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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

2007 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The goal of this project is to develop improved strategies for control of arthropod pests attacking pecan and peach. Strategies will be employed to suppress key insect and mite pests using economically and ecologically sound methods that result in sustainable management systems and increased profitability.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Research to control arthropod pests involves development of IPM programs. Biological control efforts focus on developing entomopathogens (e.g., nematodes and fungi) to suppress pecan weevil and peachtree borer. A multifaceted improvement program is being employed to enhance entomopathogenic nematode and fungus efficacy and persistence; the program includes survey and genetic enhancement of strains, improved formulations, refinement of application, mass production, and conservation methods, and pertinent basic studies e.g., on beneficial trait stability. Other research on improved pest management focuses on efficacy of chemical insecticides applied to target-specific areas, soft chemistry and plant derived pesticide alternatives, and physical barriers to protect the crop. IPM and monitoring efforts focus on stink bug movement across agricultural landscapes. Additionally, emergence/post-emergence behavior of adult and larval pecan weevils will be studied to better time application of control measures. Research efforts on pecan focus on control of pecan weevil, aphids, and stink bugs, but may also include efforts to control hickory shuckworm, pecan nut casebearer, and other pest complexes. Research efforts on peach focus on development of control of strategies for sesiid borers using mating disruption and entomopathogenic nematodes; IPM for plum curculio management; and impact of root-feeding weevils.

Beneficial nematodes for control of the peachtree borer: The peachtree borer is a major pest of stone fruits such a peach and plum. Safe and effective methods of controlling this pest are of interest. Beneficial insect-killing nematodes are safe environmentally friendly natural insecticides. ARS scientists from the Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Lab, Byron, Georgia, in cooperation with colleagues at the University of Georgia and University of Florida have discovered that a certain species of beneficial nematodes is capable of providing high levels of peachtree borer control. In field trials the nematodes produced 88% to 100% suppression of peachtree borer damage. The technology has potential to be incorporated into orchard pest management programs. This accomplishment addresses National Program 304 Component V (Pest Control Technologies), and addresses the problem of identifying and testing potential biological control agents for established and emerging insect and mite pests.

Elucidating infection decisions in beneficial nematodes: Beneficial insect-killing nematodes are safe environmentally friendly natural insecticides. To maximize pest control efficacy, it is important to understand the basic biology of these nematodes. ARS scientists from the Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Lab, Byron, Georgia, in cooperation with ARS scientists in Manhattan, Kansas, and the University of California, Davis, have been investigating the basis for nematode infection decisions, i.e., what prompts a nematode to infect. In research partially supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the researchers found that certain chemical cues from the insect (such as exudates released during initial infection) tell other nematodes if it is a good time to infect or not. Identification of factors that affect nematode infection dynamics leads to enhanced insect suppression. This accomplishment addresses National Program 304 Component II (Biology of Pests and Natural Enemies [Microbes]), and addresses the problem of increasing knowledge of basic biology of natural enemies.

Biological control of pecan aphids with green lacewings: Pecan foliage is attacked by three species of aphids resulting in damage that can reduce tree nut yield. We found that green lacewings laid more eggs on pecan foliage infested with the blackmargined aphid than on foliage infested with the black pecan aphid even though larval development of the green lacewing was unaffected when feeding on any of the three aphid species. At least one attractant/food spray treatment applied to trees in an orchard significantly increased green lacewing oviposition on pecan foliage in an orchard. Our results show that green lacewing larvae will consume all aphid species attacking pecan even though female oviposition response can differ for aphid species. It is likely that combinations of attractants and food sprays can be used to enhance green lacewing populations in orchards. This accomplishment addresses National Program 304 Component V (Pest Control Technologies), and addresses the problem of identifying and testing potential biological control agents for established and emerging insect and mite pests.

5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
More than 33% of commercial pecan acreage is managed on small farms (< $250,000). Pest management research activities, such as biological control studies, that are conducted by ARS scientists at the Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Lab, Byron, Georgia, may be of substantial benefit to growers on small farms with limited resources.

6.Technology Transfer

Number of active CRADAs and MTAs2
Number of invention disclosures submitted1
Number of patent applications filed1
Number of U.S. patents granted1
Number of non-peer reviewed presentations and proceedings12
Number of newspaper articles and other presentations for non-science audiences8

Review Publications
Bilgrami, A.L., Gaugler, R., Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Adams, B. 2006. Source of trait deterioration in entomopathogenic nematodes heterorhabditis bacteriophora and steinernema carpocapsae during in vivo culture. Nematology. 8:397-409

Christen, J.M., Campbell, J.F., Lewis, E.E., Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Ramaswamy, S.B. 2007. Responses of the entomopathogenic nematode, Steinernema riobrave, to its insect hosts, Galleria mellonella and Tenebrio molitor. Parasitology 134:889-898.

Jenkins, D.A., Shapiro Ilan, D., Goenaga, R. 2007. Virulence of entomopathogenic nematodes against Diaprepes abbreviatus in an oxisol. Florida Entomologist. 90(2):401-403

Kunkel, B.A., Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Campbell, J.F., Lewis, E.E. 2006. Effect of Steinernema glaseri-infected host exudates on movement of conspecific infective juveniles. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology. 93:42-49.

Nguyen, K.B., Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Fuxa, J.R., Wood, B.W., Bertolotti, M.A., Adams, B.J. 2006. Taxonomic and biological characterization of Steinernema rarum found in the Southeastern United States. Journal of Nematology. 38:28-40.

Wang, Y., Bilgrami, A.L., Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Gaugler, R. 2007. Stability of entomopathogenic bacteria, Xenorhabdus nematophila and Photorhabdus luminescens, during in vitro culture. Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. 34:73-81.

Ramos-Rodriguez, O., Campbell, J.F., Christen, J.M., Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Lewis, E.E., Ramaswamy, S.B. 2007. Attraction behavior of three entomopathogenic nematode species towards infected and uninfected hosts. Parasitology 134: 729-738.

Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Nyczepir, A.P., Lewis, E.E. 2006. Entomopathogenic nematodes and bacteria applications for control of the pecan root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne partityla, in the greenhouse. Journal of Nematology. 38:449-454.

Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Stuart, R.J., Mccoy, C.W. 2006. A comparison of entomopathogenic nematode longevity in soil under laboratory conditions. Journal of Nematology. 38:119-129.

Brown, I.M., Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Gaugler, R.R. 2006. Entomopathogenic nematode infectivity enhancement using physical and chemical stressors. Biological Control. 39:147-153.

Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Cottrell, T.E., Brown, I., Gardner, W.A., Hubbard, R.K., Wood, B.W. 2006. Effect of soil moisture and a surfactant on entomopathogenic nematode suppression of the pecan weevil, Curculio caryae. Journal of Nematology. 38:474-482.

Jenkins, D.A., Russ, M. Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Cottrell, T.E., Horton, D. 2006. Invertebrate predators and parasitoids of plum curculio, conotrachelus nenuphar (herbst) (coleoptera: curculionidae) in Georgia and Florida. Florida Entomologist. Volume 89(4):435-440.

Cottrell, T.E. 2007. Predation by adult and larval lady beetles (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) on initial contact with lady beetle eggs. Environmental Entomology. 36(2):390-401.

Kunkel, B.A., Cottrell, T.E. 2007. Oviposition response of green lacewings (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) to aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae) and potential attractants on pecan. Environmental Entomology. 36(3):577-583.

Last Modified: 8/27/2015
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