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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics


Location: Fruit and Nut Research

2012 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
1. Develop alternative control strategies for the pecan weevil: (1.1) Determine the efficacy of biocontrol agents such as entomopathogenic nematodes (Steinernema and Heterorhabditis spp.) and entomopathogenic fungi (Hypocreales), and (1.2) investigate the basic biology and ecology of these agents to enhance efficacy. (1.3) Investigate improved methods of production, formulation, and delivery of these biological control agents, and integrate optimum biocontrol tactics with other management strategies. 2: Develop alternative control strategies for black pecan aphids through (2.1) assessment of pecan susceptibility (foliar damage ratings, aphid development, and aphid mortality), (2.2) use of plant growth regulators, and (2.3) microbial control agents including Beauveria, Isaria or Metarhizium spp. 3: Develop alternative control strategies for key peach pests (plum curculio, peachtree borers, and stink bugs) via (3.1) reduced-risk insecticides (such as thiamethoxam, flonicamid, and novaluron), (3.2) mating disruption, and (3.3) entomopathogenic nematodes.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Suppression of pecan weevil will focus on developing microbial control tactics including multi-stage entomopathogen applications, enhanced entomopathogen persistence through the use of cover crops, and synergism via combinations of entomopathogens and chemical insecticides. Additionally, pertinent basic studies on entomopathogens will be addressed. Management strategies for the black pecan aphid will use a long term approach to screen pecan for low aphid susceptibility (for use in pecan breeding), whereas, a short term approach will use plant growth regulators and microbial control. Suppression of key peach pests via reduced-risk insecticides, mating disruption, and entomopathogenic nematodes will be examined.

3. Progress Report:
Novel strategies for controlling a key pecan pest, pecan weevil, with microbial control agents were investigated as were new methods of applying beneficial fungi (e.g., with a compost amendment) and suppression using a bacteria-based bio-insecticide. Additionally, experiments measured the efficacy of entomopathogenic nematodes in suppressing key peach pests (e.g., plum curculio) and the most virulent agents were defined. These biocontrol approaches are promising for use against pecan weevil as well as key peach pests; grower adoption of the tactics has been initiated and has potential for expansion. Furthermore, fundamental research was conducted to explore dispersal mechanisms in beneficial nematode host-finding behavior, and stabilization of beneficial biocontrol traits. Novel methods of insect host and beneficial nematode production were investigated resulting in an issued patent on a mechanized insect separation system; the insects are used for mass production of nematode biopesticides. Continued research progress was made screening pecan germplasm for resistance to the black pecan aphid along with determining that plant growth regulators, used against the black pecan aphid, have no appreciable impact on the subsequent year’s return bloom of pecan. Insecticide assays identified compounds that show activity against both stink bugs and plum curculio. Further research regarding mating disruption for management of the lesser peach tree borer shows potential for managing this serious peach pest without insecticides.

4. Accomplishments

Review Publications
Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Bruck, D.J., Lacey, L.A. 2012. Principles of epizootiology and microbial control. In: Vega, F., Kaya, H.K., editors. Insect Pathology. 2nd edition. San Diego, CA:Elsevier. 29-72.

Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Campbell, J.F., Lewis, E.E., Kim-Shapiro, D.B. 2012. Directional movement of entomopathogenic nematodes in response to electrical fields: Effects of species, magnitude of voltage, and infective juvenile age. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology. 109:34-40.

Garcia, J., Jenkins, D.A., Chavarria, J.A., Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Goenaga, R.J. 2011. Interactions of a Rhabditis sp. on the virulence of Heterorhabditis and Steinernema in Puerto Rico. Florida Entomologist. 94(3):704-705.

Morales Ramos, J.A., Rojas, M.G., Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Tedders, W.L. 2011. Self-selection of two diet components by Tennebrio molitor (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) larvae and its impact on fitness. Environmental Entomology. 40(50): 1285-1294.

Cottrell, T.E., Beckman, T.G., Horton, D.L. 2012. Lesser peachtree borer (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae) oviposition on Prunus germplasm. Environmental Entomology. 40(6):1465-1470.

Morales Ramos, J.A., Rojas, M.G., Kay, S., Tedders, W., Shapiro Ilan, D.I. 2012. Impact of adult weight, density, and age on reproduction of Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Journal of Entomological Science. 47:208-220.

Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Gardner, W. 2012. Improved control of Curculio caryae (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) through multi-stage pre-emergence applications of Steinernema carpocapsae. Journal of Entomological Science. 47:27-34.

Ni, X., Wilson, J.P., Buntin, G., Guo, B., Krakowsky, M.D., Lee, R., Cottrell, T.E., Scully, B.T., Huffaker, A., Schmelz, E.A. 2011. Spatial patterns of aflatoxin levels in relation to ear-feeding insect damage in pre-harvest corn. Toxins. 3(7):920-931.

Cottrell, T.E., Riddick, E.W. 2012. Limited transmission of the ectoparasitic fungus Hesperomyces virescens between lady beetles. Psyche. 2012(814378):7.

Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Gardner, W., Wells, L., Wood, B.W. 2012. Cumulative impact of a clover cover crop on the persistance and efficancy of Beauveria bassiana in suppressing the pecan weevil (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Environmental Entomology. 41:298-307.

Tillman, P.G., Cottrell, T.E. 2012. Case Study: Trap crop with pheromone traps for suppressing Euschistus servus (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) in cotton.. Psyche. doi:10.1155/2012/401703.

Tillman, P.G., Cottrell, T.E. 2012. Incorporating a sorghum habitat for enhancing lady beetles (Coleoptera:Coccinellidae) in cotton. Psyche. DOI: 10.1155/2012/150418.

Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Leskey, T.C., Wright, S.E. 2012. Virulence of entomopathogenic nematodes to plum curculio, Contrachelus nenuphar: Effects of strain, temperature, and soil type. Journal of Nematology. 43:187-195.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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