Monitoring populations of the flour beetles Tribolium confusum Jacquelin du Val and Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) in flour mills and in laboratory settings

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Hawkin, Karen
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This thesis reports the effects of disturbance and harbourage on the fitness of Tribolium confusum and T. castaneum, as well as the the efficacy of pheromone monitoring traps for monitoring for populations of Tribolium in laboratory and mill settings. Behavioural studies were also carried out on mill and laboratory-reared beetles and the distributions of both species in a mill were examined. Twenty-four hour sieving disturbance decreased the rates of dispersal for both species, and decreased T. castaneum fecundity. Rolling disturbance decreased T. confusum dispersal rate while shaking disturbance decreased T. castaneum dispersal rate. When undisturbed beetles were given differing amounts of flour in the presence or absence of harbourage, beetles laid more eggs in larger amounts of flour, but harbourage only affected T. castaneum at one level of flour (2 g). Throughout disturbance and harbourage experiments, T. castaneum laid more eggs than T. confusum. Pheromone monitoring traps placed in three Canadian flour mills were not useful in predicting the degree of infestation inside Simons rollstands. Pheromone monitoring traps also showed low efficacy (i.e. caught few beetles) in both mill and laboratory settings, and T. confusum was caught less often than T. castaneum in both mills and in a warehouse. Mill-strain beetles of both species were caught less often than laboratory-strain beetles in a warehouse. In one Canadian flour mill, both T. castaneum and T. confusum were found inside rollstands but the two species were spatially segregated from one another, rarely being found together in the same rollstand. In contrast to this, both species were consistently found together in samples taken from the same mill less than a year beforehand. In behavioural laboratory studies, beetles collected directly from a mill moved slower than beetles collected from a laboratory culture and this response was shown to be phenotypic. Mill-strain and laboratory-strain beetles also differed in burrowing tendencies, with T. confusum from the laboratory strain burrowing less than T. confusum from a mill and T. castaneum from different mills sometimes burrowing more and sometimes less than T. castaneum from the laboratory strain.
flour beetles, flour mill, pheromone traps, IPM, behaviour