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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Fuester, Roger

Submitted to: International Plant Protection Congress
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/18/2004
Publication Date: 5/11/2004
Citation: Fuester, R.W. 2004. Recent advances in the biological control of insect pests. In Proceedings of the 15th International Plant Protection Congress, Beijing, China, May 11-16, 2004. p. 9-13.

Interpretive Summary: The author was invited to give a plenary lecture on the topic "Recent Advances in the Biological Control of Insect Pests" at the Fifteenth International Plant Protection Congress held in Beijing, China. This meeting addresses important issues in the development of strategies and technology for plant protection in the twenty-first century. Ten recent accomplishments or developments documented since the last congress were selected for the presentation: three related to biotechnology, two related to the theory and practice of biological control, and five related to recent implementation projects. Examples were taken from many places: the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, China, St. Helena, and several islands in the Caribbean. The influence of biotechnology on biological control was exemplified by the release of genetically modified predatory mite, the various uses for DNA fingerprinting in biological control of sweetpotato whitefly, and the characterization of the sex determination gene in the Hymenoptera, the insect order containing ants, bees, and parasitic wasps, many of which are useful in biological control. Although most biological control efforts involve the use of exotic natural enemies to control exotic insect pests, approaches using exotic natural enemies to control native pests and native natural enemies to control exotic pests were also explored. Finally, details were presented on five very successful implementation projects: biological control of birch leafminer in Canada, pink hibiscus mealybugs in the Caribbean, diamond-back moth in St. Helena, coconut whitefly in the Caribbean, and a flatid planthopper in France.

Technical Abstract: An invitational plenary lecture was prepared for presentation at the XVth International Plant Protection Congress in Beijing China. Recent advances in the biological control of insect pests were presented in three areas (1) biotechnology related, (2) theory and practice, and (3) recent implementation projects. These advances included the following: (1) the first release of a genetically modified predator by Dr. Marjorie Hoy at the University of Florida who used maternal micro injection to obtain a transgenic strain of the mite Metaseiulus occidentalis, a species selected to pass numerous regulatory requirments; (2) USDA scientists used DNA fingerprinting to distinguish morphologically identical species of whitefly parasitoids; (3) identification of the sex determination gene in Hymenoptera by Martin Beye (Martin Luther Univ.) which should permit biocontrol practitioners to avoid male-biased sex ratios in many parasitic wasps; (4) use of native natural enemies to control introduced pest, the fall webworm in Eurasia, and a leafminer in Canada; (5) use of an exotic natural enemy (Peristenus digoneutis) to control a native agricultural pest (Lygus lineolaris) in the U.S., plus an analysis of efforts to use this approach on forest pests in Canada. Implementation projects cited included the biological control of (1) birch leafminer (Fenusa pusilla) by two ichneumonid wasps (Lathrolestes nigricollis and Grypocentrus albipes) in Canada, (2) pink hibiscus mealybug (Maconellicoccus hirsutus) by the encyrtid wasps Anagyrus kamali and Gyranusoidea indica in the Caribbean; (3)diamond-back moth, Plutella xylostella, by two parasitoids (Cotesia plutellae and Diadromus collaris) on St. Helena; (4) coconut whitefly by an undescribed Encarsia in the Caribbean; and (5) a planthopper (Metcalfa pruinosa) by a dryinid wasp (Neodryinis typhocybae) in France.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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