2010 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
To investigate several different approaches toward pest management with a focus on integrating genetic strategies such as sterile insect techniques (SIT), biological control, and other biorational pest management tactics leading to the development of local and regional pest management systems for important invasive insects and insect pests of crops grown primarily in the Southeast, and the enhancement of the use of natural enemies for insect and weed biological control.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
We will test the hypothesis that novel approaches to the use of the SIT will provide critical knowledge in the development of strategies to suppress, exclude or eradicate indigenous or invasive pest species of importance to the Southeast. We also will test the hypothesis that the reproductively inactivated insect pests can serve as host/prey to increase the performance of natural enemies as biological control agents, and that this tactic can be integrated into local and regional pest management systems. Laboratory, greenhouse, and field research will be conducted to identify and develop integrated management tactics and strategies to control important established and invasive insect pests, to mitigate the threat of high-risk exotic pests, and to enhance the use of natural enemies for insect and weed biological control. We will emphasize biological control, area-wide management, and SIT in our research approach. We will develop SIT tactics to suppress or eradicate indigenous and invasive species of Lepidoptera, to determine the host and geographical range of invasive species and weed biological control agents, and to increase the performance of natural enemies. Our research will be designed to identify synergism between control tactics and to facilitate the decision-making process in developing integrated management strategies. This research, which emphasizes collaboration with State, Federal, and international cooperators, will result in improved management strategies for invasive insect pests and insect pests that threaten crops grown primarily in the Southeast, and enhanced use of natural enemies for insect and weed biological control.
This project has termed and been replaced by bridging project #6602-22000-038-00D.
Research activities and experimental trials were conducted to develop sterile insect technique (SIT) and inherited sterility tactics to manage/exclude invasive and exotic lepidopteran pest species. A significant effort was directed to the development and implementation of a control/eradication strategy for the Argentine cactus moth, an invasive pest in the United States and a recently established pest on islands off the coast of Quintana Roo, Mexico. As a result of our research and cooperative partnerships with USDA-APHIS, ETH, Zurich, Switzerland, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), North American Plant Protection Organization, Florida Division of Plant Industry, and SAGARPA, Mexico, we improved mass rearing technology using an artificial diet, developed disease abatement procedures for SIT mass rearing, developed interstate and international shipping protocols that would preserve the quality of sterile cactus moths use in SIT releases, conducted SIT verification field trials, initiated field trials to evaluate pheromone-based mating disruption, characterized endogenous and exogenous factors that influence diel flight pattern and performance, identified cytological attributes that can be used to monitor the efficacy of the SIT, and verified the most effective dose of radiation from different types of irradiators for use in the SIT against the cactus moth. The findings from these studies have been incorporated into the US - Mexico Bi-National Program against the cactus moth. As a result, established populations of this pest have been eliminated from Alabama barrier islands and islands off the coast of Quintana Roo, Mexico, and the further westward expansion of pest populations along the Gulf coast have been mitigated. Other research activities have included the initiation of a season-long field study to compare mixed gender and male-only releases of sterile moths for lepidopteran SIT programs. The work was conducted in South Africa using the codling moth as a model system with the cooperation of the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa and the IAEA.
Development of an area-wide pest management program for the false codling moth: the false codling moth is identified by USDA-APHIS as one of the worst exotic pest threats to citrus, corn, cotton, and many other crops in the U.S. and the key pest of citrus in South Africa. Scientists from the USDA-ARS Crop Protection and Management Research Unit, Tifton, GA, Citrus Research International, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) researched and developed an area-wide pest management program for the false codling moth that included the use of the sterile insect technique. Program recommendations were adopted by USDA-APHIS for their Emergency Response Plan and are supported by USDA-APHIS preclearance as part of the phytosanitary program for South African citrus. A multi-million dollar program supported and funded by Citrus Research International, Citrus Growers Association, IAEA, Department of Science and Technology of South Africa, River Bioscience, and the National Innovation Center for Plant Bioscience has been established in the Western Cape of South Africa and is being expanded to other parts of South Africa.
Control strategy mitigates the threat of the invasive Argentine cactus moth in the United States and eradicates the pest in Mexico: Since its detection in south Florida in 1989, the Argentine cactus moth has expanded its range 50-100 miles per year along the Atlantic Coast and west along the Gulf Coast to the barrier islands of Mississippi, and has become an imminent threat to many Opuntia cactus species valued as a food, a forage, a wildlife habitat, and a major plant group contributing to ecosystem structure and biodiversity. Scientists from the USDA-ARS Crop Protection and Management Research Unit, Tifton, GA, in collaboration with USDA-ARS-CMAVE in Tallahassee, FL and USDA-APHIS, developed and refined survey methods and control tactics using field sanitation combined with sterile insect releases (SIT) along the leading edge of the invasion and at new outbreak locations. With the cooperation of ARS, USDA-APHIS and SAGARPA, Mexico continue to adopt and implement these methods and tactics in the operational program that is part of an ongoing U.S.-Mexico bi-national campaign against this invasive pest. These actions eradicated or greatly reduced established populations of this pest on Alabama and Mississippi barrier islands and islands off the coast of Quintana Roo, Mexico, and mitigated the further westward expansion of pest populations along the Gulf coast. This is the first time any lepidopteran pest has been eradicated from a country in the Western Hemisphere.
Vreysen, M., Carpenter, J.E., Marec, F. 2010. Improvement of the sterile insect technique for codling moth Cydia pomonella (Linnaeus) Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) to facilitate expansion of field application. Journal of Applied Entomology. 139:165-181.
Simmons, G.S., Suckling, D.M., Carpenter, J.E., Addison, M.F., Dyck, V.A., Vreysen, M.J. 2010. Improved quality management to enhance the efficacy of the sterile insect techniques for lepidopteran pests. Journal of Applied Entomology. 134:261-273.