DISCOVERY, BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY OF NATURAL ENEMIES OF INSECT PESTS OF CROP AND URBAN AND NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS
Project Number: 0212-22000-024-00
Start Date: Nov 24, 2010
End Date: Nov 23, 2015
Objective 1: Explore for natural enemies of insect pests (e.g., olive fruit fly, Lygus bugs), and wood borers (e.g., longhorned beetles and emerald ash borers) and other pests as identified as high priority targets by the ARS Office of National Programs.
• Sub-objective 1A - Discovery and collection of potential biological control agents for service to other laboratories that provide further development of the natural enemies.
• Sub-objective 1B - Quantitative measurements and observations that lead to new documentation on biology of potential biological control agents and their hosts.
• Sub-objective 1C - Genetic studies that enhance the chance of success with new biological control agents.
Objective 2: Identify, colonize and evaluate the most promising natural enemies and ship them to U.S. cooperators. Results of laboratory (including genetics and behavior) and field studies will be used to improve the ability to predict key factors for application to future programs.
• Sub-objective 2A – Identification, colonization, and evaluation of efficacy of biological control agents.
• Sub-objective 2B – Documentation of life table parameters and biological characteristics.
• Sub-objective 2C – Genetic parameters as predictors of successful biological control.
Biological control through the introduction of natural enemies continues to be one of the most effective, cheap, and environmentally safe solutions to problems created by introduced pests and invasive species. We propose to take advantage of the experienced staff, biologically strategic location, and excellent facilities of the European Biological Control Laboratory in Montpellier, France, and its satellite laboratory in Thessaloniki, Greece, to discover potential biological control agents, characterize them genetically, evaluate their efficacy, and describe relevant aspects of their bionomics. Scientific output from these efforts will include taxonomic, genetic, and biological descriptions of important species in the Palearctic and Ethiopian regions. The target species of these efforts will include the olive fruit fly, vine mealybug, the European grapevine moth, the diamondback moth, the olive psyllid, Lygus bugs, and Asian longhorned beetle. In addition, we will use model species (the southern green stink bug and the tarnished plant bug) to test the hypothesis that the success of parasitoid wasps as biological control agents can be predicted by examining genetic parameters.