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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Southern Insect Management Research » Research » Research Project #438523

Research Project: Insect Control and Resistance Management in Corn, Cotton, Sorghum, Soybean, and Sweet Potato, and Alternative Approaches to Tarnished Plant Bug Control in the Southern United States

Location: Southern Insect Management Research

Project Number: 6066-22000-090-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jul 13, 2020
End Date: Jul 12, 2025

1. Determine current insecticide susceptibilities of major insect pests of row crops in the Southern United States and develop methods to manage insecticide resistance. 1.A. Determine current insecticide susceptibilities of tarnished plant bugs, bollworms, and other major insect pests of row crops in the Southern U.S. through laboratory bioassays. 1.B. Examine insecticide resistance management strategies for insecticides with varying decay rates. 2. Develop methods to lower the potential impact of pest control practices in agricultural systems on beneficial insects, including honeybees and native pollinators, while maintaining effective control of field crop pests. 2.A. Determine the impact of land management strategies on abundance and diversity of native bees. 2.B. Determine impacts of bees on yield enhancement of commonly cultivated soybeans in the Mississippi Delta. 2.C. Examine the acute toxicity, synergistic/antagonistic interactions, and sub-lethal impacts of commonly used pesticides on honey bees using bioassay and biochemical and molecular approaches. 3. Develop and evaluate novel methods of insect control that can be integrated for optimum effectiveness and determine the sustainability of using multiple insect control tactics together. 3.A. Evaluate methods of insect control as substitutes to synthetic insecticides in row crops of the MS Delta. 3.B. Develop new approaches for the control of insect pests of sweet potato. 4. Determine population genetic characteristics of crop pests and beneficial insects including pollinators. 5. Develop and evaluate new bio-control strategies to control sucking insects in cotton crops by focusing on the use of entomopathogenic fungi and nematodes, viruses, and parasitoids. 5.A. Quantify the impact of natural control on mirid and pentatomid insect pests’ seasonal abundance and distribution. 5.B. Identify and develop new biological control options including entomopathogens and TPB egg parasitoids, as possible regulators of sucking insect pest populations. 6. Develop and implement semiochemical-based trapping methods to monitor populations of insect pests and their natural enemies in cotton cropping systems.

The Mississippi Delta (MS) is comprised of a mosaic of cultivated crop and non-crop land which is utilized by various insect pest populations throughout the growing season. A major control tactic used to reduce economically damaging insect pest populations on major row crops in the southern U.S. is the application of synthetic insecticides. The goal of these applications is to maximize profits and to reduce the risk of potential catastrophic damage by these insects. These applications have the potential to lead to unintended consequences such as the develop of insecticide resistance and reduction of beneficial insects. Increased understanding and of insecticide resistance development and alternative approaches to insect control are long-term efforts which are needed to reduce our reliance on chemical applications for insect control. The susceptibilities of major lepidopteran and hemipteran insect pests in the MS Delta to commonly used insecticides will be examined via laboratory bioassays of field-collected insect populations. Measurements of diversity of native bees in the MS Delta will be examined through surveys utilizing several different sampling approaches. The potential for honey bees to exhibit a positive influence on the yield of soybean will be examined in large field cages. Approaches to reduce the impact of chemical applications on honey bee survival and health will be examined using simulated spray applications on honey bee populations. Alternative methods of insect control including mating disruption with synthetic pheromones, and the use of natural enemies such as entomopathogenic nematodes and fungi will be examined. These alternative approaches are needed to supplement integrated pest management tactics of row crop pests of the MS Delta.