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Research Project: Foreign Exploration for Natural Enemies of Invasive Species Originating from China and the Surrounding Areas


Project Number: 0212-22000-029-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Sep 1, 2015
End Date: Aug 31, 2020

To search for, identify, and evaluate the potential of natural enemies of pest insects, weeds, and plant diseases that affect Chinese and U.S. agriculture. Objective 1: Explore for arthropod natural enemies of invasive arthropod pests and weedy plants identified as high priority targets by the ARS Office of National Programs, performing collections, importations and exportations in compliance with local and international regulations. High priority targets include, but are not limited to, giant cane, cogon grass, cattle fever tick, Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer, brown marmorated stink bug, bean plataspid, spotted wing drosophila, spotted lantern fly, and wheat stem sawfly. (non-hypothesis driven) [NP304, Component 2, Problem Statements 2A3 and 2B3] Objective 2: Perform taxonomic and phylogenetic studies of targets and their natural enemies, as needed to support development of biological control agents. (non-hypothesis driven) [NP304, Component 1, Problem Statement 1B] Objective 3: Conduct studies to identify the biological and physical parameters that affect the efficacy and safety of potential agents, including climatic conditions, host specificity, effective rearing conditions, and biogeography. [NP304, Component 2, Problem Statements 2A3 and 2B3]

Survey for, collect and identify natural enemies of agricultural and landscape pests. Make field collections, establish laboratory colonies when needed, and ship candidate agents to the U.S. for further evaluation. Conduct preliminary host specificity tests on promising parasites, predators, and beneficial microorganism. Collect, colonize, and ship to the U.S., candidates found to be safe. Cooperate with USDA and State laboratories in future collections for shipment and evaluation for release. Collect natural enemies attacking pests at differing host densities and climatic zones. All natural enemies selected for shipment will be sent directly to State or Federal quarantine facilities in the U.S. for further evaluation. Both Chinese and American scientists share the same right of obtaining biological control agents collected from the two countries. Assist in obtaining the necessary regulatory agency permissions for exporting live material from China.