Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research2012 Annual Report
1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
To characterize crop and weed hosts, and insect vectors of Groundnut ringspot virus to facilitate development of better management options for this newly emerging virus infecting Florida fresh-market vegetables including tomato and pepper.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Florida is home to a number of invasive and native thrips species (at least eight) that have been implicated in the transmission of other viruses related to Groundnut Ringspot Virus (GRSV). It is unknown which other thrips species are capable of transmitting GRSV. Therefore, locally important thrips species will be analyzed and compared for their ability to transmit the GRSV. The nucleic acid-based diagnostic test for Groundnut ringspot virus previously developed by ARS Scientists will be used to analyze natural and/or experimental plant hosts (crops and weeds) for this virus to develop a host range for the virus. The information generated from this research will be useful to fresh-market vegetable growers, the specialty crop industry, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, private crop consultants and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) to guide development of management strategies for this newly emerging virus.
3. Progress Report:
Research conducted under this project relates to inhouse project objective 1 of the parent project to better understand the interactions among polyphagous pest thrips, the viruses that they vector and their host plants. Recently, Groundnut Ringspot Virus (GRSV) was identified as an emerging threat affecting Florida specialty crops. GRSV is transmitted exclusively by thrip, and Florida is home to a number of invasive and native thrips species (at least eight) that have been implicated in the transmission of other viruses related to GRSV. It is unknown which other thrips species are capable of transmitting GRSV. Therefore, ARS scientists with the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Tallahassee, FL, the US Horticultural Research Laboratory, Ft. Pierce, and University of Florida and private industry collaborators have continued research to determine thrips vectors of GRSV and the host range of the virus in Florida agroecosystems. Under Objective 1, initial experiments were conducted to determine the suitability of a range of plants as trap crops or as reservoirs of natural enemies of western flower thrips. Results have shown that lupine and Bidens alba host large numbers of competitor thrips of western flower thrips. Field trials utilizing these plants were established in 2011-2012 to determine if their planting in proximity to tomato, pepper and cucumber cash crops would reduce the abundance of western flower thrips and tomato spotted wilt.