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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research » Research » Research Project #444663

Research Project: Developing, Harmonizing and Extending IPM strategies for Major Arthropod Groups and New Invasive Pests of Ornamental and Floriculture Production

Location: Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research

Project Number: 6034-22320-006-002-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2023
End Date: Aug 31, 2028

1. We will continue to develop and improve our IPM plans for all target pests through chemical control and impact on natural enemies as well as determine how new invasive exotic pests will factor into our current management plans. 2. We will continue to increase the utility of the papaya banker plant system for predators (i.e., Delphastus pallidus) and optimize for commercial greenhouse deployment. 3. Identification of new banker plants for a) predators that feed on pollen, thrips and whiteflies and b) mealybug pests and their biological control agents.

This is a collaborative project with University of Florida, which is focused on the development of evolving and integrated management plans for major taxonomic groups and potential new invasive pests of ornamental and floriculture production. Funding for this project will support research on management of whiteflies, thrips, mealybugs, and new invasive pests important to the ornamental and floriculture industry as well as molecular analyses of those pests and their biological control agents for identification and barcoding in support of the preceding and future research. Commercial insectaries are adding new predators each year to their available products. Often, there is no independent data to support their efficacy claims or utility for managing pests attacking ornamental plants. Growers buy multiple species of these predators for release into their crops. Because most of these predators are very difficult to identify and taxonomists trained in their identification are limited, growers never know which species of predator is actually managing their pests. The proper identification of pests and biological control agents is the foundation for an efficient and economically sound IPM program. We will continue to develop and improve our IPM plans for all target pests through chemical control and impact on natural enemies. We will continue whitefly barcoding including Bemisia tabaci biotyping for ornamental growers nationwide to determine MEAM1 (B), MED (Q) and NW (A) species composition and any invasive whitefly pests that are discovered so growers can make judicious chemical control decisions based on their individual whitefly populations. We have increased the utility of the papaya banker plant system with a new beetle predator (Delphastus pallidus) and will focus on implementing this system in commercial greenhouses. Potential candidate banker plants will be identified for thrips and pest mites for those predators that feed on pollen as well as banker plants that may be suitable for mealybug as the target pest. Future work will assess various release strategies for the pantropical predatory thrips (Franklinothrips vespiformis) for whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) and thrips (Thrips parvispinus, Scirtothrips dorsalis) management.