BIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF INVASIVE PESTS OF ORCHARD AND VEGETABLE CROPS IN THE SUBTROPICAL SOUTH
Project Number: 6204-22000-024-00
Start Date: Apr 21, 2011
End Date: Jan 12, 2012
1. Develop an improved detection and monitoring system for the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) as part of an areawide management program.
1A. Characterize the odors emitted by citrus and other ACP host-plants.
1B. Optimize the attractiveness of scent lures to ACP.
1C. Evaluate the efficacy of scent attractants in orchards.
2. Develop biological control strategies for Asian citrus psyllid (and, as needed, other orchard pests such as glassy-winged sharpshooter), especially in organic citrus orchards and non-commerical citrus, using alternative host plants and augmentative methods based on food sprays and aromatic attractants.
2A. Characterize the identity and impact of natural enemy complexes on ACP in south Texas.
2B. Develop methods for using pathogenic fungi to suppress ACP.
2C. Determine the origin of ACP that invaded Texas in order to collect pre-adapted natural enemies.
2D. Genetically characterize geographic populations of Tamarixia radiata, a parasitoid of ACP, to provide accurate identifications, uncover genetic variation or new biotypes, identify new species, and define geographic origin(s).
3. Develop IPM and conservation control programs for key pests of subtropical vegetable crops, including the potato psyllid (vector of zebra chip disease in potatoes) and silverleaf whitefly in watermelons.
3A. Conduct a regional sampling plan for potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli, to determine its seasonal phenology and association with the putative pathogen of zebra chip disease, Candidatus Liberibacter psyllaurous.
3B. Determine how conventional and organic horticultural practices influence the seasonal phenology of the silverleaf whitefly, Bemisia tabaci, and its natural enemies in watermelons.
Host plant volatiles of ACP will be characterized and information used to develop scent attractant for ACP. The composition of naturally occuring predaceous arthropod communities and their impact on ACP will be determined. Means will be developed to conserve them and enhance their efficacy. Comparisons will be made between the impact on psyllids from mortality due to predaceous and parasitic arthropods. Molecular tools will be used to identify the classical biological control agents with the best potential for controlling ACP within a given region. An autodisseminator will be developed to promote the spread of pathogenic fungi in ACP populations and reduce their numbers from epizooics. The development of multiple tools to control ACP in backyard citrus will benefit the commerical citrus industry by reducing the numbers of potential vectors that can infect or reinfect orchard trees with HLB.