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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

2009 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Manage insect pests and beneficials through discovery and development of behaviorally active compounds including insect- and plant-produced attractants, feeding stimulants and deterrents. Enhance the effectiveness of beneficial insects, e.g. predators and parasitoids, with chemical signals.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Isolate chemical mixtures by aeration or direct extraction of insects and plants. Separate components of mixtures using chromatography and determine active compounds using coupled GC-electroantennogram detection and behavioral bioassays. Identify chemical structures using coupled chromatography-mass spectrometry and other spectral means. Verify identifications by synthesis or by comparison to commercial standards, and evaluate active chemicals in the laboratory and field. Characterize neural mechanisms used by targeted species to detect chemical signals. Determine processes regulating synthesis and release of insect and plant signals in order to improve their effectiveness and provide insight into novel approaches.

3.Progress Report
Synthetic chemical lures (pheromones), repellents and other behavior modifying compounds are useful for directly monitoring and/or suppressing native and invasive insect pests. In addition, attractants for key predators and parasites are potentially valuable tools to enhance the natural biological control of pests in an environmentally friendly way. The project’s objectives include the identification of these types of chemical signals (semiochemicals), investigation of the mechanisms for detection and orientation to semiochemicals, and development of techniques and strategies to use semiochemicals to manage targeted pests and natural enemies. Chemists and entomologists in the laboratory, some of whom have additional skills in state-of-the-art electrophysiology, are actively investigating the chemical communication systems of a wide variety of pest insects, including Colorado potato beetle, tropical root weevil, pink hibiscus mealybug, Lygus and other plant bugs, brown marmorated and other stink bugs, Mediteranean and oriental fruit flies, Asian longhorned beetle, yellowjackets, gypsy moth, winter moth, light brown apple moth, dogwood borer, cocoa pod borer, and emerald ash borer. Ongoing research on beneficials is emphasizing attractants for general predators, including predacious stink bugs and relatives (predators of caterpillars and beetle larvae), and green lacewings (important predators of many small arthropods, especially aphids). Research progress on targeted pests and beneficials ranges from the exploratory phase to implementation and commercialization of technologies. Recent examples of projects in advanced stages of applying technological discoveries are commercialization of pink hibiscus mealybug, Asian longhorned beetle lures and dogwood borer, and protocols to suppress the Colorado potato beetle using plant volatiles with synthetic aggregation pheromone. Finally, an attractant for the brown marmorated stink bug has been field-tested for five years, and efforts are underway to scale up research synthesis of this compound for continued research on control applications.

1. Pheromone-based management of dogwood borer. The dogwood borer is a serious wood-boring pest of apple in eastern North America. Feeding by developing larvae in woody tissues can lead to girdling and weakening trees. The recent identification of the sex pheromone and an inhibitory compound of the dogwood borer allowed us to evaluate mass trapping and mating disruption strategies to control this pest. Mass trapping is based on using pheromone-baited traps to remove large numbers of males from the population such that females remain unmated and incapable of reproduction. Although we removed large numbers of males from commercial orchards located in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, infestations were not reduced to the level of conventional insecticide-treated plots. However, a preliminary mating disruption study which utilized the inhibitory compound (the main pheromone component of the closely-related lesser peach tree borer) effectively disrupted mate-finding by male dogwood borer.

2. Pheromone-based management of Colorado potato beetle. The Colorado potato beetle is one of the most destructive pests of solanaceous crops including potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant. The beetle has rapidly developed resistance to pesticides and other control measures, thus alternative methods of management are urgently needed. Moreover, the Colorado potato beetle has continued its world-wide spread and is now a threat to areas of Asia including China, and Australia. Recently, ARS discovered an aggregation pheromone for the Colorado potato beetle which attracts both sexes. Now, we report a trapping system utilizing the aggregation pheromone which is effective in capturing the beetle in the field throughout the growing season. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of the pheromone in the field, and portend its usefulness for management and for survey of endemic populations of the pest or detection of its spread.

6.Technology Transfer

Number of New CRADAS1
Number of Active CRADAs1
Number of the New/Active MTAs (providing only)1
Number of Invention Disclosures Submitted1
Number of New Patent Applications Filed1
Number of New Commercial Licenses Executed1
Number of Other Technology Transfer1

Review Publications
Otalora Luna, F., Hammock, J.A., Alessandro, R.T., Lapointe, S.L., Dickens, J.C. 2009. Host plant kairomones for the tropical weevil Diaprepes abbreviatus. Arthropod-Plant Interactions. 3: 63-73.

Cha, D.H., Nojima, S., Hesler, S.P., Zhang, A., Linn Jr., C.E., Roelofs, W.L., Loeb, G.M. 2008. Identification and field evaluation of grape shoot volatiles attractive to female grape berry moth (Paralobesia viteana). Journal of Chemical Ecology. 34(9):1180-1189.

Leskey, T.C., Bergh, J., Walgenbach, J.F., Zhang, A. 2009. Evaluation of Pheromone-Based Strategies for the Dogwood Borer on Commercial Apple Orchards. Journal of Economic Entomology. 102(3):1085-1093.

Bergh, J.C., Leskey, T.C., Walgenbach, J.F., Klingeman, W.E., Kain, D.P., Zhang, A. 2009. Dogwood borer (lepidoptera: sesiidae) abundance and seasonal flight activity in apple orchards, urban landscapes and woodlands in five eastern states. Environmental Entomology. 38:530-538. Available

Leskey, T.C., Wright, S.E., Anger, W., Chouinard, G., Cormier, D., Pichette, A., Zhang, A. 2009. An Electroantennogram Technique for the Plum Curculio, Conotrachelus nenuphar (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Environmental Entomology. 38(3):870-878.

Khrimian, A., Siderhurst, M. S., McQuate, G. T., Liquido, N. J., Nagata, J., Carvalho, L., Guzman F., Jang, E. B. 2009. Ring-fluorinated analog of methyl eugenol: attractiveness to and metabolism in the oriental fruit fly, bactrocera dorsalis. Journal of Chemical Ecolology 35:209-218. Available

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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