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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research » Research » Research Project #429007

Research Project: Evolving and Integration of Management Plans for Major Taxonomic Groups and Potential New Invasive Pests of Ornamental and Floriculture Production

Location: Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research

Project Number: 6034-22320-006-001-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 17, 2018
End Date: Sep 16, 2023

1. We will continue to develop and improve our Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plans for all target pests through chemical control and impact on natural enemies as well as determine how new invasive exotic pests will factor into our current management plans. 2. Expand utility of the papaya banker plant system for a) predators (i.e., Delphastus pallidus) and determine compatibility with the whitefly parasitoid, b) open field deployment. 3. Identification of new banker plants for a) predators that feed on pollen, thrips and pest mites and b) biological control agents targeting mealybug pests. 4. Development of reliable barcodes for predatory mites used for biological control.

This is a collaborative project with University of Florida, which is focused on the development of evolving and integrated management plans for major taxonomic groups and potential new invasive pests of ornamental and floriculture production. Funding for this project will support research on management of whiteflies, mites, thrips, mealybugs and new invasive pests important to the ornamental and floriculture industry as well as molecular analyses of those pests and their biological control agents for identification and barcoding in support of the preceding and future research. We will continue to develop and improve our IPM plans for all target pests through chemical control and impact on natural enemies. We will continue whitefly barcoding including Bemisia tabaci biotyping for ornamental growers nationwide to determine MEAM1 (B), MED (Q) and NW (A) species composition and any invasive exotics that are discovered. The utility of the papaya banker plant system will be expanded for a new beetle predator (Delphastus pallidus) and its field implementation. The compatibility and interactions with the parasitoid will be investigated to determine if these two biological control agents can be utilized simultaneously on the same banker plant or in conjunction (each agent will have their own banker plant) in the same environment. Identification of potential candidate banker plants will be identified for thrips and pest mites for those predators that feed on pollen as well as banker plants that may be suitable for mealybug as the target pest. Commercial insectaries are adding new predators each year to their available products. Often, there is no independent data to support their efficacy claims or utility for managing pests attacking ornamental plants. Growers buy multiple species of these predators for release into their crops. Because most of these predators are very difficult to identify and taxonomists trained in their identification are limited, growers never know which species of predator is actually managing their pests. The proper identification of pests and biological control agents is the foundation for an efficient and economically sound Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. New tools are urgently needed to aid in the identification of predatory mites either released or naturally found in ornamental and floriculture production systems.