Location: Southern Insect Management Research2021 Annual Report
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.
This project replaced expired projects 6066-22000-084-000D and 6066-22000-088-00D. The susceptibilities of bollworm populations to a diamide insecticide were examined and compared to results from previous years. Susceptibilities are similar to previous years and no visible shifts in insecticide resistance were detected. We continue to monitor this insect to the diamide insecticide class to provide early detection of potential resistance issues to this commonly used insecticide. Thirteen insecticide resistant tarnished plant bug colonies from twelve counties in the MS Delta and a susceptible colony from Crosset, AR, have been maintained for 3 years under lab conditions. The colonies have been monitored for resistance levels throughout generations. Values of LC50 have been measured by feeding known doses of neonicotinoid, sulfoxamine, organophosphate, and pyrethoid insecticides. Doses of insecticides have been dispensed on solid artificial diet. The resistance has persisted in seven colonies with no significant difference throughout generations. We continued to make collections of native bees from a variety of habitats across the southeastern United States. Samples were collected with a combination of collection techniques including modified pan traps (bee bowls), malaise traps, vane traps, and net sampling. Over 50,000 specimens have been cleaned, pinned, and mounted, and entered into a database. Common species are completely identified, and rare taxa are bring identified by specialists. Specimens of species new to the state or of significance have been deposited with regional, national, and international entomological museums. This baseline information is being used to examine potential impacts of local agricultural production practices on these insects and compare with production practices and pollinator communities in other regions. Preliminary data in a single year large cage trial was collected using three varieties of soybeans, each in a different maturity group. These varieties were each replicated three times in each cage, and each set of three cages received a pollinator treatment (honey bees only, no bees, or access by all bees). Soybean samples have been analyzed by using several metrics, and bee specimens are in the final processes of being identified. Multiple species of native bees have been collected and are preserved at -80C toward this project and the agency’s larger “Beenome100” project. The beenome project aims to sequence the genomes of 100 native bees in collaboration with university colleagues from the University of Illinois and other USDA ARS researchers. Three of the bee species collected from MS have completed both HiFi and HiC sequencing, and other locally collected species are in the pipeline. Two isolates of Beauveria bassiana Vuillemin (Hypocreales: Cordycipitaceae) including the commercial strain GHA and the Mississippi Delta native NI8 strain were evaluated in the laboratory to determine the effect on the fecundity of a laboratory colony of the southern green stink bug, Nezara viridula. Both isolates of B. bassiana with the highest concentrations were pathogenic to the SGSB. However, females were much more susceptible to both strains than males. The measured lethal concentration (LC50) of the native strain NI8 was 1.4-fold lower (236 spores / mm2) than the commercial strain GHA (326 spores/mm2) for females scored 20-D after exposure. Much higher concentrations (11134963 spores/mm2, 5206971 spores/mm2) were required to kill males with both strains NI8 and GHA, respectively. High statistically significant differences were found in fecundity on couples sprayed with the highest concentration of the GHA strain (nx107), while couple sprayed with the native NI8 (nx106 and 107) were significantly higher compared with both controls and the lower concentrations. Tarnished plant bugs were collected from weedy host plants in the Delta region to establish research colonies. A series of assays using an artificial diet laced with fluorescent dyes offered to tarnished plant bug examining within-plant distribution on cotton and select wild hosts is in progress. Research investigating three blends of pheromones specifically targeting the tarnished plant bug are being evaluated in field margins and select weed communities. Improved first detection protocols for tarnished plant bug during key cotton developmental stages and the potential use of weed-indicator species may provide additional management tools to control arthropod pests. The visual cues used by tarnished plant bugs and the visual behavior of plant bugs to different colors (white, blue, red, and yellow) using painted surfaces or sticky cards was examined. Preliminary field studies show that red colored sticky cards are highly attractive to tarnished plant bugs. Combining these visual cues with chemical cues could lead to the development of a better monitoring/trapping device for tarnished plant bugs. Annual sweet potato variety trials were planted and are being evaluated for lines most compatible with the growing environment of the Mississippi Delta. Stocking traps are being used to monitor populations of wireworms on the Alcorn State Research Farm in Mound Bayou, MS.
1. Assembly of the redbanded stink bug genome. The red-banded stink bug (RBSB), Piezodorus guildinii, is an important pest of soybeans. Uncontrolled outbreaks can cause significant economic damage to soybeans from early seed development stages to mature seeds that are ready to harvest. In order to develop genetic resources to conduct genetic, population genetic, and physiological studies, ARS researchers in Stoneville, Mississippi, sequenced the genome of RBSB and assembled using HiC proximity ligation to obtain a high-quality assembly. Assembled size of the genome was 1.205 Gbp. Essentially, 90% of the RBSB genome was contained in 7 chromosome size scaffolds. The genome assembly contained 800 scaffolds larger than 1 Kbp and the largest scaffold was 222.218 Mbp. The sequencing and assembly of the RBSB genome allows researchers to identify the genetic basis of insecticide resistance, genetic diversity, gene flow, migration and population structure of this insect pest.
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