Abstract: The limited availability of alternative foods to replace natural prey hinders cost-effective mass production of ladybird beetles for augmentative biological control. We compared the effects of powdered vs. whole Artemiafranciscana (A. franciscana) (brine shrimp) eggs with or without a dietary supplement on development and reproduction of Coleomegillamaculata (C. maculata) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). We tested the hypotheses that (1) powdered A. franciscana eggs are more suitable than whole eggs; and (2) palmitic acid, a common fatty acid in natural prey, i.e., aphids, is an effective dietary supplement. Development time, pre-imaginal survival, sex ratio, and body weight of adults did not differ significantly amongst individuals fed powdered vs. whole eggs, with or without 5% palmitic acid. Significantly more oviposition occurred when females were fed powdered eggs than whole eggs and powdered eggs with 5% palmitic acid than whole eggs with or without 5% palmitic acid. A weak functional relationship was found between pre-oviposition time and total oviposition by females fed powdered eggs with 5% palmitic acid; pre-oviposition time decreased as oviposition increased. Food treatments had no significant differential effect on progeny (egg) hatch rate. In conclusion, a simple change in A. franciscana egg texture and particle size (i.e., blending whole eggs into a dust-like powder) increases oviposition in C. maculata. Supplementing powdered eggs with 5% palmitic acid might accelerate oogenesis (egg maturation) in some females.
Abstract: In the present study, the effects of low (10 ng/bee) and high (100 ng/bee) doses of acetamiprid and deltamethrin insecticides on multi-trial learning and retrieval were evaluated in the honey bee Apis mellifera. After oral application, acetamiprid and deltamethrin at the concentrations used were not able to impair learning sessions. When the retention tests were performed 1 h, 6 h, and 24 h after learning, we found a significant difference between bees after learning sessions when drugs were applied 24 h before learning. Deltamethrin-treated bees were found to be more sensitive at 10 ng/bee and 100 ng/bee doses compared to acetamiprid-treated bees, only with amounts of 100 ng/bee and at 6 h and 24 h delays. When insecticides were applied during learning sessions, none of the tested insecticides was able to impair learning performance at 10 ng/bee or 100 ng/bee but retention performance was altered 24 h after learning sessions. Acetamiprid was the only one to impair retrieval at 10 ng/bee, whereas at 100 ng/bee an impairment of retrieval was found with both insecticides. The present results therefore suggest that acetamiprid and deltamethrin are able to impair retrieval performance in the honey bee Apis mellifera.
Abstract: Bed bug problems have been increasing since the 1980s, and accordingly, there have been intensive efforts to better understand their biology and behavior for control purposes. Understanding bed bug diffusion rates and dispersal patterns from one site to another (or lack thereof) is a key component in prevention and control campaigns. This study analyzed diffusion rates and dispersal patterns in a population of bed bugs, recently fed and unfed, in both one-dimensional and two-dimensional settings. When placed in the middle of a 71 cm × 2.7 cm artificial lane, approximately half of the bugs regardless of feeding status stayed at or near the release point during the 10 min observation periods, while about a fourth of them walked to the end of the lane. When placed in the middle of an arena measuring 51 cm × 76 cm and allowed to walk in any direction, approximately one-fourth of bed bugs, fed or unfed, still remained near their release point (no significant difference between fed or unfed). As for long-distance dispersal, 11/50 (22%) of recently fed bed bugs moved as far as possible in the arena during the 10 min replications, while only 2/50 (4%) unfed bed bugs moved to the maximum distance. This difference was significantly different (p < 0.0038), and indicates that unfed bed bugs did not move as far as recently fed ones. A mathematical diffusion model was used to quantify bed bug movements and an estimated diffusion rate range of 0.00006 cm2/s to 0.416 cm2/s was determined, which is almost no movement to a predicted root mean squared distance of approximately 19 cm per 10 min. The results of this study suggest that bed bugs, upon initial introduction into a new area, would have a difficult time traversing long distances when left alone to randomly disperse.
Abstract: Green peach aphid (Myzus persicae Sulzer) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) is a serious greenhouse pest with a short generation time, parthenogenetic reproduction and a broad host range. Banker plant systems are becoming a more common form of biological control for this pest. This system consists of grain “banker plants” infested with R. padi, an alternative hosts for the parasitoid Aphidius colemani. Thus A. colemani can reproduce on the banker plant when M. persicae populations are low. This system can increase pest suppression; however, like other biological control tools, efficacy is inconsistent. One reason is because several different grain species have been used. Our studies determined if there were benefits to planting interspecific mixture banker plants, similar to when open agricultural systems use mixed cropping. Our study found that although banker plants grow larger when planted as mixtures this added plant growth does not increase in the number of aphids, or mummies an individual banker plant can sustain. Rye banker plants grew larger, and sustained more mummies than the other species we tested, but barley banker plants resulted in a similar number of aphids in a more condensed area. Ultimately, we did not see any differences in pest suppression between monoculture banker plants, mixture banker plants, or our augmentative release treatment. However, using banker plants resulted in more female parasitoids than the augmentative release, a benefit to using banker plant systems.
Abstract: Non-target butterfly larvae may be harmed by feeding on host plants dusted with Bt maize pollen. Feeding patterns of larvae and their utilization of host plants can affect the adverse Bt impact because the maize pollen is distributed unequally on the plant. In a field study, we investigated the feeding of larvae of the Small Tortoiseshell, Aglais urticae, on nettles, Urtica dioica. Young larvae used smaller host plants than older larvae. In general, the position of the larvae was in the top part of the host plant, but older larvae showed a broader vertical distribution on the nettles. Leaf blades and leaf tips were the plant parts most often consumed. Leaf veins were consumed but midribs were fed on to a lesser extent than other plant veins, particularly by young larvae. The feeding behavior of the larvae may increase possible exposure to Bt maize pollen because pollen densities are expected to be higher on the top parts and along leaf veins of nettles.
Abstract: Many pathogens and parasites are present in host individuals and populations without any obvious signs of disease. This is particularly true for baculoviruses infecting lepidopteran hosts, where studies have shown that covert persistent viral infections are almost ubiquitous in many species. To date, the infection intensity of covert viruses has rarely been quantified. In this study, we investigated the dynamics of a covert baculovirus infection within the lepidopteran crop pest Spodoptera exempta. A real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) procedure using a 5' nuclease hydrolysis (TaqMan) probe was developed for specific detection and quantification of Spodoptera exempta nucleopolyhedrovirus (SpexNPV). The qPCR assay indicated that covert baculovirus dynamics varied considerably over the course of the host life-cycle, with infection load peaking in early larval instars and being lowest in adults and final-instar larvae. Adult dissections indicated that, contrary to expectation, viral load aggregation was highest in the head, wings and legs, and lowest in the thorax and abdomen. The data presented here have broad implications relating to our understanding of transmission patterns of baculoviruses and the role of covert infections in host-pathogen dynamics.