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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGICALLY BASED PEST MANAGEMENT FOR FIELD AND GREENHOUSE CROPS Title: Development of an inundative, aerial release technique for the Arundo wasp, biological control agent of the invasive Arundo donax L.

Authors
item Racelis, Alexis
item Goolsby, John
item Penk, R -
item Jones, K -
item Roland, T -

Submitted to: Southwestern Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 10, 2010
Publication Date: October 25, 2010
Repository URL: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.3958/059.035.0401
Citation: Racelis, A.E., Goolsby, J., Penk, R., Jones, K., Roland, T.J. 2010. Development of an inundative, aerial release technique for the Arundo wasp, biological control agent of the invasive Arundo donax L. Southwestern Entomologist. 35(4):495-501.

Interpretive Summary: This paper reports on a system that has been developed by the USDA for the mass release of the arundo wasp, a biological control agent of Arundo donax. Also known as giant reed, A. donax is a highly invasive woody grass that grows in dense stands of up to 30 ft in height, overcrowding native species along waterways and riparian areas of the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico. Since giant reed infests lengthy stretches of remote areas inaccessible by vehicle, a release system via aircraft may be the best way to disseminate biological control agents. The release system involves a paper box that can be easily loaded with chilled, immobile insects. The box opens upon contact with blades installed on a chute in the floor of the airplane. Preliminary tests in the field demonstrated the overall success of the release system. All boxes recovered were successfully opened by the release chute, and emergence rates of insects were high and insect mortality rates were low. Thus, the box aerial release system (BARS) is an appropriate and effective method for release of biological control agents, especially at the early stages of an inundative biological control program.

Technical Abstract: A box aerial release system (BARS) has been developed for the mass release of Tetramesa romana Walker, a biological control agent of Arundo donax, an invasive weed of waterways and riparian areas in the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico. Since A. donax infests lengthy stretches of remote areas inaccessible by vehicle, an aerial release system may be the best way to disseminate biological control agents. The release system involves a paper box that can be easily loaded with chilled, immobile insects. The box opens upon contact with blades installed on a chute in the floor of the airplane. Preliminary tests in the field demonstrated the effectiveness of this system. All boxes recovered after test releases were successfully opened by the release chutes. Post-release emergence rates of insects were high and insect mortality rates were low, especially at moderate ambient temperatures (20-25'C). The BARS proves to be an appropriate method for release, especially at the early stages of an inundative biological control program for A. donax.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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