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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Insect Control and Cotton Disease Research » Research » Research Project #429320

Research Project: Detection and Biologically Based Management of Row Crop Pests Concurrent with Boll Weevil Eradication

Location: Insect Control and Cotton Disease Research

Project Number: 3091-22000-033-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jul 23, 2015
End Date: Jul 22, 2020

Objective 1: Develop novel detection technologies for the stink bug complex, Lepidoptera, boll weevil, and their associated host plants. (NP304, Component 3, Problem Statement 3A1 and Problem Statement 3B1). Subobjective 1A: Enhance airborne remote sensing techniques to detect host plants. Subobjective 1B: Improve attraction and increase duration of attractiveness of insect pheromone lures. Subobjective 1C: Improve detection of pest insect populations in response to climate change. Objective 2: Develop knowledge of insect-pathogen interactions and critical life functions of piercing-sucking insects to regulate and disrupt these processes. (NP304, Component 3, Problem Statement 3A2 and Problem Statement 3B2). Subobjective 2A: Identify hemipterans that act as pathogen reservoirs and assess potential for transmission of pathogens. Subobjective 2B: Determine the propensity for individual infected insects to inoculate multiple bolls. Subobjective 2C: Ascertain the retention time of pathogenic organisms within the digestive tract of hemipterans. Objective 3: Develop pest management strategies and delivery systems, such as neuropeptide mimic-based systems, that disrupt critical life processes of insects including stink bugs, Lepidoptera, and boll weevils. (NP304, Component 3, Problem Statement 3A2 and Problem Statement 3B2). Subobjective 3A: Identify native NP and determine their role in regulating critical life processes in stink bugs, Lepidoptera, Lygus, and boll weevils. Subobjective 3B: Develop biostable, bioavailable mimics of regulatory NP that disrupt critical life processes of stink bugs, boll weevils, bollworms, and budworms. Subobjective 3C: Exploit secondary metabolites of cotton plants to reduce insect pest abundance and feeding damage.

Ecologically based management of field crop pests is critical for sustaining agricultural productivity/health and for reducing costs and minimizing undesirable environmental consequences associated with reliance on chemical pesticides. This project focuses on development of pest trapping/monitoring systems to detect host plant distributions, pest abundance, pest dispersal, pest transmission of plant pathogens, and exploitation of host plant defense mechanisms and neuropeptide mimics that disrupt critical life processes of insect pests. Project objectives will be accomplished through three main research areas that lead to development of: 1) technologies that detect pests and pest habitats, and models that simulate response of pest migration to climate change; 2) methods to understand the biology and ecology of plant pathogen vectoring by stink bugs and other piercing-sucking insect pests; and 3) novel pest management technologies and strategies such as neuropeptide (NP) mimics and exploitation of host plant defense traits. Results of project research are expected to provide producers and crop consultants with the appropriate scientific knowledge and technologies to make effective pest management decisions with minimal environmental impact. This project combines entomological, biochemical, and meteorological expertise to create a research program that defines how pests utilize host plants, disperse, and infest and infect target crops, and how pest activity can be altered by the use of neuropeptide mimics and natural plant defense traits to achieve environmentally safe crop protection.