Sirex noctilio host choice and no-choice bioassays
Dinkins, Jamie Ellen
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Sirex noctilio F., the European woodwasp, is an exotic invasive pest newly introduced to the northeastern U.S. This woodwasp kills trees in the Pinus genus and could potentially cause millions of dollars of damage in the southeastern U.S., where pine plantations are extensive. At present, little is known about the preferences of this wasp for southeastern pine species, and further, little methodology exists as related to conducting host choice or no-choice bioassays with this species. My thesis developed methodology to successfully perform S. noctilio host choice and no-choice bioassays (both colonization and emergence from bolts), examined S. noctilio behavioral and developmental responses to southeastern U.S. pine species using bolts, and investigated possible mechanisms to explain these behavioral responses. Results indicated larger bolts were preferred to smaller bolts by S. noctilio, and P. strobus and P. virginiana were preferred out of six southeastern species in host choice bioassays.