Abstract: Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri) transmits Huanglongbing, a devastating disease that threatens citrus trees worldwide. A better understanding of the psyllid’s host-plant selection process may lead to the development of more efficient means of monitoring it and predicting its movements. Since behavioral adaptations, such as associative learning, may facilitate recognition of suitable host-plants, we examined whether adult D. citri could be conditioned to visual and chemosensory stimuli from host and non-host-plant sources. Response was measured as the frequency of salivary sheaths, the residue of psyllid probing activity, in a line of emulsified wax on the surface of a test arena. The psyllids displayed both appetitive and aversive conditioning to two different chemosensory stimuli. They could also be conditioned to recognize a blue-colored probing substrate and their response to neutral visual cues was enhanced by chemosensory stimuli. Conditioned psyllids were sensitive to the proportion of chemosensory components present in binary mixtures. Naïve psyllids displayed strong to moderate innate biases to several of the test compounds. While innate responses are probably the psyllid’s primary behavioral mechanism for selecting host-plants, conditioning may enhance its ability to select host-plants during seasonal transitions and dispersal.
Abstract: Several factors affecting pheromone production by male pepper weevils, Anthonomus eugenii Cano (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) as well as collection efficiency were investigated. Factors studied included: porous polymer adsorbents (Tenax versus Super Q), male age, time of day, male density, and male diet. Super Q was found to be a superior adsorbent for the male-produced alcohols and geranic acid as well as the plant-produced E-β-ocimene. Pheromone production increased with male age up to about age 15 days old and then tapered off. Male pepper weevils produced the highest amount of pheromone between noon and 2 pm (i.e., 4 to 6 h after “lights on”) and were producing ca. 800 ng/h during this period. Thereafter, pheromone production decreased and was extremely low during the scotophase (i.e., ca. 12 ng/h). Male pepper weevil density had a significant effect on both release rate and pheromone composition. Pheromone production on a per male basis was highest for individual males and the percentage of geranic acid in the blend was lowest for individual males. Male pepper weevils produced only extremely low amounts of pheromone when feeding on artificial diet; however, they produced very high amounts when on fresh peppers. Together, this information will be useful in designing better attractant lures for pepper weevils.
Abstract: Tetraspanins are important conserved integral membrane proteins expressed in many organisms. Although there is limited knowledge about the full repertoire, evolution and structural characteristics of individual members in various organisms, data obtained so far show that tetraspanins play major roles in membrane biology, visual processing, memory, olfactory signal processing, and mechanosensory antennal inputs. Thus, these proteins are potential targets for control of insect pests. Here, we report that the genome of the tsetse fly, Glossina morsitans (Diptera: Glossinidae) encodes at least seventeen tetraspanins (GmTsps), all containing the signature features found in the tetraspanin superfamily members. Whereas six of the GmTsps have been previously reported, eleven could be classified as novel because their amino acid sequences do not map to characterized tetraspanins in the available protein data bases. We present a model of the GmTsps by using GmTsp42Ed, whose presence and expression has been recently detected by transcriptomics and proteomics analyses of G. morsitans. Phylogenetically, the identified GmTsps segregate into three major clusters. Structurally, the GmTsps are largely similar to vertebrate tetraspanins. In view of the exploitation of tetraspanins by organisms for survival, these proteins could be targeted using specific antibodies, recombinant large extracellular loop (LEL) domains, small-molecule mimetics and siRNAs as potential novel and efficacious putative targets to combat African trypanosomiasis by killing the tsetse fly vector.
Abstract: The tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae), is a devastating pest that develops principally on solanaceous plants throughout South and Central America and Europe. In this study, we tested the influence of three levels of T. absoluta infestations on the attraction and oviposition preference of adult T. absoluta. Three infestation levels (i.e., non-infested plants, plants infested with 10 T. absoluta larvae, and plants infested with 20 T. absoluta larvae) were presented by pairs in a flying tunnel to groups of T. absoluta adults. We found no differences in terms of adult attraction for either level of infestations. However, female oviposition choice is influenced by larvae density on tomato plants. We discuss the underlying mechanisms and propose recommendations for further research.
Abstract: The density of eggs and nymphs of Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) biotype B and the percent parasitism of the nymphs were measured from specimens collected on nine species of weeds, commonly found in west central Florida during the spring and summer of 2012 and 2013. The weeds were direct seeded in 2012 and grown as transplants in 2013 for Randomized Complete Block design experiments. The leaf area of each whole-plant sample was measured and the B. tabaci density parameters were converted to numbers per 100 cm2. In June and July, 2013, whole-plant samples became too large to examine entirely, thus a representative portion of a plant totaling about 1000 cm2 was sampled. Egg and nymph densities and percent parasitism varied greatly among weed species, and were higher overall in 2012 than in 2013. The highest densities of eggs and nymphs were measured on Abutilon theophrasti, Cassia obtusifolia and Emilia fosbergii each year. Lower densities of immature B. tabaci were measured on most dates for Amaranthus retroflexus, Bidens alba, Ipomoea lacunosa, Sesbania exaltata and Sida acuta. Nymph to egg ratios of 1:4 were observed on A. theophrasti and S. exaltata in 2012, while less than one nymph per ten eggs was observed overall on A. retroflexus, E. fosbergii and I. lacunosa. In 2012, parasitism rates of 32.3% were measured for B. alba, 23.4% for C. obtusifolia and 17.5% for S. acuta. Of the 206 parasitoids reared out over two seasons, 96.6% were Encarsia spp. and the remainder Eretmocerus spp. The role of weeds in managing B. tabaci is discussed.
Abstract: Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L. and Cimex hemipterus F.) are among the most difficult urban pests to manage. Many essential oil-based bed bug control products that are considered reduced risk to mammals compared to synthetic insect neurotoxins have become commercially available, but their effectiveness as a stand-alone control method is unknown. This study assessed the field efficacy of an essential oil-based bed bug control product (EcoRaider; a.i. 1% geraniol + 1% cedar oil + 2% sodium lauryl sulfate) compared to a pyrethroid and neonicotinoid mixture spray (0.075% Temprid SC; a.i. beta-cyfluthrin + imidacloprid). After 12 weeks, the three treatments—EcoRaider, Temprid SC, and EcoRaider + Temprid SC caused 92.5 ± 2.7, 92.9 ± 3.0, and 91.7% ± 2.7% bed bug count reduction, respectively. No significant differences existed in the bed bug reduction among the treatments. Bed bugs were eliminated from only 22% of the treated apartments. Among those still with bed bugs, 76% of the residents did not know bed bugs were present. We documented the residents’ self-control practices and discussed the potential of using essential oil-based insecticides in bed bug management programs to minimize the health risks to building occupants and pets and to slow down the development of insecticide resistance.