Modeling flight activity and population dynamics of the pine engraver, Ips pini, in the Great Lakes region: effects of weather and predators over short time scales
Ascertaining the relative effects of factors such as weather and predation on population dynamics, and determining the time scales on which they operate, is important to our understanding of basic ecology and pest management. In this study, we sampled the pine engraver Ips pini (Say) (Coleoptera: Scolytidae) and its predominant predators Thanasimus dubius (F.) (Coleoptera: Cleridae) and Platysoma cylindrica (Paykull) (Coleoptera: Histeridae) in red pine plantations in Wisconsin, USA, over 2 years. We sampled both the prey and predators using flight traps baited with the synthetic aggregation pheromone of I. pini. Flight models were constructed using weather variables (temperature and precipitation), counts of bark beetles and their predators, and temporal variables to incorporate possible effects of seasonality. The number of I. pini per weekly collection period was temperature dependent and decreased with the number of predators, specifically T. dubius in 2001 and P. cylindrica in 2002. The number of predators captured each week was also weather dependent. The predators had similar seasonal phenologies, and the number of each predator species was positively correlated with the other. Including a term for the number of prey did not improve the model fits for either predator for either year. Our results suggest that exogenous weather factors strongly affect the flight activity of I. pini, but that its abundance is also affected by direct density-dependent processes acting over weekly time scales. Adult predation during both colonization and dispersal are likely processes yielding these dynamics.