Efficient by nature: The biological control method for the common furniture beetle with Spathius exarator

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Efficient by nature: The biological control method for the common furniture beetle with Spathius exarator

Description

Abstract: The common furniture beetle Anobium punctatum (Coleoptera, Anobiidae) is the most frequent wood pest in historical buildings in middle, north and eastern Europe, causing devastating damage disintegrating the wooden interior. We present here a new biological control method of A. punctatum using its most frequently found antagonist, the braconid wasp Spathius exarator (Hymenoptera, Braconidae). The 5 to 9 mm large female tracks down the pest species within the galleries by perceiving the movements of the furniture beetle larva. It pierces its ovipositor through the timber and initially paralyzes the larva. Then it presses the flexible egg through the ovipositor and places it onto the larva. Within a few days, a larva of the parasitic wasp hatches and feeds on the paralyzed furniture beetle larva. At that time, the destruction of the timber by feeding activities of the furniture beetle larva has already stopped. S. exarator larvae pupate and adult wasps hatch through a 0.5 mm wide exit hole which can be easily distinguished from the 2 mm wide holes caused by A. punctatum.

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