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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Salinas, California » Crop Improvement and Protection Research » Research » Research Project #444308

Research Project: Improved Methods for Trapping and Monitoring Thrips in Lettuce Crops

Location: Crop Improvement and Protection Research

Project Number: 2038-22000-020-017-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2023
End Date: Jun 30, 2025

Since 2019, lettuce production in the Salinas Valley has suffered major economic losses due to Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus (INSV). INSV is transmitted by thrips, a small insect pest with a large host range that includes crops and non-crops that are abundant throughout the year. Effective monitoring strategies are critical for understanding the seasonal distribution of the insect, predicting risk, and guiding management practices and decision making. Current methods to monitor thrips populations in the Salinas Valley rely on sticky cards, which are time-intensive and not conducive for large-scale testing to identify thrips populations that are actively vectoring INSV. The goal of this project is to develop an improved trap that can capture thrips without the use of sticky cards by using passive methods, active methods, or a combination of both. Outcomes will result in improved trapping methods that can be combined with diagnostic tools for identifying thrips populations that are vectoring INSV. The success of this project will be measured by comparing the efficiency of the new thrips traps to conventional sticky cards and outcomes will be shared with stakeholders at annual pest management meetings and through blogs.

Objective 1: Develop 2-4 trap designs for capturing thrips. Design 2-4 trap designs using passive, active, or a combination of capture methods. Traps will be designed/printed using a combination of overall design, colors, sizes, fans and fan designs, collection chambers, and vial support. Objective 2: Compare capture efficiency of trap designs relative to conventional methods traps. Traps will be deployed along field edges adjacent to sticky cards, which is the conventional trapping method currently used for thrips monitoring. Each trap design will be deployed pairwise with 10 feet of separation from a standard blue sticky card. Both trapping methods will be monitored every 2-3 days for 14 days to determine the capture efficiency. Trap prototypes will also be compared to one another to assess capture efficiency. Trap designs will be modified to improve the performance of the traps (i.e., physical, mechanical, electrical, etc.). New trap designs will be compared to other designs using lab testing and field deployment as previously described. Objective 3: Identify optimal thrips preservatives and conduct testing of field captured thrips. Thrips from a lab colony at USDA-ARS in Salinas, CA will be added to different preservatives (e.g., ethanol, propylene glycol) and extracted for their RNA to determine quality and quantity. Thrips in preservatives will be stored in the same capture vials used in the traps (Objective 1) to determine any adverse effects on the quality and quantity of the RNA. Environmental variables that will be considered include sun and UV exposure, temperature, and time. Thrips collected from traps will be counted and RNA will be extracted to determine quality and quantity. Objective 4: Extend results from the project to stakeholders. Results from the project will be orally presented at least twice at stakeholder meetings including, but not limited to the Salinas Valley Pest Management Winter Meeting. Results will be summarized and shared on the Salinas Valley Agriculture Blog.