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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research » Research » Research Project #438700

Research Project: Next-Generation Approaches for Monitoring and Management of Stored Product Insects

Location: Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research

Project Number: 3020-43000-034-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jan 5, 2021
End Date: Jan 4, 2026

Objective 1: Expand genomic resources for stored product insects and use functional genomics to find new gene targets or pathways for biorational control, identify genes that insects use to detect and respond to sensory cues, and improve nutritional content of stored product insects as food sources for humans and livestock. Subobjective 1A: Improve genomic resources for stored product insects. Subobjective 1B: Use functional genomics to identify genes that insects use to respond to pheromones and kairomones. Subobjective 1C: Genetic research to improve insects as animal feed. Subobjective 1D: Investigate molecular responses that allow insects to recover after exposure to insecticides and oral RNAi. Objective 2: Improve monitoring strategies for stored product insects through the identification of new attractants, improve understanding of insect response to traps and attractants, and develop and evaluate remote sensing and imaging technologies for detection of stored product insects and other quality issues. Subobjective 2A: Identify new semiochemicals that can be used as attractants or repellents for stored product insects and evaluate factors that impact active spaces around traps and packages. Subobjective 2B: Develop remote sensing and imaging for rapid detection of stored product insect infestations and other grain quality issues that occur during storage. Objective 3: Improve and develop new pest management tools and strategies for stored product insects in bulk grain storage and food facilities that focus on preventing infestations and reducing risks associated with insecticides. Subobjective 3A: Develop tools that exclude insects from infesting products, bulk storage facilities, and food processing plants. Subobjective 3B: Develop and use long-term monitoring data to improve pest management practices. Subobjective 3C: Optimize use of aerosols for treatment and management of stored product insects. Subobjective 3D: Evaluate efficacy of reduced-risk insecticides for pest management, grain protection, and residual surface treatments. Subobjective 3E: Investigate the impacts of behavior-based integrated pest management (IPM) tactics on insect behavior.

Whole and processed durable grain-based commodities are susceptible to infestation by a community of stored product insects throughout the distribution chain, which can cause considerable economic losses for the food industry. Additional issues such as phosphine resistance, the phase-out of methyl bromide fumigation, and a growing demand by consumers and producers to reduce pesticide inputs necessitate the development and expansion of alternate approaches to pest management. We propose to develop systems-level pest management tactics that reduce chemical residues that come into direct contact with food, develop new prevention and exclusion techniques to keep insects from infesting facilities and packaged goods, optimize behavior-based management strategies, and develop automated techniques to detect insect infestations. Genomic resources will also be an integral component as these tools can be used to reduce the emergence of insecticide resistant populations, identify genes involved in response to chemical cues associated with food and conspecifics, and improve mass rearing of insects for human and animal consumption. Ultimately, innovative tools and strategies based on research in the areas of genomics, behavior, biology, and ecology will be developed for management of postharvest pests to minimize grain commodity losses and maintain quality at all stages of the marketing chain.