The first chapter, the pine bark beetle and its good friends

Central America is rich in natural forest resources, of which 3,800,000 hectares of natural pine forest (Pinus spp.) have been threatened by hurricanes, droughts, fires, human activities and forest pests.

The unusual drought caused by the phenomenon of the baby in 1990 was the cause of the forest fires in Mexico in 1998. In 1998, the strong winds and rains brought by Hurricane Mitch caused floods and landslides, destroying villages, forests and roads, especially in Honduras and Nicaragua.

In the following years (1999-2003), pine bark beetles break out were reported, destroying approximately 90,000 hectares of pine forests. In order to prevent the spread of pests, not only the trees affected by the bark beetles were cut down, but also the adjacent healthy trees are also felled. However, the wood affected by pests is not favored in the market, and most of the felled wood remains in place. In 2003, an important area of the pine forest was destroyed by forest fires despite the pest-free effects.

The pine bark beetles are classified into Coleoptera, Scolytidae, and Scolytinae. These small weevils commonly found in Central and South America belong to the genus Dendroctonus, which is the most destructive of the local pine forests pests. Among them D. frontalis and D. adjunctus are the most destructive. In addition to the northwestern plateau of Guatemala, the pests of Central America in recent years are mainly attributed to the Dendroctonus frontalis.(Dendroctonus frontalis)。

Chapter II, the life cycle of the pine bark beetle

The female will drill into the pine bark and create an S-shaped tunnel along the inner bark to lay eggs. The larvae feed on the endothelium until they become phlegm. After emergence, they pass through the bark and look for new trees to progeny. Although the entire life history of the bark beetle does not attack the interior of the wood, the small weevils carry a blue fungus that affects the color and physical strength of the wood, thus greatly reducing the commercial value of the wood.

Bark beetles generally only attack individuals with weakened trees. Once the attack begins, the small weevils secrete pheromones that attract companions, so thousands of adults are affected by pheromones and accumulate. Although the pines themselves secrete resin to resist attacks, the concentration of these small bark beetles continues to storm. Destroying thus the defense mechanism of the tree itself.

Chapter III, the enemy of the bark beetle

Natural enemy one: dubious checkered beetle.

Scientific name:Thanasimus dubius  Common name:dubious checkered beetle

Introduction: Suspicious square worms are carnivorous beetles. Generally speaking, most adults feed mainly on adult larvae of the bark beetle, while the larvae feed on the larvae of the same beetle. The "dubious checkered beetle" is very greedy, and sometimes it can eat as many larvae of bark beetle that it can amount to several times its own weight in a single day.

Natural enemy two, double line long foot

Double-lined long-legged owl - larvadouble-lined long-legged owl - adult

Introduction: The larvae of long-legged and double-legged flies use the sensory rods to attack larvae of bark beetles, and secrete additional toxins to cause them to these larvae of weevils can die directly.

Natural enemy three, woodpecker

Scientific name:Picidae spp. Common name:woodpeckers

Introduction: Woodpeckers feed on insects and occasionally eat plant fruits and seeds. Use cockles to drill in and tear the dead trees to find insects.

Both pictures and texts are from Citation: Coulson, RN; Klepzig, KD 2011. Southern Pine Beetle II. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-140. Asheville, NC: US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station, 512 p . https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/39017 https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/gtr/gtr_srs140/gtr_srs140.pdf

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