Chemical ecology, behaviour and management of Dendroctonus spp.


Study 1. Tree-killing beetles of the genus Dendroctonus are usually invisible when they are in the endemic state. In northern Arizona, the southern pine beetle, D. frontalis, and the western pine beetle, D. brevicomis are currently endemic and are sympatric on ponderosa pine. We are investigating semiochemical, acoustic and behavioural signals that operate in pre-mating reproductive isolation when the two species interact on the same tree.
Study 2. The spruce beetle, Dendroctonus rufipennis, is a predominant pest of mature spruce forests, with outbreaks causing high tree mortality. Its range follows that of Picea spp. throughout most of northern and western North America. Evidence suggests that different populations produce and respond to different pheromone blends making pheromone trapping inefficient. We aim to:

  1. determine the extent of trans-continental variation in pheromone components within and between spruce beetle populations and
  2. investigate if pheromone diversity is related to reproductive isolation among populations.


  • Rich Hofstetter, Northern Arizona University, USA
  • Brian Sullivan, USDA Forest Service, Louisiana, USA
  • Dezene Huber, University of Northern British Columbia
  • Rylee Isitt, graduate student, University of Northern British Columbia


Project status

  • On-going

Team members