A new biological control method for the common furniture beetle, Anobium punctatum


Abstract: The common furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum) is a permanent threat in churches and museums, is wreaking devastating damage by corrosion of wooden inventory and antiques. The conventional control methods are complex, polluting and high-priced. The aim of our research was to develop and establish a biological control method for the common furniture beetle with the braconid wasp species Spathius exarator, the most common antagonist of A. punctatum. After successful mass rearing, laboratory and praxis tests of the parasitism rate and the predator-prey relationship were performed by documentation of newly appeared exit holes from wasps and furniture beetles over time. The laboratory control tests proved 80% parasitism by the braconid wasps after three and 98% parasitism after ten months. The results of the practical tests in churches and museums (n = 13) revealed an average predator-prey relationship of 3 A. punctatum in the first, 0.37 A. punctatum in the second and 0.13 A. punctatum per S. exarator in the third year of treatment. In contrast untreated objects (n = 25) showed an annual average relationship of 26.5 A. punctatum per S. exarator. The results demonstrate the biological control of the common furniture beetle with the braconid wasps as an efficient, sustainable alternative to conventional, polluting methods. However, the development of pest infestation in the treated objects remains to be seen in the following years.

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