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Research Project: Exploration in South Africa (Western Cape) for the Stink Bug Bagrada hilaris and its Native Natural Enemies

Location: European Biological Control Laboratory

Project Number: 0212-22000-030-007-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Dec 23, 2018
End Date: Dec 22, 2021

The USDA ARS European Biological Control Laboratory (EBCL) in Montpellier, France, will conduct biocontrol research with a laboratory technician from Stellenbosch University working full time for 6 months on the biological control of bagrada bug (Bagrada hilaris), an invasive insect pest of United States agriculture.

Stellenbosch University is located in the Western Cape province of South Africa- a part of the world with significant geographical, ecological, and climate-related similarity to parts of California by sharing a Mediteranean climate. Stellenbosch University therefore will be an important partner in surveying for natural enemies of the bagrada bug (B. hilaris) insect pest of American agriculture, which has caused devastating cole crop losses to growers in California and other parts of the United States. A technician will conduct research on biological control of bagrada bug and support natural enemy surveys with EBCL scientist Dr. René FH Sforza, who works on mission-based research related to biological control of invasive weeds and invasive insect pests that threaten US agriculture. The technician from Stellenbosch University will work full time for 6 months collecting bagrada bug, with the following steps: 1) Conduct exploration for finding Bagrada hilaris during spring and summer in the western Cape of South Africa, 2) Grow and maintain Brassicaceae plants in the lab from seeds or organic seedlings for setting a permanent Bagrada rearing, 3) Establish a permanent laboratory rearing with field-collected bagrada adults and nymphs by using sweep net and sentinel Brassicaceae plants, 4) Obtain Bagrada eggs from rearing cages and glue them on carboards and expose sentinel eggs in the monitored field sites, 5) Bring sentinel eggs back to the laboratory after 2 days, and measure the parasitism rate with potential emerging egg parasitoid wasps, 6) Put every parasitoid species found in alcohol and ship material to EBCL 7) Maintain colonies (if possible) of parasitoid wasps, 8) Ship living and preserved individuals to EBCL, 9) Install 1 Malese trap in a field site where parasitoids are found; to be checked every month, and change the vial. 10) Report results of this work.