Submitted to: Sunflower International Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 20, 2012
Publication Date: February 27, 2012
Citation: Prasifka, J.R., Hulke, B.S. 2012. Current status and future perspectives on sunflower insect pests. In: 18th International Sunflower Conference Program and Abstracts, Mar del Plata & Barcarce, Argentina, February 27-March 1, 2012. P.41. Technical Abstract: While occasional insect pests of cultivated sunflowers may be managed by conventional or reduced-risk insecticides, the cumulative costs and risks of relying on insecticides to suppress perennial or severe pests (common in North America) call for exploration of broader pest management strategies. Recent research with the sunflower moth (Homoeosoma electellum [Pyralidae]) and banded sunflower moth (Cochylis hospes [Tortricidae]) in North America has focused on finding host plant resistance in Helianthus spp. and understanding the mechanisms of resistance. Two flies, the sunflower midge (Contarinia schulzi [Cecidomyiidae]) in North America, and sunflower head fly (or mosquita del capítulo, Melanagromyza minimoides [Agromyzidae]) in South America provide examples of severe pests which can be particularly problematic over limited areas of their geographic ranges; management of both fly species could benefit from additional research. Work with insect pests of sunflower in North America shows the increasing potential of using integrated pest management (IPM) tactics, particularly forms of host plant resistance (antibiosis, antixenosis, tolerance) often derived from interspecific hybrids or accessions of Helianthus annuus. Economic and other practical considerations may preclude significant use of transgenic insect-resistance (e.g., expressing toxins from Bacillus thuringiensis [Bt]), but because single traits native to Helianthus spp. do not appear capable of providing resistance equivalent to insecticides, two or more independent types of resistance should be combined whenever possible. With few scientists working on sunflower insects, a reasonable approach to address insect problems includes using (i) existing sunflower defensive traits (e.g., pericarp hardness, terpenoids, coumarins), (ii) interdisciplinary approaches for efficient screening and breeding, and (iii) international collaboration to test or transfer useful traits for insects that are related or share feeding behaviors.