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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #257726

Title: Mini-aspirator: A new device for collection and transfer of small arthropods to plants

item Dogramaci, Mahmut
item Chen, Jianjun
item Arthurs, Steven
item Mckenzie, Cindy
item Irizarry, Fabieli
item Houben, Katherine
item Brennan, Mary
item Osborne, Lance

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/5/2010
Publication Date: 3/1/2011
Citation: Dogramaci, M., Chen, J., Arthurs, S.P., McKenzie, C.L., Irizarry, F., Houben, K., Brennan, M., Osborne, L. 2011. Mini-aspirator: A new device for collection and transfer of small arthropods to plants. Florida Entomologist. 94(1):22-27.

Interpretive Summary: A mini-aspirator was developed for collecting or infesting plants with a specific number of small arthropods including chilli thrips, predatory mites and minute pirate bugs. The mini-aspirator reduced the time required to collect and release small arthropods to the plants. An operator using the mini-aspirator could collect and transfer small arthropods using controlled air intake power, which minimizes injury to the collected arthropods. The mini-aspirator is different from available commercial aspirators that employ a larger removable glass or plastic collecting vial that can’t be adjusted for optimum collection of individual thrips. Another advantage of the mini-aspirator is that unlike the traditional collecting vials, the smaller removable and disposable collecting vials can easily be attached to small leaves or plant stems without disturbing the contents inside the vial. The mini-aspirator can also be powered with a mini-vac making the technique portable for field applications. The technique may be used to quickly census wild populations for laboratory testing or for use in insecticide efficacy trials. The mini-aspirator could also be adapted for quick pesticide resistance or efficacy trials in the field. The inside of the mini-aspirator could be treated with pesticides of interest or treated leaf discs could be placed in the mini-aspirator prior to collecting small arthropods, and then collected arthropods would be incubated for a fixed time period to quantify pesticide efficacy. This kind of monitoring would be helpful to confirm pest susceptibility to pesticides prior to wide area applications.

Technical Abstract: The process of collecting and/or infesting plants with a designated number of small arthropods in biological experiments is tedious and laborious. We developed a modified mini-aspirator, powered with a vacuum pump and fitted with a specially adapted (removeable) collecting vial to reduce the handling effort. The efficiency of the mini-aspirator was tested using the chilli thrips, Scirtothrips dorsalis Hood (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), a predatory mite, Amblyseius cucumeris (Oudemans) (Arachnida: Acari), and minute pirate bugs, Orius insidiosus (Say) (Heteroptera: Anthocoridae). Using the mini-aspirator, operators collected and transferred 10 predatory mites and chilli thrips onto pepper plants in 43 and 37 s, compared with 638 and 229 s using a conventional paintbrush method. The use of the mini aspirator for moving and infesting predatory mites and thrips represents a 15 and 6 fold time saving, respectively. Collection of 10 minute pirate bugs took 20 s using mini-aspirator compared with 30 s when an unmodified aspirator was used. Proportionally saved time was less compared to collecting chilli thrips and the predatory mites using mini-aspirator. Additionally, the mini-aspirator can be fitted with a battery powered mini-vac, which makes it portable for field applications, such as pesticide resistance screening of field populations.