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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ECOLOGICALLY-BASED MANAGEMENT OF BOLL WEEVILS AND POST-ERADICATION CROP PESTS
2006 Annual Report


1.What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? Why does it matter?
Crop loss to destructive insect pests remains a serious obstacle to efficient production of many major crop species in the U.S. Historically, major crop pests including the boll weevil, bollworm, corn rootworm, and silverleaf whitefly have been managed using pesticides on a field-by-field basis. This approach has become less effective due to pest resistance and pest dispersal, and less environmentally acceptable due to concerns of pesticide pollution. This project focuses on development of knowledge of host plant utilization by pests, knowledge of pest reproductive/diapause characteristics, development of pest trapping systems and interpretation of trap data, development of technologies and techniques to determine pest dispersal patterns, and identification of neuropeptide mimics that disrupt critical life processes of insect pests. Project objectives will be accomplished by focus on four main research areas:.
1)understand the eco-physiological aspects of boll weevil survival strategies;.
2)develop methods to understand the biology and ecology of stink bugs;.
3)develop monitoring methods and enhance management strategies for cotton fleahopper; and.
4)identify neuropeptide hormones of insect pests and develop mimics that can disrupt critical life processes. Results of project research will provide producers and consultants with the appropriate scientific knowledge and technologies to make the best pest management decisions possible and that have minimal environmental impact. This project combines entomological, palynological, chemical, and meteorological expertise in a research program to define how pests utilize alternate host plants, disperse, infest target crops, and how pest activity can be altered biochemically to protect crops, man, and animals. This project contributes to the Crop Protection and Quarantine National Program (NP 304), and specifically addresses the Biology of Pests and Natural Enemies; Plant, Pest, and Natural Enemy Interactions and Ecology; Pest Control Technologies; and Integrated Pest Management Systems and Areawide Suppression Programs components of NP 304 by increasing knowledge of pest insect ecology and the response of pest populations to conventional and novel crop production systems, and by developing technology for more effective and environmentally friendly pest insect control. Portions of the research contribute to the Agroengineering, Agrochemical, and Related Technology component of the Crop Production National Program (NP 305) by supporting the goals and research needs of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program through the development of improved boll weevil monitoring and control technology; and by developing novel insect attractants, repellents, and toxicants for use as more efficacious and cost-effective crop protection materials. The work will result in increased pest insect control efficiency, on an areawide basis, at lower cost, and requiring substantially reduced pesticide use. The work is supported, in part, by outside funds via Reimbursable Agreements with the U.S./Israeli Binational Agricultural Research and Development (BARD) Fund, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the U.S. Department of Defense, and Boston University; these funds are facilitating progress of certain aspects of the work at an accelerated pace. Results of and technology developed by this project benefit all components of the production and processing industries associated with the targeted crops as the result of increased crop production efficiency. The consumer will benefit as a result of food, feed, and fiber products produced with enhanced safety from both human/animal consumption and environmental standpoints.


2.List by year the currently approved milestones (indicators of research progress)
Year 1 (FY 2006): 1. Complete data collection for high-density BW populations. 2. Complete data collection in studies of pheromone production on diets, and influence of diet switching.

Year 2 (FY 2007): 1. Complete data collection on effects of trap placement on BW detection and colonization of cotton. 2. Establish the role of wind on BW immigration into the Texas Winter Garden. 3. Establish the effect of temperature inside pheromone traps on the release rate of grandlure and eugenol from lure dispensers. 4. Establish distribution of non-cotton habitats surrounding BW traps. 5. Develop EM and LM techniques for pollen analyses. 6. Establish optimal color and placement of sticky traps for detecting fleahopper movement into cotton. 7. Identify endogenous NP that modulate diuresis in house, flesh, stable, and horn flies.

Year 3 (FY 2008): 1. Complete data collection for detection of low-density BW populations. 2. Correlate species of pollen from captured BW with distribution of non-cotton habitats. 3. Establish criteria for using adult reproductive systems and associated fat body types to determine reproductive status. 4. Correlate stylet anatomy and pollen ingestion. 5. Identify endogenous PK-like NP regulating diapause, ecdysis and reproduction in stink bug. 6. Establish suitable sampling methods for CFH adults and nymphs in cotton. 7. Identify endogenous NP that modulate diuresis in stink bug, tick and mosquito. 8. Characterize structure-activity relationships for diuretic NP in Southern cattle fever tick. 9. Characterize structure-activity of PK-like NP in ecdysis fly model.

Year 4 (FY 2009): 1. Establish longevity of pollen signature in/on BW. 2. Identify diet(s) for obtaining reproductive and diapausing adults. 3. Identify seasonal occurrence of feral SGSB in cultivated and uncultivated hosts. 4. Determine pollen suppleness for pollen ingestion. 5. Establish effects of NP and/or analogs on ecdysis and/or diapause. 6. Establish weather parameters that influence the timing of fleahopper dispersal from weed hosts. 7. Identify plant phenology-dependent patterns of feeding and oviposition. 8. Characterize structure-activity relationships for diuretic NP in flies.

Year 5 (FY 2010): 1. Establish the role of weather factors in the build-up and dispersal of BW populations within the Texas Winter Garden. 2. Establish effects of physiological condition on overwintering survival rate and emergence of adult SGSB. 3. Establish pollen contamination factors in SGSB. 4. Establish effects of NP and/or analogs on olfactory response of SGSB to pheromone. 5. Identify time-of-day sampling effects on CFH population estimates, and establish CFH population dynamics in cotton. 6. Characterize structure-activity relationships for diuretic NP in mosquito. 7. Identify endogenous PK-like NP regulating diapause, ecdysis and reproduction in mosquito. 8. Characterize structure-activity of PK-like NP in ecdysis Lepidopteran model. 9. Develop non-peptide mimetic NP analogs for potential use in flies, mosquito and/or stink bug. 10. Evaluate biostable, bioavailable NP analogs for flies, mosquito and/or stink bug. 11. Determine role of NP in olfactory regulation in mosquito and/or flies. 12. Evaluate biostable NP analogs on mate/food location in mosquito and/or flies.


4a.List the single most significant research accomplishment during FY 2006.
Neuropeptide Hormone Identified in Ticks: The first neuropeptide hormone from ticks was identified by state-of-the-art analytical techniques. New pest tick control technology is needed to provide effective alternatives to conventional chemical pesticides currently used; the development of neuropeptide-based control technology requires an understanding of the specific structures of neuropeptides native to target tick pests and their location within the nervous system. Scientists in the Areawide Pest Management Research Unit at the Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center, College Station, Texas, in collaboration with scientists at the Saxon Academy of Sciences, Jena, Germany, and at Texas A&M University, worked with single specimens of two tick species (including the cattle fever tick, Boophilus microplus) to identify from neurosecretory organs the structure of a neuropeptide that regulates water balance (diuresis). This accomplishment is important because it provides new and important data on neuropeptides that likely regulate aspects of both diuresis and digestion in pest ticks; the accomplishment significantly furthers ongoing work to develop neuropeptide technology that will effectively control these pests without reliance on conventional chemical pesticides. (NP 304; Component 5, Pest Control Technologies; ARS Strategic Plan Performance Measure 3.2.5)


4b.List other significant research accomplishment(s), if any.
Manipulating Trap Placement Improves Effectiveness of Boll Weevil Traps: The effectiveness of boll weevil traps is significantly improved if the traps are placed in close proximity to prominent vegetation. Boll Weevil Eradication Programs rely almost entirely on traps for population detection, and trapping results are the primary factor in making insecticide application decisions; development of more effective and predictive trapping protocols will significantly enhance effectiveness of the overall eradication effort. Scientists in the Areawide Pest Management Research Unit at the Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center, College Station, Texas, in collaboration with ARS scientists at Weslaco, Texas, established that the type and growth status of vegetation in the immediate proximity of traps greatly influenced the number of weevils trapped; prominent vegetation of significant height and density was associated with increased boll weevil captures. This accomplishment is important because it provides Eradication Program personnel with an improved trapping protocol that will be more predictive of actual weevil density (particularly in areas where chronic problems with resident or immigrant weevil populations exist), it will assure that better insecticide treatment decisions are made, and it will enhance ongoing Program efforts to eradicate the boll weevil from the U.S. (NP 304; Component 6, Integrated Pest Management Systems and Areawide Suppression Programs; ARS Strategic Plan Performance Measure 3.2.5.)

Neuropeptide Hormone/Active Site Interaction Profiles Identified for the Yellow Fever Mosquito and the Cattle Fever Tick: Characterization of the structural requirements for interaction of the insect kinin class of neuropeptide hormones with their active sites has been accomplished in the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti), and the cattle fever tick (Boophilus microplus). Development of neuropeptide-based control technology offers much promise as an alternative control strategy for disease-carrying insects and ticks; however, characterization of neuropeptide hormone/active site interactions is required to facilitate development of acceptable neuropeptide mimics capable of disrupting critical life processes. Scientists in the Areawide Pest Management Research Unit at the Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center, College Station, Texas, in collaboration with scientists at Texas A&M University, used state-of-the-art techniques to characterize the interaction dynamics between a specific kinin neuropeptide and its active site both in A. aegypti and in B. microplus. This accomplishment is important because it provides detailed knowledge of how neuropeptide hormones interact with active sites to exert their physiological effects; the accomplishment is of significant value in facilitating ongoing work toward development of effective and practical neuropeptide-based control agents for mosquitoes and other pest arthropods that act to disrupt life processes such as water balance, digestion, and growth (NP 304; Component 5, Pest Control Technologies; ARS Strategic Plan Performance Measure 3.2.5).

New Diuretic Neuropeptide Hormones Identified in Three Pest Flies: Neuropeptide hormones that regulate water balance (diuresis) were identified by state-of-the-art analytical techniques from three species of pest flies; the house fly (Musca domestica), the stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans) and the horn fly (Haematobia irritans). New pest insect control technology is needed to provide effective alternatives to conventional chemical insecticides currently used; the development of neuropeptide-based control technology for pest flies requires an understanding of the specific structures of insect neuropeptides native to the insects and their location within the nervous system. Scientists in the Areawide Pest Management Research Unit at the Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center, College Station, Texas, in collaboration with scientists at the Saxon Academy of Sciences, Jena, Germany, and at Texas A&M University, identified members of the CAP2b/PVK class of neuropeptides from neurosecretory organs of single fly specimens and pinpointed their location within the central nervous system of the insects. This accomplishment is important because it provides new and important structural and localization data on neuropeptides that regulate critical aspects of water regulation and digestion in pest flies, and it significantly furthers ongoing work to develop neuropeptide technology that will effectively control these pests without reliance on conventional chemical insecticides. (NP 304; Component 5, Pest Control Technologies; ARS Strategic Plan Performance Measure 3.2.5)


4c.List significant activities that support special target populations.
None.


5.Describe the major accomplishments to date and their predicted or actual impact.
This is a new project that replaced 6202-22320-001-00D, and which is expanding upon the work of the precursor project. Significant accomplishments were made under the precursor project and include the quantification of pheromone production dynamics in the boll weevil, critical evaluation of extended-dose boll weevil pheromone technology that facilitated efficiency of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program, and development of new protocols for accurately correlating environmental and nutritional parameters (temperature, precipitation, food sources) with boll weevil winter survival and spring emergence. Work under the current project has resulted in the development of more predictive trapping protocols for the boll weevil, and in significant scientific advancements in neuropeptide research focused on development of neuropeptide technology for effective, environmentally benign control of major pest insects and ticks. Project accomplishments have significantly advanced principles of integrated pest management and have facilitated ongoing work of the National Boll Weevil Eradication Program. All accomplishments made under this project are fully consistent with relevant milestones listed in the Project Plan, and with the relevant research components as defined in the National Program 304 and 305 Action Plans. Accomplishments under this project contribute to the achievement of ARS Strategic Plan Goal 3, Objective 2, Performance Measure 5, in that project accomplishments contribute substantially to attainment of the Agency FY 2007 target of developing specific information and technology for producers to utilize in controlling pest outbreaks as they occur.


6.What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end-user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products?
This is a new project that replaced 6202-22320-001-00D and which is expanding upon the work of the precursor project. All of the science and appropriate technologies developed by this and the precursor project have been transferred to appropriate users through conference presentations, journal publications, and other effective mechanisms. Critical project-developed information on improved boll weevil trap effectiveness, extended-life pheromone lures, and dynamics of boll weevil pheromone production have been described in scientific publications and made available to interested scientists, Boll Weevil Eradication Program officials, and other end users. Pest insect and tick neuropeptides have been identified, characterized, and shared with collaborating scientists for detailed assessments of neuropeptide effects on critical insect life processes as a necessary step in practical control technology development. The patent process has been utilized appropriately in protecting discoveries arising from project neuropeptide research. Established mechanisms are in place for technology transfer, and there are no significant constraints to the continued adoption of project-developed science and technology into pest control programs that are fully science based, areawide in perspective, and aimed at minimizing use of conventional chemical pesticides while achieving effective pest management. We anticipate that additional significant scientific advancements and technology development will be forthcoming under this project and which will facilitate more effective, sustainable, environmentally sensitive pest arthropod control, and that will be applicable on an areawide scale.


7.List your most important publications in the popular press and presentations to organizations and articles written about your work. (NOTE: List your peer reviewed publications below).
Core, J., Bliss, R., Flores, A. 2005. ARS partners with Defense Department to protect troops from insect vectors. Agricultural Research, September, 2005, p. 12-15.

Nachman, R.J. 2006. A. Interaction of biostable, beta-AA insect kinin analogs with expressed receptors. B. Exploring the functional role of a salt bridge in sulfakinins with restricted conformation analogs (oral presentations). Invertebrate Neuropeptide Conference, February 22, 2006, Guanajuato, Mexico.

Nachman, R.J. 2006. Interaction of mimetic analogs of insect neuropeptides with expressed receptors (oral presentation). European Comparative Endocrinologists 23rd Conference, September 2, 2006, Manchester, England.

Spurgeon, D.W. 2005. Boll weevil trapping and pheromone production update. Texas A&M Entomology Science Conference, October 26-28, 2005, College Station, Texas.

Spurgeon, D.W. 2005. Dynamics of pheromone production in the boll weevil (oral presentation). Texas A&M University Department of Entomology Seminar Series, December 1, 2005, College Station, Texas.

Spurgeon, D.W. 2005. Diet-mediated dynamics of pheromone production in the boll weevil (poster presentation). Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting, December 15-18, 2005, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Westbrook, J.K., Esquivel, J.F., Suh, C.P.-C. 2006. Early-season dispersal of cotton fleahoppers relative to weather factors (oral presentation). Southwestern Branch of the Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting, February 27-March 2, 2006, Austin, Texas.

Westbrook, J.K., McCracken, G.F., Kunz, T.H. 2006. Aerobiology of predator and prey: Bats and insects (oral presentation). American Meteorological Society Conference on Biometeorology and Aerobiology, May 22-25, 2006, San Diego, California.

Westbrook, J.K., Esquivel, J.F., Suh, C.P.-C. 2006. Early-season dispersal of cotton fleahoppers relative to atmospheric factors (oral presentation). Beltwide Cotton Conferences, January 3-6, 2006, San Antonio, Texas.


Review Publications
Cleveland, C.J., Betke, M., Federico, P., Frank, J.D., Hallam, T.G., Horn, J., Lopez, J., McCracken, G.F., Medellin, R.A., Moreno-Valdez, A., Sansone, C.G., Westbrook, J.K., Kunz, T.H. 2006. Economic value of the pest control service provided by Brazilian free-tailed bats in south-central Texas. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 4:238-243.

Lodyga-Chruscinska, E., Oldziej, S., Sanna, D., Micera, G., Chruscinski, L., Kaczmarek, K., Nachman, R.J., Zabrocki, J. 2006. Spectroscopic studies of Cu (II) complexes with an insect kinin analog. PharmaChem. 5:10-12.

Lodyga-Chruscinska, E., Sanna, D., Micera, G., Chruscinska, L., Olejnik, J., Nachman, R.J., Zabrocki, J. 2006. Chelating ability of proctolin tetrazole analogue. Acta Biochimica Polonica. 53:65-72.

Mertens, I., Meeusen, T., Janssen, T., Nachman, R.J., Schoofs, L. 2005. Molecular characterization of two G protein-coupled receptor splice variants as FLP2 receptors in Caenorhabditis elegans. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 330:967-974.

Nachman, R.J., Russell, W.K., Coast, G.M., Russell, D.H., Predel, R. 2005. Mass spectrometric assignment of Leu/Ile in neuropeptides from single neurohemal organ preparations of insects. Peptides. 26:2151-2156.

Nachman, R.J., Russell, W.K., Russell, D.H., Predel, R. 2006. MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometric assignment of Leu/Ile in PVK/CAP2b neuropeptides from single neurohemal organ preparations of four flies. Proceedings of International Conference on Arthropods: Chemical, Physiological and Environmental Perspectives. 3:49-53.

Nachman, R.J., Strey, A.A., Zubrzak, P., Zdarek, J. 2006. A comparison of the pupariation acceleration activity of pyrokinin-like peptides native to the flesh fly: Which peptide represents the primary pupariation factor? Peptides. 27:527-533.

Nachman, R.J., Russell, W.K., Coast, G.M., Russell, D.H., Miller, J.A., Predel, R. 2006. Identification of PVK/CAP2b neuropeptides from single neurohemal organs of the stable fly and horn fly via MALDI-TOF/TOF tandem mass spectrometry. Peptides. 27:521-526.

Neupert, S., Predel, R., Russell, W.K., Davey, R.B., Pietrantonio, P.V., Nachman, R.J. 2005. Identification of tick periviscerokinin, the first neurohormone of Ixodidae: Single cell analysis by means of MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometry. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 338:1860-1864.

Spurgeon, D.W., Cattaneo, M. 2006. Interactions between trap placement and boll weevil colonization of cotton. In: Proceedings of the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, January 3-6, 2006, San Antonio, Texas. 2006 CDROM.

Spurgeon, D.W., Anderson, R.M. 2006. Boll weevil trap captures as a function of distance from brush lines. In: Proceedings of the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, January 3-6, 2006, San Antonio, Texas. 2006 CDROM.

Spurgeon, D.W., Raulston, J.R. 2006. Captures of boll weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in traps associated with different habitats. Journal of Economic Entomology. 99:752-756.

Taneja-Bageshwar, S., Strey, A.A., Zubrzak, P., Pietrantonio, P.V., Nachman, R.J. 2006. Structure-activity relationships for insect kinins on expressed receptors from a tick (Acari: Ixodidae) and a mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae). Proceedings of International Conference on Arthropods: Chemical, Physiological and Environmental Perspectives. 3:55-59.

Taneja-Bageshwar, S., Strey, A.A., Zubrzak, P., Pietrantonio, P.V., Nachman, R.J. 2006. Comparative structure-activity analysis of insect kinin core analogs on recombinant kinin receptors from southern cattle tick Boophilus microplus (Acari: Ixodidae) and mosquito Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae). Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology. 62:128-140.

Armstrong, J.S., Spurgeon, D.W., Suh, C.P. 2006. Comparisons of standard and extended-life boll weevil pheromone lures. Journal of Economic Entomology. 99:323-330.

Showler, A.T., James, W.D., Armstrong, J.S., Westbrook, J.K. 2006. An experiment using neutron activation analysis and a rare earth element to mark cotton plants and two insects that feed on them. Applied Radiation and Isotopes. 64(8):875-880.

Nachman, R.J., Teal, P.E.A., Garside, C.S., Tobe, S.S. 2006. Mimetic insect allatostatin analogs for insect control. U.S. Patent 7,078,384.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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