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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Predictive Modeling & Mitigation of Effects of Climate Change on Migration & Infestation Patterns of Semitropical/tropical Crop Pest Insects

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
1. Establish a network of pest monitoring and collection sites in the southeastern U.S. 2. Map seasonal migration of S. frugiperda from the FL and TX overwintering areas into the central and eastern U.S. 3. Adapt and test models correlating migration and weather patterns to identify areas susceptible to increased infestation due to climate change. 4. Identify plant cultivars and develop control strategies to preempt or mitigate the anticipated expansion of S. frugiperda infestation into these susceptible areas.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
1. Pheromone trapping and larval collections by a network of volunteer and cooperative agents. Monitoring information will be made available on the internet via PestWatch (Penn State). 2. Mapping of migration pathways by a novel haplotype analysis technique. 3. Modeling derived using General Circulation Model output and HYSPLIT atmospheric dispersion model predictions. 4. Mitigation efforts will focus on the adaptation of feeding attractant-based techniques currently being tested on the Noctuid pest Helicoverpa zea for use on S. frugiperda.


3.Progress Report:

This research relates directly to Objective 3. Biological control: Develop strategies for use of parasitoids and predators in IPM of insect pests through behavioral, ecological and physiological studies of their feeding, mating,dispersal and oviposition: Specifically target conservation biological control on overwintering reservoirs of migratory fall army worm and other pests; develop thelytokous strains of fruit fly parasitoids for augmentative biological control, and develop Asian citrus psyllid diets that will facilitate the mass-production of hosts for mass-rearing parasitoids for augmentative parasitoid releases and other forms of biologically-based control; and develop predictive models of pest migration that incorporate climate-change and facilitate the targeting of vulnerable populations.

Surveys and collections of fall armyworm from central and eastern U.S. and Canada to be used for the haplotype analysis of fall armyworm subpopulations were completed for the second year of the project. Preliminary studies on sunn hemp and cowpeas as cover crops were completed and data used to modify/optimize future field experiments. Products and sevices developed this included: (1) Continued expansion of the online PestWatch database (http://www.pestwatch.psu.edu/) in U.S. and Canada; (2) Continued collaborations with a seed producer specializing in ground cover plants (Richard Petcher) and two University of Florida researchers (Dr. G. Nuessley, Dr. D. Wright) on sunn hemp cover crop studies. Expansion of the network of cooperators participating in the fall armyworm migration study to allow weekly monitoring throughout the U.S. and 36 sites in Canada. Second year of national fall armyworm surveys provided data for the multi-year mapping of annual migration patterns.


Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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