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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 #435277

Research Project: Improving Management of Stored Grain Through a Greater Understanding of Stored Product Insect Behavior

Location: Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research

Project Number: 3020-43000-033-25-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 17, 2018
End Date: Sep 16, 2020

Kansas State University (cooperator) will conduct research under two objectives. Objective 1: to understand temporal and spatial patterns in population structure of the lesser grain borer and its influence on susceptibility to insecticides. Objective 2: determine behavioral responses of stored product insects to odors from grain of different quality levels and the impact of different packaging materials, such as those with odor barriers or incorporated insecticides, on movement and ability to infest stored foods. The work outlined herein will further support the development of novel stored product insect monitoring and management techniques that have national and international relevance to the post-harvest industry. It will complement ongoing research being conducted in the Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research Unit.

For effective management of stored product insects, it is important to understand how they disperse and identify potential source populations for infestation. Although dispersal and infestation are greatly expedited by human-aided movement (ie, via transportation of infested grain or products), south-north dispersal during the early spring and fall can help these insects move northward, leading to the establishment of local populations that can provide sources for infestation. However, it is unknown whether continued migration from south to north is required to maintain these local populations, or whether these local populations can ultimately end up colonizing and infesting stored commodities located nearby. For Objective 1, the population structures of lesser grain borers collected within the same location in the early spring and fall over a two year period will be compared to determine whether the population structure has changed over time (supportive of migration) or whether it remains the same (supportive of establishment) using ddRAD-Seq. Susceptibility to different classes of insecticides will also be monitored over this time period to determine whether levels of susceptibility change over time and whether migration can facilitate the introduction of individuals with insecticide resistance into susceptible populations. Use of different types of packaging to protect grain has been increasing, this includes hermetic storage, better odor barriers, and insecticide impregnated packaging materials, but there is still limited data available on how stored product insect behavior is impacted by these materials. This research project will also result in information on which odors increase stored product insect response to packaged grain and how packaging can reduce infestation through a detailed evaluation of insect behavior and identify important cues used by stored product insects that could be developed into new attractants to be incorporated into traps and lure and kill devices. For Objective 2, behavioral response of several key stored product species to odors from grains (either through packaging or from point sources) that have different levels of contamination will be assessed to determine which elicit the strongest response, different plastic packaging materials as barriers to grain odors that could reduce package infestation will be evaluated, and assess effects of insecticide impregnated packaging on insect movement and ability to create or exploit routes of entry into packages. Methodology that may be used include, behavioral assays (wind tunnel, choice tests, video tracking, mark-release recapture), chemical ecology techniques (GC-MS, GC-EAD, etc.), and toxicological techniques (survival time, dose-response curves, etc.).