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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

2011 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 project is related to inhouse 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.

Climate change is anticipated to alter the meteorological patterns and weather systems with potentially significant changes in the timing and direction of the migration of agriculturally important pest insects. Therefore, scientists with USDA-ARS CMAVE, USDA-ARS APMRU, and Penn State University have initiated studies to develop fall armyworm, which migrate throughout the U.S. from overwintering sites in Texas and Florida, as a model system to monitor the annual movements of migratory Lepidoptera. In the first three months of this project, analysis of the data gathered from previous studies on the movements of fall armyworm was completed. The information gathered was used to identify locations for a network of pheromone trap sites that will collect migratory populations. These locations include multiple sites in Alabama, Georgia, Texas, and the northeastern U.S. Collections from these sites are ongoing and being sent to USDA-ARS CMAVE for analysis. Molecular methods to analyze the specimens have been modified and optimized to allow efficient identification of the natal origins of the collected specimens. This information will be used to develop meteorological models to describe and predict the movements of fall armyworm.

Progress was monitored with meetings, telephone, and email correspondence.


Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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