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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Ecology, Genomics, and Management of Stored Product Insects

Location: Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research

Project Number: 3020-43000-032-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: May 3, 2011
End Date: May 2, 2016

Objective 1: Improve and develop new monitoring strategies for stored-product insects, and improve methods for interpretation of monitoring information to aid in pest management decision making. Sub-objective 1.1: Determine relationships between outside trap captures and movement into and out of storage structures. Sub-objective 1.2: Develop and improve pheromone-based monitoring programs for stored-product insects. Objective 2: Improve and develop decision-making tools for management of stored-product insect pests. Sub-objective 2.1: Develop simulation models for insect pests of stored commodities. Sub-objective 2.2: Develop models to estimate risk of grain damage based on sampling data for insects. Objective 3: Characterize the biology of and develop management strategies for new insect pests of stored products. Sub-objective 3.1: Evaluate and develop potential attractants for stored- product psocids. Sub-objective 3.2: Evaluate response of psocid pests of stored products to temperature, moisture, and dockage gradients. Sub-objective 3.3: Determine optimal conditions for rearing hide beetles. Objective 4: Improve control strategies for insect pests of conventional and organic stored commodities, including insecticides, microbial agents, natural enemies, and physical control such as aeration and heat. Sub-objective 4.1: Assess new insecticides, microbial agents and natural enemies to control insects in stored products. Sub-objective 4.2: Develop physical methods to control insect pests of stored products. Objective 5: Identify potential genomic and proteomic targets in stored-product insect pests that can be exploited for control. Sub-objective 5.1: Obtain genetic information from stored-product insects and perform insect- and tissue-specific functional genomics and proteomics profiling to identify new potential control targets. Sub-objective 5.2: Exploit the Tribolium genome sequence to identify new control strategies for coleopteran stored-product pests. Objective 6: Improve the efficacy of alternatives to methyl bromide fumigation for management of stored-product insects in mills by 1) evaluating the efficacy of fumigation and alternative treatments in commercial food facilities and by identifying potential causes of variation, 2) determining the efficacy of high temperature treatments against stored product insects and evaluating methods to enhance susceptibility to heat, and 3) identifying factors that enhance the efficacy and spatial distribution of aerosol insecticides.

This project is one of two projects within the ARS that focuses on stored product insect pests of raw grain, milling and processing facilities, and grain-based finished food products. The overall goal of the project is to refine and improve management of these pests and mitigate product loss through an approach that emphasizes cooperative research among several sub-disciplines of stored-product entomology. Research will focus on improving insect detection and monitoring, increasing efficiency of pest management strategies, improving our knowledge of pest biology, and using genomics to discover totally new ways to control these pests. Much of the research is applicable to organic, as well as conventional, commodities, and some of the research deals with new pests of stored products (often referred to as emerging pests). Specific knowledge gaps being addressed are a need: to determine how resident insect populations impact pest management; for better insect attractants for monitoring pest populations; for computer models to aid in decision making for pest management; to determine environmental conditions that attract insects to commodities; to assess new insecticides for insect control; to optimize grain cooling and commodity freezing for insect control; and to identify vital genes that can be targeted for insect control. This project builds upon the results from three previous projects, and the expected benefits of this new project will enhance management of stored-product insects and ensure the quality and safety of the U.S. grain supply and grain-based finished food products.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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