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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #380087

Research Project: Sustainable Management Strategies for Stored-Product Insects

Location: Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research

Title: Towards developing areawide semiochemical-mediated, behaviorally-based integrated pest management programs for stored product insects

Submitted to: Pest Management Science
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/18/2021
Publication Date: 5/13/2021
Citation: Morrison III, W.R., Scully, E.D., Campbell, J.F. 2021. Towards developing areawide semiochemical-mediated, behaviorally-based integrated pest management programs for stored product insects. Pest Management Science. 77(6):2667-2682.

Interpretive Summary: A significant portion of commodities harvested for human and animal food are lost during storage after harvest each year due to insect infestations. Historically, insect pest management programs at food facilities have been reactive rather than preventative, relying on fumigations and applications of insecticides for treatment of infestations. However, resistance to insecticides and fumigants is becoming more widespread and consumer demand for products that are free of insecticide residues is growing, necessitating the development of alternative tactics for pest management in these facilities. Insect behavior can often be manipulated by odors, including attractants and repellents, to direct insects away from commodities and reduce infestations of stored commodities. Although odors are often used for behavioral manipulations and pest management in other agricultural settings, their utilization has been comparatively limited in post-harvest settings. Here, we identify 17 challenges that have hindered the robust use of odors and an outline a vision for diversifying behaviorally-based pest management tactics in this agricultural system. Additionally, we identify characteristics of optimal odor and visual stimuli, trap designs, and killing mechanisms that are needed in order to expand the use of behaviorally-based management tactics in food facilities. Overall, this research highlights important knowledge gaps that need to be addressed to diversify pest management strategies in post-harvest settings, which will help mitigate resistance to existing control tactics and reduce losses due to insect infestations.

Technical Abstract: Every year, economic losses for agricultural commodities after harvest exceed $100 billion USD globally. Integrated pest management (IPM) programs in food facilities traditionally were often reactive, relying on fumigations. With the decreased emphasis on fumigation, due in part to the phase-out of methyl bromide and increasing phosphine resistance, more effective and diversified post-harvest IPM programs are needed. One class of alternative IPM tactics are behaviorally-based tactics, where semiochemicals are deployed to manipulate pest behavior in ways that preserve food quality and reduce exposure of food products to insecticide residues, such as mating disruption, mass trapping, attract-and-kill, or push-pull. In this mini-review, we synthesize knowledge on behaviorally-based approaches that are currently practiced, noting that beyond semiochemical-based monitoring, it is mostly limited to mating disruption for just a handful of species. While there has been substantial attention to pheromone-based tools over the course of the past two decades, we identify challenges that may have prevented their robust implementation in the postharvest environment. Further, we discuss how stakeholder acceptance may be achieved for expanded use of semiochemicals at food facilities, and outline a vision for implementing a robust areawide behaviorally-based IPM program after harvest. Finally, we clarify properties for improving stimuli, traps, and kill mechanisms for behaviorally-based tactics in the food environment. It is our hope that this contribution identifies gaps in postharvest behavioral research and enumerates testable hypotheses to quickly move forward in developing behaviorally-based tactics at food facilities.