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Scent detection dogs for the Asian longhorn beetle

Dogs are known to be used for explosive or medical detection or as drug-sniffing dogs. But did you know you can also use them as detection dogs in timber trade? The Austrian Research Centre for Forests (BFW) trains and works with the animals to detect the Asian longhorn beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) and the Citrus longhorn beetle (Anoplophora chinensis).

Anoplophora detection dogs have been trained at the BFW in Vienna, Austria, since 2009. They are able to differentiate the scent of all developmental stages of A. glabripennis and A. chinensis in different host species. Additionally, the dogs can not only detect empty galleries and exit holes, but also overgrown oviposition sites. A new study, published in the EPPO Bulletin, proves that in outdoor tests indicating real life settings (wind, temperature, noises) 75 to 88 percent of the samples were correctly identified. Under abstract standardized conditions the percentage of correctly indicated samples was even higher,
85 to 93 percent.

Global trade and worldwide shipping of wood and wood packaging material (WPM) lead to an increase in Asian longhorn beetle outbreaks in Europe.  The pest can cause severe damages in hardwood forests and urban areas. Practical testing of trained dogs in outbreak areas in Austria, Germany, Italy, Croatia, the UK, the Netherlands and Switzerland resulted in detecting A.glabripennis in wood packaging material, in standing trees in outbreak areas as well as A.chinensis in imported plants and even in the roots of plants. The dogs are therefore used in infested areas, nurseries and for import controls of WPM and plants. Detection dogs of various breeds, educated and certified by the BFW, work regularly in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Scent detection dog

In 2011 an Anoplophora detection dog training programme has been established at the BFW, open to teams of dogs and their handlers from National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs), forest services and private persons.

Literature:  
Hoyer-Tomiczek, U.; Sauseng, G.; Hoch, G. (2016): Scent detection dogs for the Asian longhorn beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis. Bulletin OEPP/EPPO 46: 148–155

For questions contact Dipl.-Biol. Ute Hoyer-Tomiczek, Tel. 0043/ 1/ 87838 1130

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