Ecological Management of Pests

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Pest and Disease Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2022) | Viewed by 36541

Special Issue Editors

Institute of Plan Protection, Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Science, Beijing 100097, China
Interests: biological control; natural enemy; insect physiology; ecosystem ecology; functional ecology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research), University of Côte d'Azur, CNRS, UMR 1355-7254, 06903 Sophia Antipolis, France
Interests: arthropod ecology; community ecology; ecotoxicology; biological control; integrated pest management; sublethal effects; parasitoid specialization
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Conventional chemical pest management systems are fast to reduce pest populations but ignore natural enemies, pollinators and crops in the ecological system, and therefore are not actually capable of the sustainable management of pests. The loss of the effectiveness of many insecticides due to the evolution of resistant pest populations is especially concerning, causing pests to become more rampant and difficult to control.

With the strengthening of people’s consciousness of environment protection and the development of green agriculture, the challenge is to design sustainable ecological pest management capable of meeting the requirements of increased biodiversity conservation and food production.

Ecological pest regulation is a rapidly growing field of fundamental science and applied research. As many effective conventional pesticides are being restricted in more and more countries, biological control is moving to the center of attention for an increasing number of professionals in agriculture and horticulture.

We believe that innovative application techniques that evaluate ecological pest regulation at an appropriate level can significantly improve the use of natural enemies to control pests and can assist in the growth of this field.

This Special Issue will focus on the underlying mechanisms of synergy, additive effect, and antagonism among the natural enemies of insect pests and the evaluation of farm-scale management practices such as flower strips, beetle banks, intercropping or inter-row vegetation, among ecosystem services and concertation among multiple stakeholders for the durable management of resources across the explored territories to meet the requirements of biodiversity conservation and food production.

Dr. Su Wang
Dr. Nicolas Desneux
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • ecological regulation
  • pest population
  • natural enemies
  • parasitoids
  • permaculture
  • sustainable development

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 1792 KiB  
Article
Interspecific Competition between Invasive Spodoptera frugiperda and Indigenous Helicoverpa armigera in Maize Fields of China
by Yifei Song, Hui Li, Limei He, Haowen Zhang, Shengyuan Zhao, Xianming Yang and Kongming Wu
Agronomy 2023, 13(3), 911; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13030911 - 19 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1787
Abstract
Since the fall armyworm (FAW) Spodoptera frugiperda invaded China, it has coexisted in maize fields with the native cotton bollworm (CBW) Helicoverpa armigera, but the population dynamics and competitive mechanisms between the two pests are not well understood. We evaluated interspecific competition [...] Read more.
Since the fall armyworm (FAW) Spodoptera frugiperda invaded China, it has coexisted in maize fields with the native cotton bollworm (CBW) Helicoverpa armigera, but the population dynamics and competitive mechanisms between the two pests are not well understood. We evaluated interspecific competition between FAW and CBW by analyzing their bidirectional predation in the laboratory, survival rates when their larvae co-infested the same maize plant, and the population dynamics of both in the same maize field. In the predation tests, FAW and CBW larvae preyed on each other. However, the theoretical maximum predation of sixth-instar FAW larvae preying on first–second-instar CBW larvae was 71.4 and 32.3 individuals, respectively, while that of CBW was 38.5 and 28.6 individuals. The field co-infestation trials showed that the older larvae had a higher survival rate when the two pests co-infested the same maize plants, but young larval survival was higher for FAW than CBW. In the maize field from 2019 to 2021 in southern Yunnan, FAW populations were significantly higher than those of CBW. Our findings suggested that FAW larvae had a predation advantage over CBW, which might be an important reason for its dominance in Chinese maize fields. This result provides a scientific basis for developing a monitoring technology and for the integrated management of pests in invaded habitats of FAW. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Management of Pests)
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11 pages, 2713 KiB  
Article
Microwaves Induce Histological Alteration of Ovaries and Testis in Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Oliv. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)
by Manuela Martano, Rita Massa, Brunella Restucci, Emilio Caprio, Raffaele Griffo, Karen Power and Paola Maiolino
Agronomy 2023, 13(2), 420; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13020420 - 31 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1569
Abstract
The Red Palm Weevil (RPW) is one of the major pests of palms, frequently leading to the plants death. Action plans and the development of bio/physical strategies to contrast RPW diffusions are strongly recommended due to the serious concerns related to environmental pollution [...] Read more.
The Red Palm Weevil (RPW) is one of the major pests of palms, frequently leading to the plants death. Action plans and the development of bio/physical strategies to contrast RPW diffusions are strongly recommended due to the serious concerns related to environmental pollution and insects’ resistance to chemicals. In the present study, we investigated morphological alterations of the ovaries and testes in adult RPW exposed to 2.45 GHz for 5, 15, and 30 s. During these treatments, the relative increase in temperature and the days of survival after irradiation were monitored. Then, RPWs were processed for macroscopical and microscopical analysis. Histological lesions of the ovaries and testes were characterized by the degeneration and necrosis of germinal cells, which increased with the increase in the time of irradiation and the temperature. By the same token, an increase in the temperature of irradiated insects was associated with a decrease in their survival time. These observations lead us to conclude that MWs could represent a useful tool for reducing or eliminating the reproductive capacity of this dreaded insect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Management of Pests)
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13 pages, 2572 KiB  
Article
Ladybird-Mediated Indirect Interactions between Two Aphid Species When Using a Banker Plant System
by Yajie Yang, Jie Wang, Yingying Mi, Junjie Gu, Giovanni Benelli, Nicolas Desneux, Su Wang, Shu Li and Yanli Yue
Agronomy 2022, 12(12), 3134; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12123134 - 9 Dec 2022
Viewed by 2176
Abstract
Banker plant systems have the advantages of introducing natural enemies preventively and maintaining by providing alternative prey, thus controlling the pests sustainably. Banker plant systems are usually composed of three factors: a banker (secondary) plant, an alternative prey, and a shared predator (attacking [...] Read more.
Banker plant systems have the advantages of introducing natural enemies preventively and maintaining by providing alternative prey, thus controlling the pests sustainably. Banker plant systems are usually composed of three factors: a banker (secondary) plant, an alternative prey, and a shared predator (attacking an alternative prey on the secondary plant, and the targeted pest on the crop). However, for most banker plant systems, there is a lack of understanding regarding the dynamic relationship among these elements, with detrimental effects on practical applications. Therefore, in this study, the control of Myzus persicae on Capsicum annum by the Coccinella septempunctataMegoura japonicaVicia faba banker plant system was used as the research system. The effects of different release time of predators, different initial numbers of alternative prey (Me. japonica) and different initial ratios of target pests/alternative prey on the indirect interaction of two aphids and the biological control effect of shared predators were tested. The occurrence of indirect interactions between the two aphid preys, the impact on population dynamics, and biological control effectiveness of the shared predator C. septempunctata were investigated. When the initial numbers of both species of aphids were equal (200 each), the delay between aphid and C. septempunctata introduction in the cage had no effect on My. persicae, but Me. japonica showed lower numbers when testing the least time between predatory introductions. When the numbers of the two aphids were manipulated, the My. persicae population was significantly reduced by the predator only at a ratio of My. persicae to Me. japonica < 1, while initial ratios ≥ 1 enabled My. persicae population growth. In 1–6 days, the control effect of C. septempunctata was the best. Principal component analysis showed that the experimental time, initial numbers of Me. japonica, and relative numbers of Me. japonica affected the predation of My. persicae by C. septempunctata. In addition, when the initial aphid ratio was greater than 1/4, C. septempunctata was able to effectively control My. persicae. Overall, our study confirmed the number-mediated indirect interaction (apparent competition) relationship and its impact on prey population dynamics. We provide useful information for optimizing banker plant systems, to boost biocontrol of aphid pests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Management of Pests)
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13 pages, 1142 KiB  
Article
Climate Change Promotes the Large-Scale Population Growth of Grapholita molesta (Busck) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) within Peach Orchards in China
by Hongchen Li, Qiulian Peng, Su Wang, Fan Zhang, Xiaojun Guo, Quan Jiang, Ningxing Huang and Hu Li
Agronomy 2022, 12(12), 2954; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12122954 - 25 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1622
Abstract
Cosmopolitan agricultural herbivorous pests are provided with a wide range of potential hosts. Therefore, they have high carrying capacity, and can cause extremely severe damage in agroecosystems. Understanding the ecological mechanisms of their population dynamics, especially as they relate to large-scale meteorological variations [...] Read more.
Cosmopolitan agricultural herbivorous pests are provided with a wide range of potential hosts. Therefore, they have high carrying capacity, and can cause extremely severe damage in agroecosystems. Understanding the ecological mechanisms of their population dynamics, especially as they relate to large-scale meteorological variations and geographical landscape influences, can help us to reveal how they became such important pests. The oriental fruit moth, Grapholita molesta, is a typical example of a significant pest distributed on a large scale, which is capable of damaging fruit trees of economic value such as peach, apple, pear, etc. This pest not only occurs in China, but exists on all continents except Antarctica. In order to prevent major pests and diseases, a system of plant protection has been established gradually in peach orchards within the Modern Agro-industry Technology Research System in China (CARS) since 2009. In the system, we collected the monitoring data of G. molesta by using pheromone traps at 17 experimental stations, and then used the corresponding climate data (temperature and precipitation) to explore the link between climate factors using mixed models. The results show that both monthly mean temperature and precipitation had a significant positive correlation with the occurrence of G. molesta. Therefore, global warming with higher levels of precipitation may favor G. molesta, allowing it to outperform other potential pests at the population level in peach orchards, on a large scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Management of Pests)
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12 pages, 241 KiB  
Article
Greener European Agriculture? Evaluating EU Member States’ Transition Efforts to Integrated Pest Management through Their National Action Plans
by Florența-Elena Helepciuc and Arpad Todor
Agronomy 2022, 12(10), 2438; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12102438 - 8 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1649
Abstract
Integrated pest management (IPM) is among the most promising approaches for transforming today’s agronomical practices toward sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture. Aiming to become a global environmental leader, in 2009, the European Union (EU) embraced the idea of making IPM practices ubiquitously used [...] Read more.
Integrated pest management (IPM) is among the most promising approaches for transforming today’s agronomical practices toward sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture. Aiming to become a global environmental leader, in 2009, the European Union (EU) embraced the idea of making IPM practices ubiquitously used by 2014 in all EU Member States (EU MSs). Through Directive 2009/128/EC (the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD), the EU required EU MSs to structure their transformative measures in National Action Plans (NAPs) in a comprehensive effort. These documents have a fundamental role in orienting the plans and activities of national stakeholders, such as agronomists, researchers, and local and national-level institutions. We analyze and compare the second-generation NAPs (2019–2022) of 10 EU MSs to assess their strengths and weakness and their modifications from the first generation of NAPs (2009). We advance several recommendations on how to make them more valuable instruments in structuring activities towards achieving the goals of the SUD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Management of Pests)
13 pages, 1505 KiB  
Article
Local Agricultural Management Filters Morphological Traits of the South American Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus palmarum L.; Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in Ornamental Palm Plantations
by Moises Ponce-Méndez, Miguel A. García-Martínez, Ricardo Serna-Lagunes, Rodrigo Lasa-Covarrubias, Ehdibaldo Presa-Parra, Joaquin Murguía-González and Carlos Llarena-Hernández
Agronomy 2022, 12(10), 2371; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12102371 - 30 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2113
Abstract
Insect pests show phenotypic plasticity as a function of resource availability and limiting conditions. Although Rhynchophorus palmarum displays high variation in certain morphological traits, it is still not clear how and which of these are being filtered along agricultural management gradients in palm [...] Read more.
Insect pests show phenotypic plasticity as a function of resource availability and limiting conditions. Although Rhynchophorus palmarum displays high variation in certain morphological traits, it is still not clear how and which of these are being filtered along agricultural management gradients in palm plantations. This study assesses the influence of biophysical structure of ornamental palm plantations and agrochemical use on morphological traits of adults in 15 permanent plots of ornamental palm plantations in Veracruz, Mexico. A total of 4972 adults were and their body length, pronotum width, rostrum length, and mesothorax depth were measured. Body length and mesothorax depth of adults of both sexes were greater in plantations with a high diversity of palm species and frequency of fertilizer use. Rostrum length of females increased as a function of palm density, and pronotum width of both sexes was positively related with the use of insecticides. Local characteristics of agricultural management of palm plantations might filter integrated, adaptative, and environment-specific phenotypes. This is the first ecological study of the south American palm weevil that provides new insights on the current intensive management of ornamental palm plantations that far from controlling, benefits current geographic expansion, demographic outbreak, and economic impact of this pest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Management of Pests)
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17 pages, 1716 KiB  
Article
At Which Spatial Scale Does Crop Diversity Enhance Natural Enemy Populations and Pest Control? An Experiment in a Mosaic Cropping System
by Coline C. Jaworski, Eva Thomine, Adrien Rusch, Anne-Violette Lavoir, Chunli Xiu, Di Ning, Yanhui Lu, Su Wang and Nicolas Desneux
Agronomy 2022, 12(8), 1973; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12081973 - 21 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2090
Abstract
The importance of plant richness to enhance the presence, biodiversity and efficiency of natural enemies in agricultural systems has largely been studied and demonstrated these last decades. Planting and preserving non-crop plants or manipulating crop richness in fields are practices that have proven [...] Read more.
The importance of plant richness to enhance the presence, biodiversity and efficiency of natural enemies in agricultural systems has largely been studied and demonstrated these last decades. Planting and preserving non-crop plants or manipulating crop richness in fields are practices that have proven their efficiency. However, the impact of crop-richness continuity in space and time on pests and natural enemies at a landscape scale remains poorly studied. In a two-year study, we assessed the effect of crop richness (single crop vs. multiple crops) on pest and natural enemy abundance and spillover in a field experiment in north-east China. Overall, we found crop diversity had a limited impact on pest and natural enemy abundance at the spatial scale tested (0.025 vs. 0.2 ha). The total pest and natural enemy abundances were not different between single-crop and multi-crop plots in either year, and the community composition at the functional group level was mostly determined by the crop but not crop diversity. However, we found that crop diversity influenced the numeric response of ladybirds to aphids in wheat; their negative response (higher abundance where aphid abundance was lower, suggesting predation) was attenuated in multi-crop plots (no correlation of aphid and ladybird abundance, suggesting the use of alternative resources). This pattern was not found in maize. Finally, crop succession enhanced the spillover of ladybirds from wheat and maize to cotton plots but with limited benefits for aphid control. Because of these limited impacts, we hypothesized that crop diversity may benefit natural enemy populations and enhance pest control at larger spatial scales; while we found similar abundances of ladybirds between our small (0.025–0.2 ha) plots and in large (2 ha) close-by cotton fields, aphid abundances were more than ten times higher in large cotton fields. Our study highlights the need to accurately estimate the spatial scale at which crop biodiversity may benefit pest control, in relation to the ecology of the target pest and natural enemies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Management of Pests)
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16 pages, 1461 KiB  
Article
Multigenerational Insecticide Hormesis Enhances Fitness Traits in a Key Egg Parasitoid, Trichogramma chilonis Ishii
by Aishwarya Ray, Basana-Gowda Gadratagi, Dhanendra Kumar Rana, Farman Ullah, Totan Adak, Guru-Pirasanna-Pandi Govindharaj, Naveenkumar B Patil, Annamalai Mahendiran, Nicolas Desneux and Prakash Chandra Rath
Agronomy 2022, 12(6), 1392; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12061392 - 9 Jun 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2366
Abstract
Hormesis for the intractable pests can be dreadful, but for natural enemies of pests, it is a puissant strategy in optimizing their mass rearing. We report multigenerational stimulatory effects of widely used insecticide, imidacloprid, on the demographic traits of an important egg parasitoid [...] Read more.
Hormesis for the intractable pests can be dreadful, but for natural enemies of pests, it is a puissant strategy in optimizing their mass rearing. We report multigenerational stimulatory effects of widely used insecticide, imidacloprid, on the demographic traits of an important egg parasitoid Trichogramma chilonis Ishii. The study investigated the consequences of sublethal (LC5), low lethal (LC30), and median lethal (LC50) concentrations, as well as a control, for five continuous generations (F1 to F5). The initial bioassay experiments revealed imidacloprid exhibiting the highest toxicity for the parasitoid with a LC50 of 2 µg·L−1, whereas LC5 and LC30 were 0.07 µg·L−1 and 0.6 µg·L−1, respectively. Among biological traits, compared to the F1 individuals, a substantial increase in the fecundity of T. chilonis was observed in the F5 individuals by 54.92% and 46.81% when exposed to LC5 and LC30, respectively (p < 0.00001). Further, there was a significant enhancement in the adult longevity as well as oviposition days of the F5 individuals at both these concentrations. Considering the population traits, along with gross reproductive rate (GRR), net reproductive rate (R0) was also enhanced by both LC5 and LC30 in F5 individuals than F1; whereas the intrinsic rate of increase (r) and finite rate of increase (λ) were enhanced only at LC30 upon comparing with control. On the other hand, LC50 exposure to T. chilonis did not result in notable differences in biological or population traits when compared across generations (F1 and F5). Low and sublethal concentrations of imidacloprid did not have a major influence on demographic traits of T. chilonis at initial generations of exposure but can induce hormetic effects in the subsequent generations. Overall, imidacloprid-induced hormesis stimulating the development of T. chilonis might be helpful under circumstances of mild exposure of imidacloprid in fields and could be leveraged for its mass rearing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Management of Pests)
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Review

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16 pages, 1208 KiB  
Review
Biological Control of Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda
by Arzlan Abbas, Farman Ullah, Muhammad Hafeez, Xiao Han, Muhammad Zulqar Nain Dara, Hina Gul and Chen Ri Zhao
Agronomy 2022, 12(11), 2704; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12112704 - 31 Oct 2022
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 12786
Abstract
The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, is one of the most important invasive pests worldwide, resulting in considerable losses in host crops. FAW comprises two genetic strains, such as the “rice strain”, which prefers rice and other grass species, and the “maize [...] Read more.
The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, is one of the most important invasive pests worldwide, resulting in considerable losses in host crops. FAW comprises two genetic strains, such as the “rice strain”, which prefers rice and other grass species, and the “maize strain”, which feeds upon maize and sorghum. Potential control measures are generally more applicable to the farmers who lack financial assets to buy chemical insecticides or costly pure seeds. The adverse effects of pesticides on the ecosystem and human’s health and the development of resistance to insect pests have exaggerated efforts to find an alternative strategy that is cost-effective, low-risk and target-specific. Therefore, biological control is widely considered as one of the most important options for insect pest management. This comprehensive review amasses the information on biological control in all phases of their development, including predators, parasitoids, entomopathogenic fungi, viruses, nematodes, bacteria, and biopesticides, with a special focus on their effectiveness against FAW. The findings regarding biological control are briefly discussed in light of improving management programs of the invasive pest S. frugiperda. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Management of Pests)
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17 pages, 1065 KiB  
Review
Sustainable Management of Invasive Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda
by Revappa Mohan Kumar, Basana-Gowda Gadratagi, Venkatesh Paramesh, Parveen Kumar, Yamanura Madivalar, Nagesha Narayanappa and Farman Ullah
Agronomy 2022, 12(9), 2150; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12092150 - 9 Sep 2022
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 7078
Abstract
The fall armyworm of maize, Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) (Lepidoptera; Noctuidae) is capable of causing a 100% yield loss due to its unforeseen occurrence from the seedling to the cob formation stage. To manage this serious pest, maize growers are tending to [...] Read more.
The fall armyworm of maize, Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) (Lepidoptera; Noctuidae) is capable of causing a 100% yield loss due to its unforeseen occurrence from the seedling to the cob formation stage. To manage this serious pest, maize growers are tending to apply a high dosage of pesticides. This indiscriminate usage of pesticides has resulted in an unacceptable amount of insect resurgence in maize, harming maize production and consumption. In this review, we prepared a list of practical pest management options, including host plant resistance, agronomical, cultural, biological, botanical, chemical, and biotechnology approaches. It was found that cultivation of tolerant genotypes, adjusting sowing windows, and practicing specific intercultural and cropping systems measures in addition to chemical and non-chemical pest management strategies showed encouraging results for sustainable management of fall armyworm, which could protect the crop. This review highlights novel and successful management options advocated in various parts of the world. Recommendations documented in this paper would certainly pave the way for successful management of fall armyworm in maize and other concerned crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Management of Pests)
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