Monday, December 10, 2007 - 10:17 AM

Screening for host resistance to the balsam woolly adelgid (Adelges piceae): Infestation techniques

Leslie Newton, leslie_newton@ncsu.edu1, Fred Hain, fred_hain@ncsu.edu1, and John Frampton, john_frampton@ncsu.edu2. (1) North Carolina State University, Forest Entomology, PO Box 7613, Raleigh, NC, (2) North Carolina State University, Forestry/Christmas Tree Genetics, Biltmore Hall, Raleigh, NC

The balsam woolly adelgid (Adelges piceae Ratz.) (BWA), a tiny piercing-sucking insect specific to the genus Abies, was introduced into the southern Appalachians in the 1950s and rapidly caused extensive damage to native Fraser fir (Abies fraseri [Pursh] Poiret) stands. BWA is also a major pest in Fraser fir Christmas tree plantations throughout the southern Appalachians. Chemical treatments cost the industry over $1.5 million annually and minimize the effectiveness of IPM practices. Much is known about the biology of the BWA and the reaction of various fir species to infestation, but little is known about host resistance and the mechanisms of resistance. Our long-term objective is to develop genetically resistant Fraser fir, both for restoration projects and for reducing chemical inputs within the Christmas tree industry. To this end, our short-term objectives are to develop reliable techniques for artificially infesting and bioassaying fir seedlings or adults for resistance to BWA, and to determine the properties most closely associated with host resistance (e.g., BWA survival, development time, oviposition, fecundity, egg size). The results of studies conducted during the 2006 and 2007 growing seasons are reported here.

Species 1: Hemiptera Adelgidae Adelges piceae (balsam woolly adelgid)
Species 2: Coniferales Pinaceae Abies fraseri (Fraser fir)
Species 3: Coniferales Pinaceae Abies veitchii (Veitch fir)