex and could have evolved as RTB defensivemechanisms against pathogens. The understanding of these multipartite symbioses may revealunexpected opportunities in bark beetle pest management (76).

In the United States, RTB is known to be associated with conditions leading to tree stresssuch as wildfire scorching, disease, or infestation by other forest insect and disease pests (71).Common insect associates of RTB include Ips spp., Hylurgops spp., Hylastes spp., Dendroctonusbrevicomis, D. jeffreyi, and D. ponderosae (71), and fungi associated with attack by RTB in theUnited States include Leptographium wageneri, L. terebrantis (western and central United Statesonly), and L. procerum (eastern and central United States only) (43, 72). In China, an importantsemiochemical relationship exists between RTB and the root-feeding scolytine Hylastes parallelus(57). Both species can infest trees simultaneously, with RTB infesting the lower trunks and upperroots and H. parallelus infesting the lower roots and both insects contributing to the success ofthe overall infestation (112). This synergistic relationship appears to be mediated through cross-attraction via chemical cues (57) (Figure 1).

In the United States, several generalist predators of Dendroctonus spp. bark beetles are presumedto prey on RTB, including Temnochila chlorodia (Coleoptera: Trogissitidae), Thanasimus dubius andEnoclerus spp. (Coleoptera: Cleridae), and Lasconotus spp. (Coleoptera: Colydiidae) (23). Studiesthat conclusively demonstrate such predation, however, have not been conducted, probably be-cause of the nonpest status of RTB in the United States. Massey (66) makes oblique referenceto a nematode parasite species of North American RTB that reaches 9 mm in length, but doesnot identify it taxonomically. Rose (80) reports finding two nematode species, Rhabditis sp. andDitylenchus sp., in RTB galleries in central Mexico but did not define their roles with respect toRTB.

Several field surveys in China have revealed the occurrence of various natural invertebratepredators of RTB, which occur in low numbers. These include Agulla xiyue, Camponotus japonicus,Dendrocopos major, Formica sinensis, Labidura riparia, Platysoma attenuata, Raphidia sinica, Tetramo-rium guineense, and Thanasimus formicarius (104, 122). P. attenuata has shown some potential forthe control of RTB (104), and an unidentified species of Tenebrionidae (Coleoptera) was a highlyeffective predator in laboratory experiments (112). Rhizophagus grandis Gyllenhal, a predator of theclosely related Dendroctonus micans (Kugelann) in Europe, has excellent prey-search abilities andhigh fecundity and has been used successfully to control D. micans in several European countries(8, 45). Gregoire et al. (28) identified several oxygenated monoterpenes in the frass of RTB larvaethat collectively functioned as oviposition stimulants for R. grandis, indicating promise for its use asa biocontrol agent for RTB. R. grandis was first introduced into China in 2000 where mass-rearingtechniques had been developed for its use (107), but it was able to establish and attack RTB withonly moderate efficacy, so its role as a biocontrol agent has been somewhat limited (126).

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Factors Favoring Red Turpentine Beetle Outbreaks

Favorable climate and abundant hosts have undoubtedly contributed to RTB establishment innorthern China. However, high levels of humidity arising from frequent rainfall disrupt egg hatchand larval development (68). Pinus tabuliformis forests occur in four climatic regions (111) and theselikely also differentially affect RTB outbreaks. They are (a) a warm/dry region, (b) a warm/moistregion, (c) a warm/wet region, and (d ) a subtropical/wet region. The outbreak of RTB in northernChina has occurred in the warm/dry region, which has one-half to one-third the precipitation ofthe other regions, especially from October to May (94); its mean relative humidity is the lowestof the four climatic regions and it has the longest mean daylength (111). Several consecutive yearsof severe drought in northern China may have stressed P. tabuliformis and made it more susceptibleto RTB damage (49, 93), and an unusually dry spring in 1997 has been suggested as an importanttrigger for the first outbreak in 1998 (102). Elevated temperatures in Shanxi Province from 1997to 2000 probably also favored RTB survival (68). Winter temperatures since the early 1980s, inparticular, have been warmer than in the previous 10 years and appear to be critical for beetlesurvival (49, 113). Felling of RTB-attacked trees at the initial outbreak stage without treatingstumps to prevent development of RTB may have been another major contributing factor becausethese stumps release volatiles that attract more beetles and then serve as a source of new attackingbeetles (71).

In North America, RTB attacks all species of pine within its range, and occasionally spruce andlarch (11, 23). In western North America, Pinus ponderosa, P. contorta, P. jeffreyi, P. lambertiana,P. monticola, and P. radiata are preferred hosts (89), whereas in China the primary host is P.tabuliformis (49, 68). Occasionally, RTB may be found infesting P. armandii, P. bungeana, andPicea meyeri, but there have been no confirmed reports of mortality in these hosts (114, 122). P.sylvestris, a rare nonnative species in China’s Shanxi Province, has occasionally been attacked byRTB (114), and global warming may increase this trend by reducing cold-induced beetle mortalityin this region. Indeed, P. sylvestris is more or less continuously distributed across northern Eurasia(13) and is quite high in 3-carene (99), so this species has the potential to serve as a corridor forthe spread of RTB into Western Europe.

P. tabuliformis is one of the most widely distributed pines in China. It grows over a vast area innorthern and north-central China, from 31◦N to 44◦N latitude and from 101◦30′E to 124◦25′Elongitude (111). This wide distribution provides abundant habitat ecotypes for RTB. Of theseecotypes, seven are recognized RTB-infested areas. Those in central and southern Shanxi, west-ern Hebei, and northeastern Henan provinces belong to the middle ecotype, and the infested areasof Shaanxi Province belong to the middle west ecotype. The midwest and southern ecotypes ofP. tabuliformis may suffer cold-related damage (northern Shaanxi and Henan provinces) (113),which may make P. tabuliformis vulnerable to RTB attack in the spring. The fact that mostP. tabuliformis stands in these areas are monocultures, thus providing a concentrated food source,elevates the probability of RTB infestation. Consequently, northern Shaanxi Province should beviewed as an area at high risk of future RTB outbreaks (9, 114).


Prior to 1999, RTB was not considered a forest pest in China. However, its pest status escalatedas the beetle continued to spread and levels of damage increased. The Chinese State ForestryAdministration now ranks RTB as the second most important forest pest nationwide, and a Na-tional Management Project was initiated for RTB in 2000. Promising management options forcontrolling RTB, as with any bark beetle pest, include regulatory, silvicultural, insecticidal, and • RTB as an Invasive Species in China 301

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semiochemical tactics; all these approaches have been implemented in China as integrated pestmanagement programs to mitigate RTB damage. Biological control has not been effective to datebut remains a promising avenue for future research (69). Approximately 30% of the 85,300 haof pine forest in eastern Shanxi Province has been infested, with approximately 7% mortality ofP. tabuliformis just in 2001. RTB infestations extended into Henan Province, but an end to thedrought combined with a rapid response including physical, chemical, and regulatory control bythe State Forestry Administration appears to have kept damage to a minimum in 2002 (114).Data provided by the Shanxi Forestry Bureau indicate that the RTB-infested area within ShanxiProvince has decreased from 256,668 ha in 1999 to 29,913 ha in 2010. Over a 12-year period(1999–2010), the average acreage of control projects was 38,981 ha, with a peak of 79,333 ha in2001.

Regulatory Tactics

As the risk from RTB became apparent in China, the potential distribution and risk assessmentsfor range expansion were modeled using data from 305 weather stations (98, 103). The potentialrisk of RTB in China was analyzed by the risk analysis software @RISK. The sensitivity analysis ofconditional influencing factors showed that for all the evaluation indices, the risk of further RTBoutbreaks and range expansions in China was extremely high (98). These assessments were usedregionally to regulate transport of potentially infested wood materials in order to limit human-assisted RTB spread. According to the model, suitable areas with a higher likelihood of drought arelocated north of the presently infested area, so if RTB were to spread to this area the damage wouldlikely increase greatly. Analyses of host volatiles that serve as beetle attractants (monoterpenes)show that Pinus bungeana and Picea asperata, which grow in this region, may be more susceptibleto RTB attack than other hosts in the infested area (103), and global warming may increase theirsusceptibility.

Human-mediated movement appears to be the predominant means of spread where pine standsare widely separated, so monitoring and regulatory enforcement are essential to prevent or slowthe spread of RTB in China (114). Any pine material with intact bark could potentially harborRTB, and harvesting of dying, infested trees might facilitate RTB spread through the movementof infested logs. Restrictions on unauthorized tree harvesting and the movement of infested mate-rial (logs, wood blocks, and wood boxes with bark) are therefore strictly enforced. The Forest PestControl Station system that was established in China facilitated enforcement of quarantine reg-ulations from the central government to the provincial, city, and county levels. Strict quarantineregulations are enforced at ports and along highways and railways.

Silvicultural Tactics

Several silvicultural methods are advised to minimize the risk of RTB attack, among them(a) preventing tree wounds, (b) eliminating chip piles or other sources of attractive host volatiles,(c) carefully timing thinning, pruning, and soil ripping to avoid periods when trees might bedrought-stressed and dispersing beetles high in number (22, 71), and (d ) reducing stand densityto minimize stress resulting from competition (51). Avoidance of monocultures is also frequentlyrecommended to minimize resource concentration that might favor pest population increases (4,51, 52). In China, where the outbreak demands more coordinated and systematic action, RTB sta-tus has been monitored annually since 1999, primarily using baited traps combined with summerand fall plot inspections for signs of attack such as pitch tubes and frass on stems. Plots with oneor more trees with these signs are noted as positive for the pest, and then four forest management

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Fenitrothion:O,O-dimethyl O-(3-methyl-4-nitrophenyl)phosphorothioate, aphosphorothioate(organophosphate)insecticide

Carbaryl: 1-naphthylmethylcarbamate, achemical in thecarbamate family usedchiefly as an insecticide

Permethrin:a synthetic pyrethroidwidely used as aninsecticide, acaricide,and insect repellent

measures are applied to infested stands: ceasing turpentine collection from living trees, reducingstand density, removing infested trees, and increasing tree species diversity (51).

Insecticidal Tactics

In North America, fenitrothion (30), carbaryl, and permethrin (96) have all shown efficacy forindividual tree protection from RTB attack, but application must be made before beetles attack.Methods effective in China for killing 80–100% of beetles include fumigating boles with aluminumphosphide under plastic cover (67), injecting dichlorvos or omethoate into newly initiated galleries,and spraying insecticides (e.g., phorate, monocrotophos, cypermethrin, phoxim) onto boles (40,92, 105, 106, 123). Fumigation and injection with insecticides can be conducted throughout theyear, but the optimal timing is early June to October, when pupation and development of newlarvae occur (114).

Semiochemical Tactics

Chemical control with insecticides is the most effective treatment, but semiochemical tactics suchas application of antiattractants, trap-out of beetles with attractants, or combinations thereof aremore environmentally friendly and less labor-intensive (25, 119). Promising semiochemicals in-clude attractant kairomones produced by hosts and conspecific beetles, sex attractant pheromones,aggregation pheromones, and antiattractants.

RTB earned its common name because of its well-known attraction to turpentine, a variable mixof resins. The first specific resin components demonstrated to attract RTB were (−)-β-pinene andsecondarily (+)-α-pinene and (+)-3-carene (34), with (−)-β-pinene attracting five to ten times asmany beetles as the other components. The antipode (−)-α-pinene interrupted response to (+)-α-pinene in the first reported example of chiral specificity of kairomones (34). Subsequent work inChina showed that (+)-3-carene was the best RTB attractant in the invaded region (91), leading tothe supposition that founder effects had yielded an invasive RTB population with semiochemicalresponses different from those of native populations (12, 114). A large follow-up study, however,showed that when identical study protocols were applied globally, all populations in China andNorth America, including Mexico, responded most strongly to (+)-3-carene (17). Release ratesdiffered vastly in the two studies, which may explain the different results. Because of its superiorperformance, (+)-3-carene was subsequently used in a series of successful trapping projects inChina (50, 53, 95, 116).

RTB has also shown kairomonal responses to semiochemicals other than host volatiles. Luet al. (57) showed both antennal and behavioral responses by RTB to volatiles produced by a nativeChinese root beetle, H. parallelus, in a study revealing the first reported kairomonal interactionsbetween native and introduced insects. Joseph et al. (39) reported increased attraction of RTBby kairomones with the addition of ethanol, but Fettig et al. (20) found an insignificant increasewith ethanol, suggesting that it may not function consistently enough to be useful in operationaltrapping programs. The potential for combining effective semiochemicals in binary and ternaryblends for enhanced trapping merits further exploration.

RTB was long suspected not to have an aggregation pheromone (20, 124), and aggregationsare not typical in the native range. In addition, the death of the host, which is more assuredwhen beetles aggregate, is presumably not necessary for RTB reproduction (73), but this supposi-tion remains to be tested empirically. By contrast, the North American Dendroctonus species thatare considered tree killers aggregate in large numbers and must do so quickly to overcome treeresin defenses. Recent work, however, has overturned the misconception that RTB lacks aggre- • RTB as an Invasive Species in China 303

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Nonhost volatiles:chemicals emitted bynonhosts that oftenserve as antiattractantsto host-seeking beetles

gation pheromones. Hall (29) reported attraction of RTB to trees baited with the aggregationpheromone of D. brevicomis, which also attacks pines in the native range of RTB, but he concludedthat host volatiles were responsible for the attraction. Later, Zhang & Sun (120) demonstratedsignificant attraction of the Dendroctonus pheromone components, trans-verbenol, myrtenol, andmyrtenal, in walking bioassays of RTB behavioral response and these pheromones were later iso-lated from RTB, confirming their pheromonal role for RTB. Luxova et al. (64) reported evidencethat frontalin serves as a sex pheromone for RTB.

Antiaggregation or interruptant semiochemicals can also be exploited to protect trees fromRTB attack (25). Verbenone was shown to interrupt the response of RTB to baited traps andtrees (78), and Gillette et al. (26) assisted in the development of verbenone-releasing plastic flakesthat, when applied to the trunks, reduced RTB attack rates to zero. These dispersible pheromoneflakes can also be applied by aircraft (25), so they may also have application for RTB mitiga-tion. Fettig et al. (20) demonstrated reduction of RTB response to kairomone-baited traps byexo-brevicomin, a component of the aggregation pheromone of D. brevicomis, but frontalin, an-other component of the D. brevicomis pheromone blend, is probably responsible for the commonlynoted attraction of RTB to D. brevicomis–infested trees. The Ips spp. pheromones ipsenol, ips-dienol, and cis-verbenol also disrupt attraction of RTB to attractant-baited trees (21), so thesetoo may have promise for tree protection. Zhang et al. (117) also demonstrated antiattractantactivity for RTB of three nonhost volatiles, 1-octen-3-ol, (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol, and (E)-2-hexen-1-ol,with reductions in response to attractants of 69.5%, 68.3%, and 66.0%, respectively. These an-tiattractants might provide even more effective control if applied in multiple-component blends(125).


1. RTB populations occur in a variety of habitats and use many different hosts in vast areas ofRTB’s native range. In China, where it is invasive, RTB has rapidly expanded its range butis currently more or less restricted to P. tabuliformis, an important reforestation speciesof pine. Variation in RTB populations inhabiting these areas has been summarized anddiscussed. Many factors account for the differences between RTB infestations in its nativeand introduced ranges. Key differences between RTB’s behavior in the two areas mostlikely reflect adaptations to a new environment.

2. Factors that may explain RTB’s successful colonization and establishment in Chinainclude more aggressive attack behavior, high dispersal capability, an abundance ofnaıve hosts, lack of predators and pathogens, positive interactions with native barkbeetles, an effective symbiosis with new fungal associates, and favorable climatepatterns.

3. Monitoring and detection programs were initiated in 1999 in areas where RTB hascaused severe damage in China. The potential distribution of RTB has been forecast andthe potential risk has been evaluated. Strict quarantine regulations have been appliedand enforced at ports and along highways and railways within infested areas, and forestmanagement measures to control the pest have been studied. Fumigation during theflight period is a direct control method that is effective at killing beetles on a large scale.Trapping beetles with semiochemicals lures (host volatiles) has been tested as a promisinglabor-saving and environmentally friendly method for RTB management.

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1. Comparative studies of RTB biology in China and North America have already enhancedour understanding of its potential spread and impact in China. These studies shouldclearly continue and include, in particular, extended population genetic comparisons ofbeetles as well as monitoring the spread of RTB beyond China.

2. Genomic studies of RTB and some of its microbial associates have been initiated. Infor-mation from this work, together with studies of transcriptomes and metabolomes, willclearly enhance the base of knowledge about not only this important bark beetle butconifer-infesting bark beetles and their microbial symbionts in general.

3. The relevance of multitrophic interactions between RTB and pines, fungi, bacteria, mites,and other beetles remains unclear. A comprehensive understanding of these ecologicalinteractions is crucial to understanding the biology of RTB and other invasive beetle–fungus mutualisms.

4. Planting strategies (mixed-species stands and mixed-age stands) should be designed toreduce outbreak potential. Improved lures, including host volatiles and pheromones,and improved trapping techniques will enhance monitoring, detection, interruption, andtrap-out. Similarly, epidemiological models for RTB in urban, managed, and naturalforests will benefit from refinement.


The authors are not aware of any affiliations, memberships, funding, or financial holdings thatmight be perceived as affecting the objectivity of this review.


We thank Kevin L. Dodds [United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service,Durham, New Hampshire], Donald R. Owen (California Division of Forestry and Fire Protec-tion, Redding, California), David L. Wood (University of California, Berkeley), and ChristianSalcedo (Dow AgroSciences, Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico) for helpful reviews. This work was fundedby the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 31110103903 and 30921063), theNational Basic Science Research Program (grant no. 2012CB114105), TPCP (Tree ProtectionCo-operation Program), and a grant from the USDA Forest Service, Western Wildlands En-vironmental Threats Assessment Center (Prineville, Oregon). Mention of insecticides does notconstitute recommendation for their use.


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Red Turpentine Beetle: Innocuous Native Becomes … ARI 10 September 2012 16:11 R E V I E W S I N A D V A N C E Red Turpentine Beetle: Innocuous Native Becomes Invasive Tree Killer - [PDF Document] (2024)


How do you get rid of red turpentine beetles? ›

Pesticide applied to the lower 6-8 ft (2-2.5 m) of the tree trunk can be used to prevent red turpentine beetle attacks, but realize that other species of bark beetles may pose a threat to the tree.

What is red turpentine beetle? ›

The red turpentine beetle (RTB) is the largest (1/4 – 3/8th inch long) and most widely distributed bark beetle in North America. It is a common pest of forest, shade, and park trees 8 inches or larger in diameter.

What does the black turpentine beetle do? ›

This beetle is usually considered a secondary pest, as it typically colonizes freshly cut pine (Pinus spp.) stumps or trees stressed by natural and/or anthropogenic factors. Trees weakened by drought, fire, or other stresses, as well as pines wounded during storms or logging operations are susceptible to attack.

How do you prevent black turpentine beetles? ›

Since attacks occur at the tree base, homeowners or urban foresters may use chemical control to prevent or suppress infestation of high-value pines. An insecticide labeled for use against pine bark beetles should be selected. Some insecticide treatments may require a certified pesticide applicator.

What is a home remedy to get rid of drugstore beetles? ›

Heat or freeze products to kill drugstore beetles.

Alternatively, put the items in your freezer for about 6 days to get rid of drugstore beetles at all stages of their life.

Why do I have red flour beetles in my house? ›

The pests usually get inside packaging at warehouses or grocery stores and are then brought into homes inside these infested products. From there, flour beetles may spread to other pantry goods.

Are red flour beetles harmful to humans? ›

Red Flour Beetles are not known to be directly harmful to human health. They do not carry diseases or bite humans. However, their presence in stored food products can lead to food contamination and spoilage, which can indirectly affect health by causing foodborne illnesses or allergic reactions in some cases.

How do you get rid of red beetle bugs? ›

Neem, an extract of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica), will kill young larvae. It should be applied every 5-7 days throughout early summer. Spinosad, an insecticide made from soil bacteria, is also effective if applied weekly. As with all insecticides, it's important to spray in the evening when bees are not foraging.

How rare are oil beetles? ›

The Violet and Black oil beetles are widespread and can be locally common.

What is the black beetle that stinks when killed? ›

Pinacate Beetles are the skunks of the insect world: When alarmed, they raise their hind end and emit a foul odor. Darkling Beetles are robust but gentle and harmless insects.

What is the black liquid in beetles? ›

While ground beetles are harmless, blister beetles secrete the odorless liquid cantharidin which gives the blister beetle its name. Cantharidin causes irritation and blisters on the skin and eyes, and ingesting cantharidin can cause gastrointestinal damage, shock, circulatory collapse and even death.

What kills tobacco beetles? ›

The best method of controlling Cigarette Beetle infestations in your pantry is discarding all your stored dried food products, performing a deep cleaning, then applying Pyrid Aerosol and Flex 10-10 Insecticide to kill adult Cigarette Beetles that survive cleanup.

Does vinegar get rid of beetles? ›

Vinegar repels carpet beetles, which hate the scent. Use a mixture of white or apple cider vinegar and water to clean areas where carpet beetle larvae can be found. Another natural deterrent is a fine white dust called diatomaceous earth, or DE.

What does soapy water do to beetles? ›

Because of this potential cause and effect, only certain insects are susceptible; small, soft-bodied insects are those most likely to be controlled. The soapy water covering their bodies apparently causes them to dry out and die.

How do you scare away beetles? ›

You can add lavender oil to a spray bottle and spray it on beetles or in areas where they are likely to be found. Peppermint oil: Peppermint oil has a strong scent that can deter beetles. You can add peppermint oil to a spray bottle and spray it on beetles or in areas where they are likely to be found.

What gets rid of red beetles? ›

Neem, an extract of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica), will kill young larvae. It should be applied every 5-7 days throughout early summer. Spinosad, an insecticide made from soil bacteria, is also effective if applied weekly whenever the beetles are present.

How do I get rid of beetles permanently? ›

Get rid of beetles in your home with home remedies like peppermint or neem oil, insect traps, pyrethrin, lavender, or diatomaceous earth. Conventional beetle reduction methods include batting, exclusion, and hiring a pest management professional.

What kills red flour beetles? ›

Spray the cracks and shelf corners with an insecticide such as Demon WP, Demand or Gentrol Aerosol. Products such as Ultracide, while labeled primarily for fleas will do an excellent job of killing flour beetles and also provide the insect growth regulator that keeps the immature beetles from developing.

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