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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Hilo, Hawaii » Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center » Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research » Research » Research Project #436808

Research Project: Improved Detection and Control of Tropical Invasive Insect Pests

Location: Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research

Project Number: 2040-22430-027-020-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 16, 2019
End Date: Sep 15, 2024

Fruit flies, ants, beetles, and other invasive insect pests pose serious threats to Hawaii and U.S. mainland agriculture. An understanding of pest complexes, paths of introduction, insect distribution, behavior and natural predators are essential for effective prevention and control. Collaborative research is needed to address the immediate and continuing impacts of established pests on tropical crops and the more than 20 new insects introduced annually to the Hawaiian Islands. The objectives of this cooperative agreement are to: 1) develop improved methods or technologies to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to new invasive pests; 2) develop new measures to reduce introductions of pests into Hawaii and the U.S. mainland; 3) develop integrated pest management tools, including biocontrol, for tropical pests of agricultural importance; 4) develop new technologies to detect and manage biopesticide resistance in tephritid fruit flies; and 5) determine the economic impacts of tropical pests in agricultural systems.

The approach of this project is to address the identification, detection and distribution of newly invasive pests by application of improved surveys, enhanced trapping and baiting strategies, and genetic methods. Least-toxic, integrated pest control strategies will be developed, to include biocontrol, early detection, and cultural practices for new or established pests. Relevant impacts of invasive pests and pest control methods on non-target species will be studied. Resistance to biopesticides will be addressed through new bioassays or molecular markers of resistance. Improved pest identification and quarantine techniques will be achieved through species complex studies using both morphological and genetic methods. Economic impacts of pests and invasive pest control methods will be considered and evaluated. Emphasis is on pests of agricultural importance, including tephritid fruit flies, little fire ants, coffee berry borer, macadamia feltid coccid, longhorn beetle, sweetpotato weevils, pickle worm, mealy bugs, thrips, and slugs.