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Research Project: Cranberry Genetic Improvement and Insect Pest Management

Location: Vegetable Crops Research

Title: Research projects lead by the USDA Cranberry Entomology Laboratory (CEL)

item Steffan, Shawn

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/19/2017
Publication Date: 1/19/2017
Citation: Steffan, S.A. 2017. Research projects lead by the USDA Cranberry Entomology Laboratory (CEL) [abstract]. Wisconsin Cranberry Research Roundtable.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: 1. Newly discovered native nematode species represent bio-insecticides (grad student project) a. Problems being addressed: Issues over flea beetle control; unresolved questions over pesticide use during bloom. b. Discoveries: at least two native nematodes species new to science have been discovered in central Wisconsin; one of these species is highly pathogenic to flea beetles, cranberry fruitworm, and sparganothis fruitworm larvae. c. Current status: tested in the field using large cores of cranberry sods; nematodes performed similarly to Diazinon and Belay. d. Future plans: create a mass-production system for nematodes; apply to pest ‘hotspots’ (beds with heavy flea beetle and cranberry fruitworm populations) using standard spray equipment. 2. UAV-deployed mating disruption systems (new grad student project) a. Problems being addressed: General need for new treatment options, especially those that reduce pesticide residues in fruit. Mating disruption works well, but deployment systems need to be mechanized for greater efficiency. b. Evidence, to-date: Three years of evidence show strong evidence of mating disruption of black-headed fireworm; One year of evidence showing strong cranberry fruitworm and Sparg disruption. In 2016, six commercial acres of cranberries were successfully treated with SPLAT using a retrofitted UAV. The UAV maintained its GPS-linked flight path and deposited SPLAT on cranberry beds. Major issues with battery life. c. Current status: New graduate has been hired (co-advised with Brian Luck) to improve on the retrofitted SPLAT-extruding device, and affix these extruders to boom arms, allowing the deployment of SPLAT via boom sprayers. d. Future plans: Small fleets of gasoline-powered UAVs combined with retrofitted boom sprayers will be used to efficiently deploy mating disruption technologies to large cranberry acreages. 3. Cranberry fruitworm phenology (ongoing lab studies) a. Problems addressed: Temperature-based development thresholds were unknown, and as a result, there was no way to generate degree-days that were specific to cranberry fruitworm. b. Discoveries: Thresholds isolated for cranberry fruitworm. c. Future plans: Lab colonies will be overwintered so that DD benchmarks can be determined for important biological events, such as egg-hatch period. 4. Benefits of land stewardship: Native dragonflies as bio-control agents (new grad student project) a. Dragonflies are abundant predators, but are they contributing to pest control? b. Preliminary surveys have been conducted at eight marshes in northern Wisconsin. c. Gut-content analyses are forthcoming. 5. Bees, yeasts, and fungicides (ongoing lab studies) a. Bumble bees have been shown to suffer major colony losses when exposed to fungicide residues on flowers. b. Why does this occur, if fungicides are relatively harmless to the adult bee? Ongoing work is investigating the mechanisms by which fungicides may be harming native pollinators.