Odours of wood decay as semiochemicals for an “ambrosia” bark beetle and its significance during beech bark disease

Beginning in Belgium 1999 low mountain ranges of middle Europe were afflicted with the “European beech bark disease” (EBBD) first described by Hartig in 1878. Belgium (1 million m³ solid of beech wood, Fagus sylvatica accrued), Luxembourg, France, and Southern Germany were affected. Trees of an healthy outward appearance were surprisingly infested by wood-breeding beetles, mainly the Scolytine Xyloterus domesticus. To understand mechanisms of this disease a chemo-ecological study was carried out, comparing the new phenomenon with the classical situation. Studies elsewhere suggest that the mechanisms of host-selection consist in the chemosensory differentiation of states of wood decay.
The underlying hypothesises of this work are: 1) Volatile organic compounds change successively during aging and decay of wood and characterise the most susceptible phase and oviposition site for X. domesticus. 2) Volatiles released by trees afflicted by the new disease phenomenon are similar to volatiles of felled, susceptible deadwood.

Cooperation: Research Institute for Forest Ecology and Forestry Rhineland Palatinate (FAWF) – Dr. Ralf Petercord (now Forest Research Institute Baden-Württemberg (FVA)

EU Project InterReg IIIa deLux (in German and French)

Holighaus G, Schütz S (2006) Odours of wood decay as semiochemicals for Trypodendron domesticum L. (Col., Scolytidae). Mitteilungen Deutsche Gesellschaft für allgemeine und angewandte Entomologie, 15: 161-165
http://www.dgaae.de/html/publi/mitt2006/161.pdf (Fulltext in English)

Holighaus G, Schütz S (2006) Strategie der olfaktorischen Wirtsfindung von Trypodendron domesticum L. Mitteilungen der FAWF Nr. 59/2006: 123-132
http://www.wald-rlp.de/index.php?id=3343 (Fulltext in German)