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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Beneficial Insects Introduction Research

2007 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
(1) Conduct explorations for natural enemies of the emerald ash borer (includes foreign exploration in the Far East as well as a search for native natural enemies of indigenous buprestid beetles), choose suitable investigation areas, inventory natural enemies attacking target pest, investigate the structure of the enemy complex, and conduct field studies of their impact on the target pest. (2) Perform bioecological studies on promising natural enemies discovered includes studies on life history and behavior, host specificity (Asiatic species), synchronization with the pest, physiological tolerance to different climatic factors, and establishment of priorities in utilization of promising species based upon their biological characteristics. (3) Quarantine services for beneficial insects includes quarantine handling of natural enemies of high priority plant pests for other in-house projects (Asian longhorned beetle, soybean aphid, lygus bugs, brown marmorated stingbug) and pass-thru services for state and federal agencies.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Investigate natural enemies of emerald ash borer in Far East: inventory biotic agents, assess role in population dynamics of pest, set priorities for importation, and ship promising species to Newark for further study. Candidate species that appear to be monophagous or oligophagous, or which have many suspect host records will be subjected to laboratory tests in quarantine on North American species selected for study. Both choice and no-choice tests will be used in evaluating host range. Study natural enemies of indigenous buprestid beetles to identify effective candidate species that could be used effectively against EAB in North America. Experiments will be conducted to find optimum temperatures, relative humidity, and photoperiod needed to rear the most promising species. Releases will be made in areas having moderate to high host populations. Monitoring of EAB population density and natural enemy buildup and dispersal after colonization will be used to interpret the efficacy of biological control agents established. Screen incoming shipments of natural enemies of other pests for other ARS CRIS units as well as other institutions involved with biological control research, to remove undesirable organisms and obtain pure cultures of natural enemies other invasive species. Ship approved natural enemies to cooperators.

3.Progress Report
Extramural agreements were established or drafted in 2007 to support foreign exploration, collection and importation of natural enemies of emerald ash borer(EAB):.
1)a SCA with the Far East Forestry Research Institute (Khabarovsk, Russia) “Collection and evaluation of potential biological control agents for EAB in Russia” and.
2)a non-funded cooperative agreement “Collection, field evaluation, and host range of potential biological agents for selected forest pests in the USA and China” was proposed to the Chinese Academy of Forestry (Beijing, China). An exploration trip was planned (October, 2007) to northern Heilongjiang Province in China, an area previously unexplored for natural enemies of emerald ash borer. In July, permits were received for.
1)living emerald ash borer from Michigan and Pennsylvania, and.
2)receipt of parasitoids of EAB from Russia and China. These will be used to establish colonies in quarantine for rearing and evaluation. Last winter reports of substantial ash mortality in Bucks County, Pennsylvania were investigated in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry (PBF). The dominant insect pest was clearly the ash and privet borer, TYLONOTUS BIMACULATUS Haldeman. No emerald ash borers were discovered. However, EAB has been detected in western Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh. In cooperation with the PBF, we began a study of native parasitoids attacking the pest there beginning in late August 2007. So far, none have been recovered, but we will continue collections there in FY 2008. Attempts to collect native metallic wood borers for host range tests on Asiatic parasitoids of EAB were only moderately successful. Only one species attacking dogwood (identification pending) emerged this year in substantial numbers from logs collected in 2006. Larger collections of logs are being made in 2007. Some residual activities on gypsy moth associated with the previous CRIS cycle (1926-22000-014-00D, Biological control of GM and other tree pests and quarantine service for beneficial insects, 03/27/2003 - 12/14/2005) were completed:.
1)a cooperative field experiment with US Forest Service and Delaware State University comparing horizontal transmission of different strains of the GM nucleopolyhedrosis virus,.
2)in cooperation with The Institute for Genomics Research and ARS Insect Biological Control Laboratory, studies on the polydnavirus of GLYPTAPANTELES INDIENSIS, a parasitic wasp that develops on the caterpillars of Indian and European GM, and publication of a description of the proviral locus associated with this parasitoid’s polydnavirus, and.
3)many specimens of GLYPTAPANTELES FLAVICOXIS, another parasitoid of Indian and European GM having a polydnavirus, were sent to the ARS Insect Biological Control Laboratory for molecular studies. Related CRIS projects are: 1926-22000-020-01S; 9/30/02 - 12/31/05: COLLECTION AND ECOLOGY OF GYPSY MOTH PARASITES IN POLAND; 1926-22000-020-02S; 12/30/04 – 8/31/06: RACOVIRUS EVOLUTION: COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF MULTIPLE PROVIRAL AND VIRAL SEGMENT SEQUENCES; 1926-22000-020-03S; 7/31/07 – 06/31/08: COLLECTION AND EVALUATION OF POTENTIAL BIOLOGICAL CONTROL AGENTS FOR EAB IN RUSSIA

I. Analyses of first available large sequence of part of a proviral genome from a gypsy moth parasitoid. Tiny wasps known as parasitoids have potential to control moth pests, such as caterpillars, of agricultural crops and forests. The survival of many of these wasps is enhanced by a virus, called a polydnavirus, that is injected along with the wasp egg into the host caterpillar pest. In this cooperative study with The Institute for Genomics Research (TIGR) and the ARS Insect Biological Control Laboratory, we used modern molecular techniques to sequence and characterize the DNA of the provirus, the form of the polydnavirus that is a part of a parasitic wasp that attacks the gypsy moth before it is removed and injected into the caterpillar by the wasp. This is the first time researchers have ever examined a large region of the provirus, and many new discoveries were made. For example, in contrast to current concepts of bracovirus proviral genome organization, our data showed that GiBV proviral genome segment sequences are not tightly linked in a single tandem array, but are integrated into multiple loci. The information obtained will help explain how the polydnavirus may be formed and replicate, how the virus may help the wasp to survive, and may lead to new biocontrol strategies. This information will be of interest to university and industry scientists who are interested in virus evolution and/or in developing new virus-based strategies to control pests. This accomplishment addresses National Program 304, Problem Statement A - Understanding Complex Interactions under National Program Component III - Plant, Pest, and Natural Enemy Interactions and Ecology.

5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations

6.Technology Transfer

Number of web sites managed1
Number of non-peer reviewed presentations and proceedings3
Number of newspaper articles and other presentations for non-science audiences2

Review Publications
Desjardins, C., Gundersen, D.E., Hostetler, J.B., Tallon, L.J., Utterback, T.R., Fuester, R.W., Schatz, M.C., Pedroni, M.J., Fadrosh, D.W., Haas, B.J., Toms, B.S., Chen, D., Nene, V. 2007. Structure and Evolution of a Proviral Locus of Glyptapanteles indiensis Bracovirus. BMC Microbiology 2007, 7:61

Last Modified: 4/23/2014
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