Lethal trap trees: a potential option for emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) management.
BACKGROUND: Economic and ecological impacts of ash (Fraxinus spp.) mortality resulting from emerald ash borer (EAB) (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) invasion are severe in forested, residential and urban areas. Management options include girdling ash trees to attract ovipositing adult beetles and then destroying infested trees before larvae develop or protecting ash with a highly effective, systemic emamectin benzoate insecticide. Injecting this insecticide and then girdling injected trees a few weeks later could effectively create lethal trap trees, similar to a bait-and-kill tactic, if girdling does not interfere with insecticide translocation. We compared EAB larval densities on girdled trees, trees injected with the emamectin benzoate insecticide, trees injected with the insecticide and then girdled 18-21 days later and untreated controls at multiple sites. RESULTS: Pretreatment larval densities did not differ among treatments. Current-year larval densities were higher on girdled and control trees than on any trees treated with insecticide at all sites. Foliar residue analysis and adult EAB bioassays showed that girdling trees after insecticide injections did not reduce insecticide translocation. CONCLUSIONS: Girdling ash trees to attract adult EAB did not reduce efficacy of emamectin benzoate trunk injections applied ≥18 days earlier and could potentially be used in integrated management programs to slow EAB population growth.