BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY OF COTTON PESTS EMPHASIZING MANAGEMENT OF BOLL WEEVILS
Project Number: 6204-22000-020-00
Start Date: Oct 01, 2005
End Date: Sep 30, 2010
Characterize aspects of boll weevil biology, ecology, and ethology that affect population dynamics with the aim of enhancing control. Establish properties of grandlure dosage, presentation, formulation, and environmental interaction as they relate to detection of boll weevils. Develop effective alternative strategies and techniques for suppressing and managing boll weevil populations, both on areawide and local scales, including special situations such as environmentally sensitive areas and organic farms. Establish the biology, ecology, behavior, and population dynamics of secondary and emergent arthropod pests, and develop strategies for their effective management.
Patterns of boll weevil dispersal between cotton fields and overwintering habitats will be established using large-capacity traps, and identification of weevils marked with rare earth elements or contaminated with pollen. The boll weevil's utilization of host plants, attractive host plant stages, and nutritional host plant value will be identified using pollen analysis and HPLC analysis of amino acids. Lethal doses and sublethal effects of malathion to boll weevils will be quantified by laboratory bioassays and assessed relative to weevil age, sex, reproductive development, and physiological condition. Temporal patterns and flight response of boll weevils captured in traps baited with standard and "super" formulations of grandlure will be established. Environmental impacts on pheromone release rates and lure longevity will be quantified using meteorological sensors and gas chromatography. Alternative boll weevil control tactics including bioactive and physical agents will be developed for integration into suppression and eradication strategies, including implementation in environmentally sensitive areas and on organic farms. Mechanical and chemical cotton stalk destruction and regrowth control strategies will be evaluated using remote sensing. Changes in the population dynamics of secondary and emergent pests during active boll weevil eradication will be established. Bioactive or physical agents will be evaluated as alternatives to conventional insecticides for management of secondary and emergent arthropod pests in cotton. The impact of Bt cotton production on the boll weevil eradication activities will be determined in field evaluations of secondary and emergent pest and beneficial insect populations.