Location: Crop Bioprotection Research
2013 Annual Report
Additional laboratory bioassays to determine insect infection will be conducted at the University of California Desert Research and Extension Center near Holtville, CA. Treatments will be applied to adult Darkling Ground beetles in a completely randomized design with 40 replications. Forty beetles will be placed into individual sterilized glass vials with bait, granule, and Ma matt treatments. Treatments will be incubated in the dark at 25° C in a growth chamber. Insect mortality will be assessed on a daily basis. Spore production will be assayed to determine fungal reproduction on beetle hosts, by randomly selecting 5 beetles (out of 40) within each treatment for which there was spore production. Each beetle will be washed with 5 ml of sterile distilled water with 0.1% Triton X-100. Spore production will be determined by hemacytometers counts of dilute solutions. Spore viability will be detemined by plating on 2.5% Noble agar (Becton Dickinson Sparks, MD). Germination will be assessed at 24 h by microscopic observation for spores with germ tubes longer than half the size of the spores.
This non-funded cooperative agreement was established in 2011 with ARS Crop Bioprotection Research Unit scientists at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Peoria, Illinois, to evaluate Ma microsclerotia formulations for the control of Blapstinus beetles, a pest of melon production in the Southwest United States. This research project was extended in 2013 and directly supports the development of the Ma microsclerotia technology as a biological insecticide. Results of field experiments from 2012, which showed no differences among treatments due to low insect pressure, were reported to the California Melon Board in December. Currently, sample formulations based on laboratory research have been provided to cooperators at the University of California for evaluation under field application conditions. Data collections to evaluate crop protection by these treatments are underway for 2013 and preliminary evaluations indicate damaging pest pressure in the field experiment. In addition to these field evaluations, field collected and laboratory colony beetles will be assayed for susceptibility to treatments that are identical to field treatments.