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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SUSTAINABLE SYSTEMS FOR INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT OF NATURAL ENEMIES
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?
The interventionist approach of directly killing pest organisms with toxic chemicals has been the prevailing pest control strategy for well over fifty years. However, the bulk of the effort to develop alternatives has been directed toward the use of modern chemistry and molecular biology to replace traditional pesticides with less hazardous chemicals or nontoxic biologically-based products, but still as therapeutics. Thus, the classic treadmill effect in pursuit of remediation of the symptoms persists while tolls due to pests grow higher, and pest management as a component of agricultural systems is not being adequately addressed.

Truly satisfactory and lasting solutions to modern pest problems require a shift to understanding and promoting naturally occurring biological agents and the other inherent strengths as components of total agricultural ecosystems, and designing our cropping systems so that these natural forces keep the pests within acceptable bounds. Development of an integrated farm management program that increases the abundance and effectiveness of natural enemies of pests and takes advantage of the inherent strengths of plants is an essential strategy for conserving and enhancing the efficacy of natural enemies of pests and will result in cost effective and environmentally harmonious technology for reducing losses in agricultural crops from insect pests.

The project has four specific goals:.
1)to develop perennialized/diverse cropping systems with year-round cover and refugia that foster desirable pest/natural enemy balances and healthy soils,.
2)to determine key mechanisms governing plant/herbivore/natural enemy interactions to develop strategies to increase foraging efficacy of natural enemies of key pests in row crops, and.
3)to develop spin-off benefits emerging from an understanding of natural systems, such as use of trained wasps for chemical biosensors in precision agriculture, food safety, etc. The research falls under National Program-304 - Crop Protection & Quarantine (70%) and addresses goals in Component II, III, and V as described in the National Program Action Plan.


2.List by year the currently approved milestones (indicators of research progress)
Year 1 (FY 2006) 1. Develop vegetational designs that enhance natural enemies Characterize population dynamics/dispersal of key pests and natural enemies --Initiate study of patch size and edge effects on key insect species --Initiate study on farmscape ecology of stink bugs

2. Develop spatial and temporal vegetational diversity --Initiate field studies of alternate plants for resource provisions --Initiate cover crop study

3. Develop pest intervention strategies --Initiate study to determine mechanism(s) for pest reductions/outbreaks in cotton --Initiate field study on impact of trap crop and pheromone traps on stink bugs and their natural enemies --Initiate study on the impact of neem oil on natural enemies

4. Determine prospects for organic production of crops --Initiate small plot study to assess economic feasibility of producing organic cotton and peanut

5. Increase foraging efficacy of parasitoids Determine effect of herbivore feeding patterns on wasp foraging --Initiate and complete a patch study on response to spatial variation in cotton plant damage

6. Determine effect of nectar and other food sources on parasitoid foraging --Complete and publish field study of nectar and honey dew on selected plants

7. Determine effect of plant nutrition and water stress on parasitoid foraging --Initiate and complete plot study of cotton, nitrogen and water

8. Determine effect of plant mixes and diversity on parasitoid foraging --Initiate propagation of select plant species --Initiate 1st patch study of plant mixtures

9. Determine effect of learning on parasitoid foraging --Initiate study on effect of interactive learning in association with host/food combinations on foraging behavior

10. Develop spin-off benefits --Submit patent disclosure on amended container/sampler system

Year 2 (FY 2007) 1. Develop vegetational designs that enhance natural enemies Characterize population dynamics/dispersal of key pests and natural enemies --Continue studies initiated in year 1

2. Develop spatial and temporal vegetational diversity --Publish field studies of alternate plants for resource provisions --Complete cover crop study

3. Develop pest intervention strategies --Continue studies initiated in year 1 --Initiate study on impact on predators when plant-feeding on Bt cotton

4. Determine prospects for organic production of crops --Continue small plot study to assess economic feasibility of producing organic cotton and peanut

5. Increase foraging efficacy of parasitoids Determine effect of herbivore feeding patterns on wasp foraging --Publish patch study on response to spatial variation in cotton plant damage --Initiate patch study of responses to other spatial variations in cotton damage

6. Determine effect of nectar and other food sources on parasitoid foraging --Initiate and complete patch study of starved and fed wasps in cotton patch with host and food resources

7. Determine effect of plant nutrition and water stress on parasitoid foraging --Publish plot study of cotton, nitrogen and water --Initiate and complete plot study of other cotton cultivars

8. Determine effect of plant mixes and diversity on parasitoid foraging --Complete 1st patch study of selected plant mixtures --Initiate 2nd patch study with other plant mixtures

9. Determine effect of learning on parasitoid foraging --Publish study on effect of interactive learning in association with host/food combinations on foraging behavior --Initiate study how host/food quality/distribution affects learning

10. Develop spin-off benefits --Initiate mass training methodology --Initiate chemical/behavior interactions for targeted systems

Year 3 (FY 2008) 1. Develop vegetational designs that enhance natural enemies Characterize population dynamics/dispersal of key pests and natural enemies --Publish study of patch size and edge effects --Initiate development and tests of farmscape model --Continue study on farmscape ecology of stink bugs

2. Develop spatial and temporal vegetational diversity --Initiate planting cotton field borders with selected plants --Publish cover crop study

3. Develop pest intervention strategies --Publish study to determine the mechanism(s) for pest reductions/outbreaks in cotton --Continue field study on impact of trap crop and pheromone traps on stink bug populations --Continue study on the impact of neem oil on natural enemies --Continue study on impact on predators when plant-feeding on Bt cotton

4. Determine prospects for organic production of crops --Continue small plot study to assess economic feasibility of producing organic cotton and peanut

5. Increase foraging efficacy of parasitoids Determine effect of herbivore feeding patterns on wasp foraging --Publish patch study of responses to other spatial variations in cotton plant damage --Initiate field study on responses to spatial variation in cotton plant damage

6. Determine effect of nectar and other food sources on parasitoid foraging --Publish patch study of starved and fed wasps in cotton patch with host and food resources --Initiate and complete patch study of variable levels of food and host resources

7. Determine effect of plant nutrition and water stress on parasitoid foraging --Publish study of other cotton cultivars --Initiate field study of cotton, nitrogen and water

8. Determine effect of plant mixes and diversity on parasitoid foraging --Publish 1st patch study of selected plant mixtures --Complete 2nd patch study with other plant mixtures

9. Determine effect of learning on parasitoid foraging --Complete and publish study of how host/food quality/distribution affects learning --Initiate study of influence of plant interactions on learning interactions

10.Develop spin-off benefits --Complete mass training methodology and submit patent disclosure --Publish study on chemical/behavior interactions for targeted systems

Year 4 (FY 2009) 1. Develop vegetational designs that enhance natural enemies Characterize population dynamics/dispersal of key pests and natural enemies --Continue farmscape model study --Publish study on farmscape ecology of stink bugs

2. Develop spatial and temporal vegetational diversity --Continue planting cotton field borders with selected plants

3. Develop pest intervention strategies --Continue field study on impact of trap crop and pheromone traps on stink bug populations --Continue study on the impact of neem oil on natural enemies --Publish study on impact on predators when plant-feeding on Bt cotton

4. Determine prospects for organic production of crops --Continue small plot study to assess economic feasibility of producing organic cotton and peanut

5. Increase foraging efficacy of parasitoids Determine effect of herbivore feeding patterns on wasp foraging --Continue field study on responses to spatial variation in cotton plant damage

6. Determine effect of nectar and other food sources on parasitoid foraging --Publish patch study of variable levels of food and host resources --Initiate field study of starved and fed wasps with host and food resources

7. Determine effect of plant nutrition and water stress on parasitoid foraging --Continue field study of cotton, nitrogen and water

8. Determine effect of plant mixes and diversity on parasitoid foraging --Publish 2nd patch study with other plant mixtures --Initiate 3rd patch study with other plant mixtures

9. Determine effect of learning on parasitoid foraging --Continue study of influence of plant interactions on learning interactions

10.Develop spin-off benefits --Initiate pilot evaluations of targeted systems

Year 5 (FY 2010) 1. Develop vegetational designs that enhance natural enemies Characterize population dynamics/dispersal of key pests and natural enemies --Publish farmscape model study

2. Develop spatial and temporal vegetational diversity --Publish study on planting cotton field borders with selected plants

3. Develop pest intervention strategies --Publish field study on impact of trap crop and pheromone traps on stink bugs and their natural enemies --Publish study on the impact of neem oil on natural enemies

4. Determine prospects for organic production of crops --Publish small plot study to assess economic feasibility of producing organic cotton and peanut

5. Increase foraging efficacy of parasitoids Determine effect of herbivore feeding patterns on wasp foraging --Publish field study on responses to spatial variation in cotton plant damage

6. Determine effect of nectar and other food sources on parasitoid foraging --Continue field study of starved and fed wasps with host and food resources

7. Determine effect of plant nutrition and water stress on parasitoid foraging --Publish field study of cotton, nitrogen and water

8. Determine effect of plant mixes and diversity on parasitoid foraging --Complete 3rd patch study of other plant mixtures

9. Determine effect of learning on parasitoid foraging --Complete and publish study of influence of plant interactions on learning interactions

10.Develop spin-off benefits --Complete pilot evaluations and launch application of wasps and biological sensors


4a.List the single most significant research accomplishment during FY 2006.
Impact of leaf structure on parasitoid behavior.

Leaf surface structure may be an important factor affecting the success of releases of the parasitic wasp, Trichogramma nubilale, for biological control of eggs of moth pests. Thus, an ARS scientist and a University of Minnesota cooperator observed and recorded the walking pattern of females of this wasp on corn, canna, cup plant, velvetleaf, little bluestem, a smooth and a fuzzy synthetic material, and waxed paper. In general, walking speed was negatively affected by the presence and density of trichomes and possibly the lack of leaf veins. Wasps can walk over short trichomes, but short directionally pointed trichomes can guide the search paths in certain directions. The affects of long trichomes can depend on trichome density relative to the parasitoid body length. For example, at moderate trichome density, the wasp will stand on the leaf surface between trichomes and will frequently run into trichomes, which will retard walking speeds and increase turning. We conclude that leaf surface structures will have varied effects on Trichogramma wasps, and these effects will need to be considered in developing effective biological control.

The research falls under National Program-304 - Crop Protection & Quarantine - and addresses goals in Component II as described in the National Program Action Plan.


4b.List other significant research accomplishment(s), if any.
None


4c.List significant activities that support special target populations.
Working on small farms to develop perennialized/diverse cropping systems with natural enemy habitats that foster desirable pest/natural enemy balances and reduce on-farm inputs.


4d.Progress report.
None


5.Describe the major accomplishments to date and their predicted or actual impact.
This is a new project, so the accomplishment described in Question 4a is the only major accomplishment at this time.

This research falls under National Program-304 - Crop Protection & Quarantine - and addresses goals in Component II as described in the National Program Action Plan.


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?
Presented information on the Interactive-Web of factors governing effective natural enemy foraging behavior and information on use of a trap crop for conservation biological control of stink bugs in cotton to a group of international scientists at the 2nd Symposium of Biological Control.

Information on density and dispersal of stink bugs within and between southeastern farmscapes was transferred to farmers, other scientists, industry and consumer organizations at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, Georgia Entomological Society meeting, and meeting of Southeastern Stink Bug Work Group.

Information on impact of cover crops on insect pests and their predators was presented to other scientists at the CSREES, USDA Workshop on Biologically-based Pest Management in Fort Lauderdale, FL at the National ESA meeting.


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).
Sting Operation: How a Bug Expert in Tifton Trains Wasps to Fight in the War on Terror. Atlanta (Magazine), February, 2006, Pp 76-79, 94-100.

The Newest Trouble Sniffers: Wasps Could Replace Dogs for Sniffing Out Drugs, Bombs. Associated Press, December 4, 2005.

Scientists Recruit Wasps for War on Terror: Insects could be used to detect toxins, explosives. USA Today, December 27, 2005. Cover Crops Lure Beneficial Insects, Improve Bottom Line in Cotton. 2005 SARE Highlights.


Review Publications
Rose, U.S.R., Lewis, J., Tumlinson, J.H. 2006. Extrafloral nectar from cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) as a food source for parasitic wasps. Functional Ecology. 20:67-74.

Rains, G.C., Utley, S.L., Lewis, W.J. 2006. Behavioral monitoring of trained insects for chemical detection. Biotechnology Progress. 22:2-8.

Tomberlin, J.K., Tertuliano, M., Rains, G., Lewis, W.J. 2005. Conditioned Microplitis croceipes Cresson (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) detect and respond to 2,4-DNT: Development of a biological sensor. Journal of Forensic Science. 50(5):1187-1190.

Olson, D.M., Lewis, W.J., Takasu, K. 2005. Interactive-web of factors governing effective natural enemy foraging behavior: Overview of food resources as a critical component. In: Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Biological Control of Arthropods, September 12-16, 2005, Davos, Switzerland. p. 389-397.

Olson, D.M., Davis, R.F., Brown, S.L., Roberts, P., Phatak, S.C. 2006. Cover crop, rye residue and in-furrow treatment effects on thrips. Journal of Applied Entomology. 130(5):302-308.

Marti, O.G., Olson, D.M. 2006. Neozygites fresenii (Entomophthorales: Neozygitaceae) prevalence in Aphis gossypii (Homoptera: Aphididae) in three south central Georgia cotton fields. Journal of Entomological Science. 41(1):22-32.

Tillman, P.G. 2006. Relative attractiveness of developmental stages of sorghum panicles to predator, Orius insidiosus (Say), and prey, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie). Journal of Entomological Science. 41(3):248-252.

Tillman, P.G. 2006. Sorghum as a trap crop for Nezara viridula L. (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) in cotton in the southern United States. Environmental Entomology. 35(3):771-783.

Schomberg, H.H., Tillman, G., Timper, P., Lachnicht Weyers, S.L., Olson, D.M., Sainju, U.M., Phatak, S., Lamb, M.C., Whitehead, W., Utley, S. 2005. Enhancing sustainability in cotton production through reduced chemical inputs, cover crops, and conservation tillage. Final Project Report LSO1-121 to the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. http://www.sare.org/reporting/report_viewer.asp?pn=LSO1-121&ry=2004&rf=1.

Schomberg, H.H., Tillman, P.G., Lachnicht Weyers, S.L., Timper, P., Olson, D.M., Sainju, U.M., Phatak, S., Whitehead, W., Singh, B. 2005. Multidisciplinary approach to enhancing sustainability in cotton production in the southeastern USA [abstract]. The ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meetings, November 6-10, 2005, Salt Lake City, Utah. CDROM.

Tillman, P.G. 2006. Susceptibility of pest Nezara viridula (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) and parasitoid Trichopoda pennipes (Diptera: Tachinidae) to selected insecticides. Journal of Economic Entomology. 99(3):648-657.

Tillman, P.G. 2006. Effect of selected insecticides on the Leaffooted Bug (Hemiptera: Coreidae). Journal of Entomological Science. 41(2):184-186.

Tillman, P.G. 2006. Feeding responses of Trichopoda pennipes (F.) (Deptera: Tachinidae) to selected insecticides. Journal of Entomological Science. 41(3):242-247.

Last Modified: 11/22/2014
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