1. New delivery system for giving molecular biopesticides to brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) and other hemipteran insect(s) through feeding. The brown marmorated stinkbug (BMSB) is an invasive insect native to Asia that has emerged as a very prominent insect pest in the United States. BMSB feeds on many plants and poses a considerable threat to specialty crops (apples, stone and pome fruits, grapes, ornamental plants, vegetables, seed crops) as well staple crops (soybean and corn), and is an aggravating indoor nuisance pest. New molecular genetic materials designed to deactivate or silence specific genes critical to BMSB survival were designed; however, methods for delivering these to BMSB by feeding were needed to use them for insect biocontrol. ARS scientists in Beltsville, Maryland, developed a method for delivering molecular biopesticides derived from these genetic materials to BMSB and other hemipteran or sap-feeding insects through feeding. This method allowed for dispersal of insect-controlling genetic materials to insect pests without need to create genetically modified insects. This method could enable widespread deployment of BMSB molecular genetic biopesticide technologies to control this now ubiquitous invasive pest.
2. Methyl benzoate is toxic to invasive insect pests. ARS scientists in Beltsville, Maryland, discovered that a chemical methyl benzoate, isolated from apple juice and naturally-occurring in many other plants, was toxic to various stages of a variety of insect pests, including the invasive brown marmorated stinkbug (BMSB) and spotted wing drosophila (SWD). Against BMSB eggs and SWD larvae and adults, methyl benzoate was found to be 5 to 20 times more commercial organic products available on the market. Because methyl benzoate is considered environmentally friendly, it has great potential to be used as a safer alternative to synthetic pesticides for sustainable agriculture, reducing threats to human health and the environment caused by over-application of conventional synthetic pesticides.
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