2012 Annual Report
2. Develop “push – pull” strategies for whitefly management that integrate plant-based pest repellents and natural enemy attractants.
3. Develop and refine control strategies for invasive species infesting non-traditional agricultural settings, in particular the Argentine cactus moth and Chinese tallow.
Push-pull strategies for the management of whiteflies will be developed. Certain plants and extracts from them will be tested in the field and lab to determine if they can repel whiteflies from target crops. Bioassays of other plants will be used to identify those that are good reservoirs for predators of whiteflies. Combinations of repellent plants and banker plants for predators will be studied to optimize push-pull strategies for whitefly management.
The sterile insect technique for management of invasive lepidopteran pests will be improved by development of bioassays that measure field performance of sterile moths. Lab bioassays will then be developed as proxy measures for field performance bioassays to gauge sterile insect performance. Existing pheromone trapping for monitoring cactus moth populations will be improved through calibrating captures with population size. Life table studies will be conducted in the cactus moth’s invaded range to identify stages most amenable for biological control. Additional biological control will be assessed by testing non target risks of Trichogramma pretiosum, a candidate for inundative releases. Population dynamic studies of Chinese tallow will be conducted to identify what types of biological control agents may have the greatest impact on the weed.
Objective 2: The ficus whitefly is an emerging pest of ornamental ficus in Florida. To better characterize the potential for biological control of the ficus whitefly, collaborative research with scientists from the University of Florida is being conducted with biological control agents already established in Florida. Predation rates of the coccinellid Delphastus catalinae on different stages of the ficus whitefly have been analyzed. Both adult and larvae of Delphastus preyed on substantially more ficus whitefly eggs than on small or large nymphs.
Objective 3: Significant progress was made to develop biological control strategies for the invasive Argentine cactus moth. In collaboration with Argentine scientists, a parasitic wasp is being studied for its host specificity and suitability as a classical biological control agent. A wasp colony is being maintained for future shipment to the U.S., and protocols have been developed for rearing the wasp and for testing non-target caterpillars as potential hosts. Host range testing on other Argentine cactus-feeding moth species has proven the wasp to be host specific. Morphological and molecular studies have determined that the wasp is new to science and a description of the species has been prepared. Once a permit is obtained to bring the wasp into USA quarantine, continued host range testing will be conducted on North American cactus-feeding moths. If continued research proves the wasp to be an effective biological control agent, it would represent a self-perpetuating control option and practical approach to protecting native prickly pear cactus in the desert Southwest and Mexico.
Manrique, V., Diaz, R., Hight, S.D., Overholt, W.A. 2011. Evaluation of mortality factors using life table analysis of Gratiana boliviana, a biological control agent of tropical soda apple in Florida. Biological Control. 59(3):354-360.
Paraiso, O., Hight, S.D., Kairo, M., Bloem, S., Carpenter, J.E., Reitz, S.R. 2012. Laboratory biological parameters of Trichogramma Fuentesi (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae), an egg parasitoid of Cactoblastis Cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Florida Entomologist. 95(1):1-7.
Reitz, S.R., Funderburk, J. 2012. Management strategies for western flower thrips and the role of insecticides. In: Perveen, F., editor. Insecticides-Pest Engineering. Rijeka, Croatia: InTech. p. 355-385.
Gao, Y., Reitz, S.R., Wang, J., Lei, Z. 2012. Potential of a strain of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana (Hypocreales: Cordycipitaceae) as a biological control agent against western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Biocontrol Science and Technology. 22:491-195.
Legaspi, J.C., Simmons, A.M., Legaspi, Jr., B.C. 2011. Evaluating mustard as a potential companion crop for collards to control the silverleaf whitefly, Bemisia argentifolii (Hemiptera:Aleyrodidae): outdoor and olfactometer experiments. Subtropical Plant Science. 63:36-44.
Kariuki, E.M., Hix, R.L., Reitz, S.R., Hight, S.D., Kairo, M. 2011. Tropical soda apple (Solanum viarum) mediated competition via induced resistance: Interaction between Gratiana boliviana, Spodoptera exigua and Frankliniella occidentalis. Florida Entomologist. 94(3):608-612.
Paraiso, O., Kairo, M., Hight, S.D., Leppla, N.C., Cuda, J.P., Owens, M., Olexa, M.T. 2013. Opportunities for improving risk communication during the permitting process for entomophagous biological control agents: a review of current systems. Biocontrol. 58(1):1-15.
Legaspi,J.C., Legaspi, Jr.,B.C. and Simmons, A.M. Recent research trends in the use of predators in biological control, pp. 95-122. In Rosas-Garcia, N.M. (ed.) Biological Control of Insect Pests, Studium Press, Houston, Texas. 2011. (Book Chapter)
Northfield, T.D., Paini, D.R., Reitz, S.R., Funderburk, J.E. 2011. Within plant interspecific competition does not limit the highly invasive thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis in Florida. Ecological Entomology. 36:181-187.
Gao, Y., Reitz, S.R., Wei, Q., Yu, W., Lei, Z. 2012. Insecticide-mediated apparent displacement between two invasive species of Leafminer fly. PLoS One. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36622.
Shirk, P.D., Shapiro, J.P., Reitz, S.R., Gruters Thomas, J.M., Koenig, R.L., Hay-Roe, M.M., Buss, L.J. 2012. Predator-Prey Relationships on Apiaceae at an Organic Farm. Journal of Environmental Entomology. 41(3):487-496.
Gao, Y., Lei, Z., Reitz, S.R. 2012. Western flower thrips resistance to insecticides: detection, mechanisms, and management strategies. Pest Management Science. DOI:10.1002/ps.3305.