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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Invasive Species and Pollinator Health » Research » Research Project #434744

Research Project: Testing the Safety and Efficacy of Imported Biocontrol Agents for Bagrada Bug

Location: Invasive Species and Pollinator Health

Project Number: 2030-22300-032-008-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Nov 1, 2018
End Date: Aug 31, 2021

The objectives of this project are to: 1) measure the host specificity of bagrada bug parasitoids recently collected in Pakistan; 2) explore South Africa for additional parasitoids specific to bagrada bug; 3) survey California for resident natural enemies of bagrada bug.

The requested funds will be used to test candidate parasitoids, search for additional parasitoids, and survey resident natural enemies in California. Host specificity tests of two parasitoid species collected in Pakistan in 2016 (Trissolcus hyalinipennis and Gryon sp.) will be conducted inside quarantine facilities at the USDA- ARS, Albany. At least 8 species of stink bugs will be cultured for testing, most native to Western United States. Host specificity testing will be measured in two phases, first using ‘no-choice’ testing followed by ‘choice’ tests. During the first phase the parasitoid will be exposed to just one species of egg. Those non-target stink bug species successfully attacked by the candidate parasitoid will be subjected to ‘choice tests,’ whereby the parasitoid is exposed simultaneously to eggs of two stink bug species: bagrada bug and one of the non-target stink bugs. The USDA- ARS European Biological Control Laboratory (EBCL) in France has established a cooperative agreement with the North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa to collect parasitoids attacking bagrada bug eggs. USDA-ARS personnel will travel to South Africa and train cooperators in how to collect egg parasitoids. They will use sentinel eggs to capture egg parasitoids, and they will measure the seasonality of bagrada bug. Field surveys will be conducted during the cole crop production seasons, which vary across the state of California. Surveys will target the central coast (Monterey County), southern San Joaquin Valley, and Yolo County in northern California. Sentinel eggs will be placed at locations near cole crop production. Bagrada bug sentinel eggs will be placed in cole crop production areas with high densities of bagrada bug and used to measure local predation and parasitism.