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Combining tactics to exploit allee effects for eradication of alien insect populations

Formally Refereed
Authors: David Maxwell Suckling, Patrick C. Tobin, Deborah G. McCullough, Daniel A. Herms
Year: 2012
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Northern Research Station
Source: Journal of Economic Entomology. 105(1): 1-13.


Invasive species increasingly threaten ecosystems, food production, and human welfare worldwide. Hundreds of eradication programs have targeted a wide range of nonnative insect species to mitigate the economic and ecological impacts of biological invasions. Many such programs used multiple tactics to achieve this goal, but interactions between tactics have received little formal consideration, specifically as they interact with Allee dynamics. If a population can be driven below an Allee threshold, extinction becomes more probable because of factors such as the failure to find mates, satiate natural enemies, or successfully exploit food resources, as well as demographic and environmental stochasticity. A key implication of an Allee threshold is that the population can be eradicated without the need and expense of killing the last individuals. Some combinations of control tactics could interact with Allee dynamics to increase the probability of successful eradication. Combinations of tactics can be considered to have synergistic (greater efficiency in achieving extinction from the combination), additive (no improvement over single tactics alone), or antagonistic (reduced efficiency from the combination) effects on Allee dynamics. We highlight examples of combinations of tactics likely to act synergistically, additively, or antagonistically on pest populations. By exploiting the interacting effects of multiple tactics on Allee dynamics, the success and cost-effectiveness of eradication programs can be enhanced.


Allee effect, biological invasion, density dependence, eradication, invasive species


Suckling, David Maxwell; Tobin, Patrick C.; McCullough, Deborah G.; Herms, Daniel A. 2012. Combining tactics to exploit allee effects for eradication of alien insect populations. Journal of Economic Entomology. 105(1): 1-13.