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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research » Research » Research Project #432843

Research Project: Biological Control Development for the Harrisia Cactus Mealybug

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research

Project Number: 6036-22000-031-22-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: May 3, 2017
End Date: Apr 2, 2018

1) Contribute to surveys for natural enemies of Hypogeococcus spp. in unexplored areas of South America (i.e., northern Argentina). 2) Collect parasitoid specimens during surveys for identification and, for known parasitoid species, increase the genetic pool of laboratory colonies. 3) Describe and identify parasitoids of Hypogeococcus spp. collected in South America, Puerto Rico, and other Caribbean locations.

Activities proposed in this project will support a biological control program against the Harrisia cactus mealybug, a serious pest of columnar cactus in Puerto Rico, other Caribbean islands, and potentially North America. This work builds on previous and continuing work conducted by collaborators, to identify, describe, and segregate members of the Harrisia cactus mealybug species complex, survey for and identify promising natural enemies, and export potential biological control agents to Puerto Rico for quarantine host range testing. In addition, this proposal builds on work conducted over the past year by collaborators at the Puerto Rico quarantine facility to prepare for the arrival of Argentine parasitoid species.