Assessment of the systems approach for the phytosanitary treatment of wood infested with wood-boring insects.
Addressing the risk from pests present in wood and wood products destined for international trade is an essential step towards minimizing the movement, introduction and establishment of invasive species. One method of managing the pest risk associated with wood commodities is the use of a systems approach that incorporates multiple independent measures applied along a production pathway. However, quantifying the reduction of risk can be difficult because the approach requires raw material infested with the pest of interest at a sufficient density to be able to quantify changes in pest abundance. We tested a systems approach for the production of sawn wood using green ash, Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall (Lamiales: Oleaceae), infested with emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), by quantifying the change in pest density during the milling process and the precise effect of heat treatment on insects in situ. Greater than 90% of emerald ash borer were removed at the first step of the milling process (debarking) and >99% were removed before the production of green sawn wood. No insects survived kilning or heat treatment. All life stages of emerald ash borer were killed at 56°C and above. Heat, however, had no sublethal effect on emerald ash borer performance. These results show that the application of a systems approach to mitigate emerald ash borer in heat-treated, sawn wood is effective. Moreover, the model-system approach developed in this study can be a template for investigating the effect of systems approaches for other phloem-feeding insects.