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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Miami, Florida » Subtropical Horticulture Research » Research » Research Project #439240

Research Project: Mitigation of Invasive Pest Threats to U.S. Subtropical Agriculture

Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

Project Number: 6038-22000-007-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Sep 10, 2020
End Date: Sep 9, 2025

1. Identify semiochemicals that mediate the behavior and physiology of exotic insect pests and develop semiochemical-based tools that lead to products for pest detection, behavioral disruption, and surveillance. [NP 304, Component 4, Problem Statement 4A] 1.A. Document behavioral responses and olfactory chemoreception to semiochemicals that have potential application in pest monitoring and control systems. 1.B. Identify and quantify insect semiochemicals; develop improved systems to collect, analyze and identify semiochemicals. 1.C. Develop synthetic and natural product lures based on host location and/or feeding cues that are formulated for effective use in IPM programs. 2. Evaluate ‘next generation’ technologies to advance methods for fruit fly detection and eradication, such as lasers, sonic methods, or nano-technologies. [NP 304, Component 4, Problem Statement 4A] 2.A. Compare available remote trapping systems that can automatically count and identify trapped insects; optimize automated detection systems for adult fruit fly pests. 2.B. Evaluate imaging techniques and non-destructive chemical analysis methods for detection of larval infestation within host fruit. 3. Evaluate essential oils for natural insect pest toxicants and elucidate the physiological mechanisms underlying resistance to conventional pesticides. [NP 304, Component 4, Problem Statement 4A] 3.A. Determine the molecular/physiological basis for development of pesticide resistance in adult fruit flies. 3.B. Identify plant essential oils and plant extracts that have insecticidal, repellent, or oviposition deterrent properties against adult fruit flies and other target pests. 3.C. Determine the specific chemical components responsible for the toxic/repellent effects of essential oils and plant extracts. 4. Integrate tools, technologies and management strategies to reduce the threat of pest establishment and mitigate the impact of exotic pest incursions. [NP 304, Component 4, Problem Statement 4A] 4.A. Develop new approaches to assess efficacy of lures, repellents, and control practices based on spatial statistics and contour analysis of trap captures in the field. 4.B. Develop improved IPM protocols for tephritid fruit flies, ambrosia beetles, and other target pests by integrating semiochemical-based technologies with other management options, such as biological control, judicious alternating use of insecticides to manage pesticide resistance, sanitation and other cultural practices.

Research will consist of field and laboratory experiments to investigate aspects of basic biology, physiology and chemical ecology that can be exploited to develop integrated pest management approaches for invasive insects that impact subtropical agriculture. Target species will include pests that threaten to invade or have recently established in south Florida, including fruit flies in the family Tephritidae (Oriental fruit fly, Medfly, and Anastrepha species) and ambrosia beetles that vector fungal pathogens (redbay ambrosia beetle and Euwallacea shot-hole borers). Strategies will include (1) identifying semiochemicals from natural product sources that can alter insect behavior, such as attractants, repellents, and oviposition deterrents; (2) developing new detection and delimitation tools that will include formulated lures, discrete attract-and-kill bait stations, next generation technologies like smart traps for automated pest surveillance, and non-destructive imaging techniques for detection of hidden infestation in agricultural commodities; (3) improving pesticide resistance management by identification of pesticide modes of action and physiological responses of fruit flies to toxicants; (4) evaluating plant essential oils as sources of natural toxicants (biopesticides) with less environmental impact; and (5) developing new approaches to assess efficacy of lures, repellents, and control practices based on spatial statistics and contour analysis of trap captures in the field.