Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Research Project #427622

Research Project: Innovative Technologies to Control Invasive Species that Impact Livestock

Location:

Project Number: 3094-32000-037-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Oct 1, 2014
End Date: Sep 30, 2019

Objective:
Objective 1: Develop biological control agents against the pathogenic landscape created by Arundo donax, and measure impact on invasive ticks. Subobjective 1A. Investigate the biology and host range of the arundo leafminer under quarantine conditions as a candidate biological control agent for release in the CFT PQZ. Subobjective 1B. Determine if biological control agents mitigate negative impact of Arundo donax on operations by the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program by increasing visibility within the PQZ. Subobjective 1C. Investigate other benefits of biological control intervention, including decreased habitat suitable for CFT larvae, and use these measurements to predict effects of climate change. Objective 2: Innovate technologies to mitigate the negative impact of ecological interactions between invasive species. Subobjective 2A. Investigate role of ants and ground-dwelling predator beetles on the survival of CFT and biological control agents in the PQZ affected by A. donax. Objective 3: Develop biological control against livestock pests. Subobjective 3A. Conduct foreign exploration in the native ranges of CFT to search for tick-specific biological control agents. Objective 4: Assess the effects of global climate change on effectiveness of livestock pest control in south Texas and northern Mexico. Subobjective 4A. Investigate the potential for climate change to alter the viability of CFT larvae in the PQZ.

Approach:
Develop biological control agents against giant reed including testing of the leaf-feeding arundo leafminer, for release in the PQZ; determine if the leafminer, and two other agents that have already been released, can mitigate negative impact of giant reed on operations by the CFT Eradication Program by increasing visibility within the PQZ and investigate other benefits, including reduction of habitat suitable for CFT larvae; investigate the role of ants and ground-dwelling predator beetles on the survival of CFT in the PQZ in areas with and without giant reed; conduct foreign exploration in the native ranges of CFT to search for tick-specific parasitic insects and nematodes, and evaluate their potential as biological control agents to directly target CFT; assess the effects of global climate change on livestock pest control in south Texas by conducting field ecological studies in CFT infested pastures at the CFTRL; conduct field studies to investigate the effects of increased summer rainfall to determine its impact on exotic African range grasses and giant reed and their effect on CFT survival.