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Research Project: Managing Invasive Weeds and Insect Pests Using Biologically-Based Methods

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research

Title: Integration of two predatory stinkbugs and a larval parasitoid for the fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) management in Florida

Author
item JERMAINE, PERIER - Florida A & M University
item HASEEB, MUHAMMAD - Florida A & M University
item KANGA, LAMBERT - Florida A & M University
item Legaspi, Jesusa - Susie
item Meagher, Robert - Rob

Submitted to: Insects
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/3/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda is a native pest of the western hemisphere distributed from South America to North America. Currently, it is regarded as one of the most serious maize pests in the world. Global trade assisted in its invasion of the eastern hemisphere due to imported plant materials. It feeds on a host range of more than 350 plant species and is the primary insect pest attacking sweet maize in Florida. Larval stages feed on all parts of the growing plant causing crop yield losses up to 20% or more in the United States. In other parts of the world, it causes maize yield losses from 17-72%. Consistent pesticide use facilitated resistance in the species; therefore, there is an urgent need for alternative effective pest management strategies. Augmentative biological control provides the opportunity to strategically release biocontrol agents where they are absent or in small populations in open fields. Researchers from Florida A&M University and ARS scientists in Tallahassee and Gainesville, FL conducted a study from fall 2017 to spring 2019 on three biological control agents which are known natural enemies of lepidopteran pests. These could potentially be used for augmentative control of fall armyworms, depending on their interactions as expressed in the same guild

Technical Abstract: The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a serious maize pest in the world. Global trade assisted in its invasion of the eastern hemisphere due to imported plant materials. It feeds on a host range of more than 350 plant species and is the primary insect pest attacking sweet maize in Florida. Consistent pesticide use facilitated resistance in the species; therefore, there is an urgent need for alternative pest management strategies. Augmentative biological control provides the opportunity to strategically release biocontrol. This study was designed to investigate the integration of three biocontrol agents which occupied the same guild. Specific investigations targeted predator, parasitoid, interactions, and the influence of temperature. The study was conducted from fall 2017 to spring 2019 and several experiments were conducted under laboratory conditions. Podisus maculiventris, Euthyrhynchus floridanus and Cotesia marginiventris are natural enemies of lepidopteran pests. These three biocontrol agents could potentially be used for augmentative control of fall armyworms, depending on their interactions as expressed in the same guild. The study concluded that integrating these biological control agents is possible. Results from this study contribute to knowledge on the use of augmentative control for the integrated pest management of the fall armyworm.