Enhanced pest management of the Douglas-fir tussock moth, Orgyia pseudotsugata (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae)




Thorne, Christine M.

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The incidence of baculovirus disease in susceptible insect hosts may be used to estimate future host population sizes and estimate the relative defoliation of these populations for economically important insects. We developed an Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) that was specific to two native baculovirus pathogens of the Douglas-fir tussock moth (DFTM), that was more sensitive and accurate (R2=0.99) than microscopic counts of virus polyhedron inclusion bodies, and more accurate than PCR or Southern hybridization for the direct detection of baculovirus disease. We also developed a field-based "dipstick" assay that was sensitive enough to detect virus disease prior to host mortality and did not require virus purification from macerated insect tissues, supporting its use for on-site field surveys. Finally, we used ELISA to establish, for the first time, a method to detect persistent sublethal baculovirus infections. Our work may contribute to more accurate understanding of the incidence and influence of persistent sublethal infections on insect hosts.



Douglas fir, Douglas fir tussock moth, diseases and pests, control