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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Promoting Sustainable Biological Control of the Soybean Aphid by Studying the Effect of Biodiversity on the Parasitoid Aphelinus Glycinis

Location: Beneficial Insects Introduction Research

Project Number: 1926-22000-024-17
Project Type: Reimbursable

Start Date: Oct 01, 2013
End Date: Sep 30, 2016

Objective:
1) Determine if biodiversity adjacent to soybean fields improves establishment of A. glycinis; 2) Quantify the biological control impact that A. glycinis has on soybean aphid populations; 3) Delineate how diversity-provided resources, such as nectar, are utilized by A. glycinis; 4) Collaborate with growers to conduct on-farm field releases of A. glycinis on organic farms.

Approach:
Objs. 1-3 will be conducted in experimental soybean fields that include various bioenergy crop treatments: willow, prairie polyculture, alley (willows plus prairie), and control plots nested with 10-acre soybean fields in southeastern Minnesota. To achieve Obj. 1, A. glycinis will be reared in the laboratory and released during the summer of 2014. The abundance of adult parasitoids and parasitized aphids will be monitored throughout the growing season and over-wintering success will be monitored the following summer. For Obj. 2, the biological control impact of A. glycinis on soybean aphids will be quantified following the parasitoid releases using standard methods, such as field cages. Obj. 3 will be completed by conducting biochemical tests on field-collected adult parasitoids to screen for the presence of sugars in the insects’ gut and hemolymph. Finally, Obj. 4 will be conducted during the summers of 2015 and 2016 by working in partnership with organic growers to identify cropping schemes and select on-farm release sites that will maximize natural enemy establishment based on the results from Objs. 1-3. Success of establishment and biological control of soybean aphids will also be monitored on organic farms following A. glycinis releases.

Last Modified: 7/30/2014
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