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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

Location: Crop Protection and Management Research

2008 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Develop vegetational designs and therapeutic interventions that foster desirable pest/natural enemy balances. Increase the foraging efficacy of parasitoids and other natural enemies of key pests of row crops. Develop spin-off benefits emerging from an understanding of natural systems, such as use of trained wasps for chemical biosensors in precision agriculture and food safety.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Research will focus on better landscape ecology practices for total habitat management, improved knowledge of inherent strengths in crop attributes, and development of biorational, therapeutic products/procedures which complement inherent strengths in the cropping systems and the development of decision-making tools that better utilize natural enemies in agronomic crops in the Southern Coastal Plain. Emphasis will be placed on development of control strategies for insect pests utilizing biological control, conservation tillage practices, cropping sequences, and cultural practices. Efforts will be directed toward conserving and enhancing natural enemies for managing primary pests of agronomic crops.


3.Progress Report
In 2008, several studies were conducted to increase our understanding of spatiotemporal patterns of insect pests and their natural enemies and subsequently to test vegetational designs that could enhance natural enemies of these pests and insect pollinators. Our laboratory along with several other USDA-ARS scientists from variable disciplines are in the second year of development of a demonstration farm that has set asides for the conservation of quail and beneficial insects. We developed a simple model that will aid in understanding the mechanisms underlying species specific edge effects or the lack thereof. A field study provided validation of the model. Predictions that can be made about species distribution in time and space will allow growers to spray fields at an appropriate time and possibly in a limited spatial manner which could substantially reduce the cost of on-farm inputs and protect non-target species from the sprays. We initiated a study to determine the potential for using milkweed as a source of nectar for natural enemies of stink bugs and for insect pollinators in agricultural landscapes with cotton and various other crops. Stink bug egg and adult parasitoids, bees, and wasps readily fed on nectar of this plant. A habitat of milkweed could possibly serve as a natural enemy and pollinator refuge providing food and protection from insecticides. We are continuing to conduct research on developing bio-based management strategies for control of stink bugs. The efficacy of green stink bug pheromone baited traps in capturing these pests is being studied on-farm for the first time. We are continuing small plot studies to assess the economic feasibility of producing organic cotton and peanuts, and we have added organic corn into the crop rotation. We also are continuing studies to train parasitoids to detect specific chemicals. We tested the ability of Microplitis croceipes to detect different concentrations of the various boar chemical products that are produced in uncastrated boars to help selection for desirable boar genotypes. We found that trained wasps are able to indicate through distinct behaviors the identity and concentration of the specific chemical compound of interest. This research contributes to National Program (NP) 304, Crop Protection and Quarantine. The goal of this NP is to provide technology to manage pest populations below economic damage thresholds by the integration of environmentally compatible strategies that are based on increased understanding of the biology and ecology of insect, mite, and weed pests (Component III-Plant, Pest, and Natural Enemy Interactions and Ecology; Component V-Pest Control Technologies). This research also contributes to NP 305, Crop Production. The goal of NP 305 is to provide for economical and environmentally sound production of food and fiber products that are safe (Component I-Integrated Production Systems).


4.Accomplishments
1. Spatiotemporal patterns and dispersal of stink bugs in agricultural landscapes--In cotton, stink bugs are primary pests responsible for millions of dollars in losses and cost of control. Generally, peanuts are grown in rotation with cotton in peanut-cotton farmscapes. The objective of this 4-yr on-farm study was to examine the spatial and temporal patterns and dispersal of the southern green stink bug and the brown stink bug in these farmscapes. We used GIS (Geographical Information Systems) mapping, a new spatial analysis technique, and graphs of stink bug development over certain periods of time to examine spatial distribution and abundance of these pests in these farmscapes. Altogether, the analyses for each of the peanut-cotton farmscapes strongly indicated that southern green stink bugs and brown stink bugs moved from peanuts into cotton at the interface, or common boundary, of peanut-cotton farmscapes. A new spatial analysis technique revealed that these stink bugs aggregated in cotton as they fed on cotton bolls at the interface of the farmscapes and both species generally occurred together in this part of the cotton field. Later in the project, it was proven that adults and nymphs of the southern green stink bug and brown stink bug move from peanuts into cotton at the interface of the farmscape. Understanding the spatial and temporal patterns of stink bugs in peanut-cotton farmscapes will help in developing management strategies for these pests in cotton. This research contributes to National Program (NP) 304, Crop Protection and Quarantine. The goal of this NP is to provide technology to manage pest populations below economic damage thresholds by the integration of environmentally compatible strategies that are based on increased understanding of the biology and ecology of insect, mite, and weed pests (Component III—Plant, Pest, and Natural Enemy Interactions and Ecology; Component V—Pest Control Technologies).

2. Linking belowground and aboveground plant-herbivore-carnivore interactions in cotton--Cotton plants emit herbivore-induced volatile compounds. As these volatile compounds attract natural enemies of the herbivore, they are thought to represent an indirect plant defense. Our study evaluated production of these compounds in response to foliage feeding by the corn earworm, root feeding by the root-knot nematode, and their combination as well as attraction of a parasitic wasp that attacks corn earworm larvae. Toxic compounds were not produced by any plant treatment. However, a variety of volatile compounds were produced with herbivore damage to leaves with increased levels when root damage was added, and both treatments were highly attractive to the parasitic wasp.Plants with only root-damage were neither attractive to the parasitoid nor were any volatile compounds produced. Root feeding by the root-knot nematode and leaf-feeding by corn earworm did not increase plant direct defenses either above ground or below-ground. This information provides scientists one mechanism by which herbivores are able to maintain feeding on cotton which can lead to development of methodologies to increase production of these compounds in cotton. This research contributes to National Program (NP) 304, Crop Protection and Quarantine. The goal of this NP is to provide technology to manage pest populations below economic damage thresholds by integration of environmentally compatible strategies that are based on increased understanding of the biology and ecology of insect, mite, and weed pests (Component III-Plant, Pest, and Natural Enemy Interactions and Ecology; Component V-Pest Control Technologies). This research contributes to NP 305, Crop Production, the goal of which is to provide for economical and environmentally sound production of food and fiber products that are safe (Component I-Integrated Production Systems).

3. Peanuts as a newly recognized host plant for stink bugs--Stink bugs have increased in importance as pests of cotton over the past several years, but no information is available on abundance of stink bugs in peanuts. Therefore, the objective of this on-farm study was to determine if peanuts harbor populations of stink bugs and their natural enemies in Georgia. Three stink bug species were present in peanuts over the 4-year study. The predominant stink bug pests were the southern green stink bug and brown stink bug. The green stink bug was found in relatively low numbers. All development stages of the southern green stink bug and brown stink bug were collected at various times in the study indicating that these stink bug species were developing on this crop. Seasonal abundance of southern green stink bugs and brown stink bugs showed that at least two generations of the southern green stink bug occurred in peanuts each year, and one to two generations of brown stink bugs occurred in peanuts. Adult stink bugs were parasitized by two species of flies. Stink bug eggs were parasitized by five different species of wasps. Stink bug predators also were present in peanuts. In conclusion, peanuts do harbor populations of stink bug pests and their natural enemies in Georgia, and so the role peanuts play in the distribution and abundance of stink bugs throughout the agricultural landscape needs to be ascertained to better understand how to manage stink bug populations. This research contributes to National Program (NP) 304, Crop Protection and Quarantine. The goal of this NP is to provide technology to manage pest populations below economic damage thresholds by the integration of environmentally compatible strategies that are based on increased understanding of the biology and ecology of insect, mite, and weed pests (Component III-Plant, Pest, and Natural Enemy Interactions and Ecology; Component V-Pest Control Technologies).

4. Efficacy of various compounds for capturing southern green stink bugs on-farm--Because the southern green stink bug has increased in importance as a pest in cotton, a capture trap could possibly be a useful tool for monitoring and/or controlling populations of this pest in cotton. Therefore, tests were conducted to evaluate the ability of various compounds to attract southern green stink bugs into yellow pyramidal capture traps. The five treatments included.
1)methyl (E,E,Z)-2,4,6-decatrienoate plus methyl (E,Z)-2,4-decadienoate,.
2)methyl (E,E,Z)-2,4,6-decatrienoate,.
3)the brown stink bug pheromone,.
4)the southern green stink bug pheromone, and a control. The test was conducted at the interface of peanut-cotton farmscapes. Traps baited with the southern green stink bug pheromone captured more southern green stink bugs compared to the other treatments. Therefore, strategic placement of capture traps with this pheromone may be useful in managing these stink bugs on-farm. This research contributes to National Program (NP) 304, Crop Protection and Quarantine. The goal of this NP is to provide technology to manage pest populations below economic damage thresholds by the integration of environmentally compatible strategies that are based on increased understanding of the biology and ecology of insect, mite, and weed pests (Component III-Plant, Pest, and Natural Enemy Interactions and Ecology; Component V-Pest Control Technologies).

5. Impact of the biopesticide neem on a stink bug natural enemy--Neem and Tracer are two of the few insecticides currently certified for suppression of insect pests in organic crops. With the increase in organic production of agricultural crops, it is vital to understand the impact that Neem and Tracer have on the survival of natural enemies. The objective of this laboratory study was to determine the impact of these two insecticides on the stink bug natural enemy, the red-winged fly, when walking on, being sprayed with, and feeding on the insecticides. The insecticide Karate was used as a conventional crop production standard for control of lepidopterous pests. Neem was the only insecticide in which adults of the red-winged fly survived in each of the experiments. Tracer was as highly toxic to this natural enemy as Karate. These results suggest that Neem would probably be safer to the red-winged fly than Tracer in organically grown crops. This research contributes to National Program (NP) 304, Crop Protection and Quarantine. The goal of this NP is to provide technology to manage pest populations below economic damage thresholds by the integration of environmentally compatible strategies that are based on increased understanding of the biology and ecology of insect, mite, and weed pests (Component III-Plant, Pest, and Natural Enemy Interactions and Ecology; Component V-Pest Control Technologies).

6. Pest insects and natural enemies in transitional organic cotton--The demand for oganically grown crops has increased at about 20% per year for the last 10 years due to consumer concern over food safety and the environment. However, there is a 3-yr period for farmers to transition their land to organic production from conventional production, and throughout this period, only compounds certified for use in organic production can be used for management of insects. Consequently, the goal for this research was to determine the prospects for transitioning to a totally organic management system for cotton and peanuts, and this is a report on the insect pest problems encountered during this transition period for these crops in Georgia. Worms, including tobacco budworms and corn earworms, and stink bugs, particularly the southern green stink bug and brown stink bug, were the two major groups of insect pests in both cotton and peanuts. In cotton, big-eyed bugs and red imported fire ants were the most abundant predators, while in peanuts the big-eyed bug and spiders were the most abundant predators of pest insects. The biopesticide neem oil was used for control of heliothine larvae. Currently, a biopesticide is not available for control of stink bugs so the main insect management problem in organic production of these crops is stink bugs. Other bio-based strategies, or combination of strategies, will need to be developed for management of these pests in organically-produced crops. This research contributes to National Program (NP) 304, Crop Protection and Quarantine. The goal of this NP is to provide technology to manage pest populations below economic damage thresholds by the integration of environmentally compatible strategies that are based on increased understanding of the biology an ecology of insect, mite, and weed pests (Component III-Plant, Pest, and Natural Enemy Interactions and Ecology; Component V-Pest Control Technologies).


5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
None.


6.Technology Transfer

Number of Non-Peer Reviewed Presentations and Proceedings8
Number of Newspaper Articles and Other Presentations for Non-Science Audiences1
Number of Other Technology Transfer2

Review Publications
Olson, D., Andow, D. 2008. Patch edges and insect populations. Oecologia. 155:549-558.

Chen, Y., Ruberson, J.R., Olson, D.M. 2008. Nitrogen fertilization rate affects feeding, larval performance, and oviposition preference of the beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua, on cotton. Entomologia Experimentalis et Appalicata. 126:244-255.

Tillman, P.G. 2008. Populations of stink bugs (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) and their natural enemies in peanuts. Journal of Entomological Science. 43(2):191-207.

Nuessly, G.S., Scully, B.T., Hentz, M.G., Beiriger, R., Snook, M.E., Widstrom, N.W. 2007. Resistance to Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and Euxesta stigmatias (Diptera: Ulidiidae) in sweet corn derived from exogenous and endogenous genetic systems. J. Econ. Entomology. 100(6):1887-1895.

Wilson, S.B., Muller, K.L., Gersony, J.A., Scully, B.T. 2008. The linear garden: A unique, inexpensive, and effective way to facilitate plant identification and roadside beautification. HortTechnology. 18:318-319.

Last Modified: 4/19/2014
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