DISCOVERY, BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY OF NATURAL ENEMIES OF INSECT PESTS OF CROPS, URBAN AND NATURAL AREAS
Project Number: 0212-22000-022-00
Start Date: Nov 24, 2005
End Date: Nov 23, 2010
Explore for natural enemies (pathogens, parasites and predators) in the native range of insect pests identified as high priority targets by the ARS National Program Staff. Identify, colonize and evaluate the most promising natural enemies and ship to U.S. cooperators. Results of laboratory and field studies will be used to improve the ability to predict key factors for application to future programs. Key target pests include the Asian longhorned beetle(Anoplophora glabripennis), emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), wheat stem sawfly (Cephus cinctus), olive fly (Bactrocera oleae), Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus), and plant bugs (several species).
Using modern techniques of computer-generated climate matching, molecular biology, chemical ecology and risk analysis, the native range of the target pests will be pinpointed, the coevolved genotypes of key natural enemies will be identified, and their behavioral and physiological efficiency on target and non-target hosts will be determined through basic studies on the biology, ecology and behavior. Physiological (laboratory) host specificity tests of candidate biological control agents will be conducted in a risk analysis context to generate data necessary to predict safety and efficacy of the agents, and to seek concurrence from State and Federal regulatory agencies for release. Field and laboratory studies on non-target species will determine ecological host range. The most promising natural enemies will be prioritized and shipped to U.S. cooperators for further collaborative screening and release.