The review shows that partial control of SHB could be employed, relatively readily, by use of a chemical soil drench, although this would require approval by PSD and the efficacy of the available formulations evaluated. However, many detection and control methods for SHB require further development and evaluation under UK conditions before they could be utilised.
As a matter of urgency there is a need to develop early detection (and kill) techniques for SHB which could be employed in apiaries at high risk, e.g. near ports, and thus integrated into the NBU field service surveillance and monitoring programmes. This would require identification and evaluation of attractants and the development/adaptation of traps. The traps may be relatively simple to develop as bees but not beetles are excluded by 3mm mesh, although the kill mechanism would require development, e.g. identification of a suitable insecticide. Identification of attractants for use in lures requires more development.
The attractants which appear to offer the most promise, in order of ease of investigation, are the Nasanov pheromone components genaric acid and (E)-citral, pheromones produced by brood, and a male aggregration pheromone produced by the beetle.
The first stage would be to assess the effectiveness of the Nasanov components identified compared with the honey/pollen/adult bee combination identified by Elzen et al. (1999). This would require establishing an SHB culture in quarantine facilities in the UK, or, since the importation of SHB may be a sensitive issue, collaboration with scientists in the USA and South Africa. Behavioural bioassays would be required to estimate the effectiveness of the attractant. If successful, a suitable prototype trap and bait combination might offer the chance to monitor for early arrival of the adult beetles in the UK.
The next essential step would be to acquire certain information on the basic biology of the SHB, for example on host location and mating, where it is currently located. This is required to ensure that the prototype traps can be deployed in the most effective way and the trap catches properly interpreted. It is also essential to indicate how best to optimise the effectiveness of the trap.
Optimisation of bait effectiveness requires that the most effective specific chemical attractant cues be determined. Further advantages of using these identified chemicals over natural product mixtures would be better quality control and therefore greater behavioural reliability. This would involve use of combined volatile isolation and coupled gas chromatography – electroantennography to determine if brood pheromones or beetle aggregation pheromones can be identified and isolated. Identified chemicals would need to be obtained, formulated and tested to devise the most effective attractant.
Once the effectiveness of the bait has been optimised, protocols will need to be devised and validated for use of the trap and bait combination and interpretation of its results in areas where the SHB is currently found. If the bait trap could be developed with high efficacy, then it could potentially be used in its own right as a novel control method without contaminating either the hives or the environment. The same approach should be evaluated to determine chemicals which can mask the odours which attract SHB to honeybee colonies. Thus a system, e.g. aerosol, to mask odours from colonies could also used to provide a degree of protection. This would allow an effective method of deterring beetles from colonies and providing an alternative attractant through a baited trap.
It is unlikely that the organophosphate coumaphos would be approved for use in control of SHB in the UK and, even if approved, it is not highly effective (due to the lack of exposure of larvae within the colony). Therefore there is an urgent need to develop an effective in-hive treatment for use in the UK. The review suggests that this may be best achieved by evaluation of Bt strains as a biocontrol method (which would also be applicable to stored comb) and of ecdysteroid agonists currently developed as coleopteran specific insecticides.
There is an urgent need to identify an appropriate chemical and application rate for use as a soil drench in the short term as a rapid response to the detection of the SHB in the UK. The formulation of permethrin used in the USA is not available in the UK and the registered formulation of permethrin as a soil drench will be withdrawn at the end of 2003. There is also a medium term need to develop a more environmentally sensitive alternative to chemical soil drenches, particularly as many of the candidates are organophosphorus compounds. The first priority is evaluation of nematodes which appear to offer the greatest opportunity for use in SHB larval control in soil. Therefore it is recommended that both chemical and biocontrol methods for use in-hive and in soil where larvae may be pupating are evaluated for their effectiveness. Control methods that are suitable for in-hive use should also be evaluated for use with stored comb in honey houses to
provide an additional method of control.
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