Location: Beneficial Insects Introduction Research
2012 Annual Report
We continued a 7-year survey for native natural enemies attacking BMSB on trees and shrubs in the mid-Atlantic states. Trends in native natural enemy impact have not changed over the course of the study and continue to show very low levels of parasitism in this environment. No new native parasitoid species were identified that had not already been seen in previous years’ surveys.
Foreign exploration in Asia has already resulted in the discovery of several candidate species of BMSB natural enemies that are now maintained in laboratory cultures at our Newark ARS laboratory, where they are being evaluated to determine their efficacy and host range under quarantine rearing conditions. During August 2012 the PI visited Korea and Japan to meet stink bug researchers in these countries and collect additional BMSB parasitoids. Natural enemy host range evaluations were continued by testing a representative group of non-target species. We are also rearing several native BMSB parasitoid species here in Newark for comparative studies of the efficacy of exotic and native parasitoid species and their potential interactions (interference competition, etc.).
To conclusively identify the Asian BMSB parasitoids, we initiated research in collaboration with the ARS European Biological Control Laboratory to develop molecular “barcode” primers that will help to determine the number of different species and identify the presence of cryptic species, and with the ARS Systematic Entomology Laboratory to make necessary taxonomic revisions of the genus Trissolcus, to which these species belong. We also worked with the Systematic Entomology Laboratory and the Oregon State Department of Agriculture Imaging Laboratory to obtain high-resolution photographs to illustrate morphological characters useful for species identifications. Reliable identifications help us to ensure the purity of our research rearing cultures and will be required for eventual petitions for field release of candidate biological control agents. Our outreach activities for this agreement include (1) development of protocols for field surveys to measure the occurrence of, and impact of, parasitism for use by researchers at other locations, provision of laboratory cultures and rearing techniques and protocols to other researchers to start their own research colonies of BMSB and natural enemies, and (3) assistance in identifying the species of natural enemies that attack BMSB, especially parasitoid wasps. During spring of 2012 we sponsored a workshop in Newark for project cooperators on the identification of BMSB parasitoids. Twenty-four researchers and graduate students from across North America attended. They received identification keys for natural enemies and practiced making identifications using unknown specimens. Participants thought the workshop was useful, and there is considerable interest in repeating the workshop at a later date to accommodate those who were not able to attend this one. Information presented at the workshop will also be posted on the NE IPM BMSB website.