Insects2016, 7(3), 30; doi:10.3390/insects7030030 (registering DOI) - published 29 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Native plant and beneficial insect associations are relatively unstudied yet are important in native habitat restoration programs for improving and sustaining conservation biological control of arthropod pests in agricultural crops. Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) are currently the focus of restoration programs in the USA aimed at reversing a decline in populations of the milkweed-dependent monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus); however, little is known of the benefits of these plants to other beneficial insects. Beneficial insects (predators, parasitoids, pollinators) attracted to two milkweed species (Asclepias speciosa, Asclepias fascicularis) in central Washington State, WA, USA were identified and counted on transparent sticky traps attached to blooms over five seasons. Combining all categories of beneficial insects, means of 128 and 126 insects per trap were recorded for A. speciosa and A. fascicularis, respectively. Predatory and parasitic flies dominated trap catches for A. speciosa while parasitic wasps were the most commonly trapped beneficial insects on A. fascicularis. Bees were trapped commonly on both species, especially A. speciosa with native bees trapped in significantly greater numbers than honey bees. Beneficial insect attraction to A. speciosa and A. fascicularis was substantial. Therefore, these plants are ideal candidates for habitat restoration, intended to enhance conservation biological control, and for pollinator conservation. In central Washington, milkweed restoration programs for enhancement of D. plexippus populations should also provide benefits for pest suppression and pollinator conservation.
Abstract: The Chinese rose beetle (Adoretus sinicus Burmeister (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae)) is an introduced, widely-established pest in Hawai’i. The adult beetles feed on the leaves of cacao (Theobroma cacao L.), which can lead to defoliation and even death of young trees. We evaluated the impact of five commercially available products with different active ingredients (imidacloprid, azadirachtin, Beauveria bassiana (Bals.-Criv.) Vuill., kaolin clay, and pyrethrin) and the presence or absence of weed mat cover in reducing adult beetle feeding on sapling cacao in the field. The use of weed mat cover reduced feeding damage compared to the untreated control, as did foliar application of imidacloprid, azadirachtin, and B. bassiana. In the laboratory, field-collected adult beetles were presented cacao leaf samples dipped in one of the five products and compared to a control. Beetles exposed to pyrethrin died rapidly. Among the other treatments, only exposure to imidacloprid significantly reduced survival relative to the control. Beetles fed very little on leaf samples with azadirachtin but their longevity was not significantly reduced. Imidacloprid, azadirachtin, and weed mat application had the most promise for reducing adult Chinese rose beetle feeding damage in young cacao and deserve further investigation for successful management of this significant pest.
Abstract: Conotrachelus nenuphar (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), plum curculio, is a serious direct pest of North American tree fruit including, apples, cherries, peaches and plums. Historically, organophosphate insecticides were used for control, but this tool is no longer registered for use in tree fruit. In addition, few organically approved insecticides are available for organic pest control and none have proven efficacy as this time. Therefore, promoting biological control in these systems is the next step, however, little is known about the biological control pathways in this system and how these are influenced by current mechanical and cultural practices required in organic systems. We used molecular gut-content analysis for testing field caught predators for feeding on plum curculio. During the study we monitored populations of plum curculio and the predator community in a production organic apple orchard. Predator populations varied over the season and contained a diverse assemblage of spiders and beetles. A total of 8% of all predators (eight Araneae, two Hemiptera, and six Coleoptera species) assayed for plum curculio predation were observed positive for the presence of plum curculio DNA in their guts, indicating that these species fed on plum curculio prior to collection Results indicate a number of biological control agents exist for this pest and this requires further study in relation to cultural practices.
Abstract: A commercial formulation of the insect growth regulator methoprene was applied to wheat stored in small bins either alone or in combination with controlled aeration of the bins, to lower grain temperature for insect pest management of stored wheat. Grain temperatures were monitored and modified by a computer-controlled thermocouple system that also activated the aeration system at programmed set-points to move cool ambient air through the grain mass to lower grain temperature. Results from sampling insect populations in experimental storage bins along with laboratory mortality bioassays of insects placed on wheat taken from the bins over the course of the storage period showed that methoprene was very effective in controlling infestation by the externally-feeding stored grain insects Plodia interpunctella (Hübner), the Indian meal moth Tribolium castaneum (Herbst), the red flour beetle, Cryptolestes ferrugineus (Stephens), the rusty grain beetle, and also for the internal-feeding pest Rhyzopertha dominica( Fauvel), the lesser grain borer. Methoprene did not give good control of the internal-feeding pest Sitophilus oryzae (L.), the rice weevil. Aeration alone was somewhat effective in suppressing insect population development, while methoprene alone or when combined with aeration greatly enhanced insect control. Commercial grain grading for industry quality standards at the end of the storage period confirmed the impact of insect suppression on maintaining high quality of the stored wheat. This field experiment shows that methoprene combined with aeration to cool grain can be effective for pest management of stored wheat in the southern plains of the United States of America.
Abstract: Modified atmospheres present a residue-free alternative to fumigants for controlling postharvest pests of grain during storage. How sub-lethal applications of this method affects the reproductive fitness of target pests, however, is still not fully understood. We examined how low levels of ambient oxygen influence the reproduction of the female cowpea bruchid (Callosobruchus maculatus), a pest of cowpea. We used three low-oxygen atmospheres—2%, 5% and 10% (v/v) oxygen—and observed their effects on: (1) the number of eggs laid by bruchids compared to insects held in normoxic (~20% oxygen) conditions; (2) the total number of eggs laid; and (3) the number of progeny that reached maturity. Low oxygen did not significantly affect the number of eggs laid during 48 or 72 h of exposure, but 2% and 5% oxygen did negatively affected total egg production. Increasing the exposure time from 48 to 72 h further depressed lifetime reproductive output. Maternal and egg exposure to hypoxia reduced the number of progeny that reached adulthood. Lower adult emergence was observed from eggs laid under low oxygen and longer exposure times. These data demonstrate that hermetic conditions depress the egg-laying behavior of cowpea bruchids and the successful development of their progeny.
Abstract: Redbanded stink bug, Piezodorus guildinii (Westwood), is a significant soybean pest across the mid-south region of the United States. The objectives of these studies were to characterize: (1) redbanded stink bug oviposition in relationship to soybean maturity group (MG), plant structure, crop phenology, and vertical distribution within the plant canopy; and (2) redbanded stink bug adult sex ratios in relationship to soybean phenology. A total of 5645 redbanded stink bug eggs in 421 egg masses (clusters) were field collected from naturally-occurring populations in MG IV and V soybean over a three year period (2009 to 2011). The mean number of eggs within a cluster was 16.6 ± 0.3. Plant structures by MG interactions were highly significant with more egg masses oviposited on leaves in MG IV (79.4%) and more on pods in MG V (72.7%). The ratio of females to males was similar in all soybean growth stages except R5, where the sex ratio increased to 1.4:1, coinciding with peak oviposition. Only 29.9% of egg clusters in MG IV and 18.3% of egg clusters in MG V were oviposited in the upper 35 cm of the soybean canopy. Based on these results, sampling strategies and insecticide application placement for stink bugs may require modification.