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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research » Research » Research Project #431071

Research Project: Sustainable Management Strategies for Stored-Product Insects

Location: Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research

Project Number: 3020-43000-033-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: May 3, 2016
End Date: Jan 4, 2021

Objective 1: Identify and describe the functional genomics for physiological systems important to pest management (e.g., the digestive and sensory systems), for key stored product insects (e.g., lesser grain borer, red flour beetle). Sub-Objective 1.A. Sequence the genome of some key stored product pests. Sub-Objective 1.B. Conduct functional genomic studies of stored product pests to identify target genes for bio-rational controls. Sub-Objective 1.C. Evaluation of insect responses to insecticides and mechanisms of recovery and resistance. Objective 2: Develop and improve monitoring technologies, control tactics, and integrated pest management systems for stored product insects (e.g., cigarette beetle, lesser grain borer, red flour beetle, and warehouse beetle). Sub-Objective 2.A. Improve the management of outside sources of stored product insect infestation. Sub-Objective 2.B. Improve protection of bulk stored grain from damage by stored product insects through reduced risk approaches. Sub-Objective 2.C. Improve the effectiveness of reduced risk aerosol insecticides. Sub-Objective 2.D. Improve use of pheromones in integrated pest management programs.

Our research focus is the management of key pests of stored raw grains and processed grain products. Insect pests cause significant economic loss through direct feeding damage and product contamination throughout food distribution channels. Integrated pest management (IPM) approaches employing a combination of strategies are needed to protect domestic and international food supplies. Our research objectives target important data gaps in IPM programs, with an emphasis on reduced risk products and sustainable strategies that can be integrated to reduce pest infestation issues. We will conduct genome sequencing for several important stored product insect species and use functional genomics to identify targets for new biologically-based insecticides and evaluate insect response to insecticides. We will improve the management of outside sources of insect infestation through an evaluation of population structure and how insects exploit outside food accumulations. For bulk grain protection, we will focus on reduced risk insecticides and aeration to reduce the need to fumigate commodity. Aerosol insecticide usage inside structures is increasing as a structural fumigation alternative, so our research will focus on how applications can be improved. Finally, we will evaluate how pheromone use in monitoring and mating disruption can be improved through a better understanding of insect behavior. Successful completion of this work will result in new methodologies that will improve the quality of stored products, reduce economic loss, and contribute to the improved security of our food supply.