Special Issue "Invasive Insect Species"

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2016).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Mary L. Cornelius
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
USDA ARS Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, MD, USA
Interests: biological control; integrated pest management; natural enemies; invasive species; behavioral ecology of insect parasitoids and predators
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Invasive insect species have far reaching ecological effects on native habitats. Invasive herbivorous insects cause severe economic damage to crops, forests, and urban landscapes. Structural infestations by invasive termite species result in extensive economic losses to homeowners. In some cases, invasive insects act as vectors of plant and animal diseases.

Once invasive insects become established, it is challenging to find effective methods of pest control. Integrated pest management methods need to be developed to avoid the widespread use of insecticides and to minimize effects on non-target organisms. Several classical biological control programs have been highly successful. However, classical biological control programs can be difficult to implement. The deliberate introduction of exotic natural enemies involves risks of non-target effects. Also, introduced biological control agents often fail to become established throughout the range of the target pest. Native natural enemies may be able to develop new associations with exotic pests and act as biological control agents. Other approaches include the use of microbial insecticides and the use of lure and kill strategies that employ pheromone traps or baiting systems which directly target the exotic invasive pest.

Articles in this special issue will focus on the ecological and economic impacts of invasive insect species and on the development of management strategies to suppress populations and to prevent the spread of invasive species into new areas.

Prof. Dr. Mary L. Cornelius
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Insects is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biological invasions
  • biological control
  • new associations
  • non-target effects
  • host-parasitoid interactions
  • integrated pest management
  • pheromone lures

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Transcriptome Survey Spanning Life Stages and Sexes of the Harlequin Bug, Murgantia histrionica
Insects 2017, 8(2), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects8020055 - 25 May 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
The harlequin bug, Murgantia histrionica (Hahn), is an agricultural pest in the continental United States, particularly in southern states. Reliable gene sequence data are especially useful to the development of species-specific, environmentally friendly molecular biopesticides and effective biolures for this insect. Here, mRNAs [...] Read more.
The harlequin bug, Murgantia histrionica (Hahn), is an agricultural pest in the continental United States, particularly in southern states. Reliable gene sequence data are especially useful to the development of species-specific, environmentally friendly molecular biopesticides and effective biolures for this insect. Here, mRNAs were sampled from whole insects at the 2nd and 4th nymphal instars, as well as sexed adults, and sequenced using Illumina RNA-Seq technology. A global assembly of these data identified 72,540 putative unique transcripts bearing high levels of similarity to transcripts identified in other taxa, with over 99% of conserved single-copy orthologs among insects being detected. Gene ontology and protein family analyses were conducted to explore the functional potential of the harlequin bug’s gene repertoire, and phylogenetic analyses were conducted on gene families germane to xenobiotic detoxification, including glutathione S-transferases, carboxylesterases and cytochrome P450s. Genic content in harlequin bug was compared with that of the closely related invasive pest, the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Stål). Quantitative analyses of harlequin bug gene expression levels, experimentally validated using quantitative real-time PCR, identified genes differentially expressed between life stages and/or sexes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Insect Species)
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Open AccessArticle
Isolating Spermathecae and Determining Mating Status of Drosophila suzukii: A Protocol for Tissue Dissection and Its Applications
Insects 2017, 8(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects8010032 - 10 Mar 2017
Cited by 6
Abstract
The spotted wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae), is an emerging invasive pest, which attacks a wide variety of fruits and berries. Although previous studies have focused on different aspects of D. suzukii reproductive biology, there are no protocols available for determining the [...] Read more.
The spotted wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae), is an emerging invasive pest, which attacks a wide variety of fruits and berries. Although previous studies have focused on different aspects of D. suzukii reproductive biology, there are no protocols available for determining the mating status of D. suzukii females and drosophilids in general. In this study, a step-by-step protocol for tissue dissection, isolating spermathecae, and determining the mating status of females was developed specifically for D. suzukii. This protocol is an effective and relatively quick method for determining female mating status. It has important applications from exploring reproductive output of D. suzukii females to understanding the biology of D. suzukii winter morph, which presumably plays the main role in the overwintering of this invasive species. We demonstrated applicability of this protocol for both field collected flies and flies reared in the lab, including fly specimens stored on a long-term basis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Insect Species)
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Open AccessArticle
Phylogenetic Relationships among Whiteflies in the Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) Species Complex from Major Cassava Growing Areas in Kenya
Insects 2017, 8(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects8010025 - 28 Feb 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
Whiteflies, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) are major insect pests that affect many crops such as cassava, tomato, beans, cotton, cucurbits, potato, sweet potato, and ornamental crops. Bemisia tabaci transmits viral diseases, namely cassava mosaic and cassava brown streak diseases, which are the main constraints [...] Read more.
Whiteflies, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) are major insect pests that affect many crops such as cassava, tomato, beans, cotton, cucurbits, potato, sweet potato, and ornamental crops. Bemisia tabaci transmits viral diseases, namely cassava mosaic and cassava brown streak diseases, which are the main constraints to cassava production, causing huge losses to many small-scale farmers. The aim of this work was to determine the phylogenetic relationships among Bemisia tabaci species in major cassava growing areas of Kenya. Surveys were carried out between 2013 and 2015 in major cassava growing areas (Western, Nyanza, Eastern, and Coast regions), for cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and cassava brown streak disease (CBSD). Mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (mtCOI-DNA) was used to determine the genetic diversity of B. tabaci. Phylogenetic trees were constructed using Bayesian methods to understand the genetic diversity across the study regions. Phylogenetic analysis revealed two B. tabaci species present in Kenya, sub-Saharan Africa 1 and 2 comprising five distinct clades (A–E) with percent sequence similarity ranging from 97.7 % to 99.5%. Clades B, C, D, and E are predominantly distributed in the Western and Nyanza regions of Kenya whereas clade B is dominantly found along the coast, the eastern region, and parts of Nyanza. Our B. tabaci clade A groups with sub-Saharan Africa 2-(SSA2) recorded a percent sequence similarity of 99.5%. In this study, we also report the identification of SSA2 after a 15 year absence in Kenya. The SSA2 species associated with CMD has been found in the Western region of Kenya bordering Uganda. More information is needed to determine if these species are differentially involved in the epidemiology of the cassava viruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Insect Species)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Distribution, Pest Status and Fungal Associates of Euwallacea nr. fornicatus in Florida Avocado Groves
Insects 2016, 7(4), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects7040055 - 14 Oct 2016
Cited by 19
Abstract
Members of a complex of cryptic species, that correspond morphologically to the ambrosia beetle Euwallacea fornicatus (Eichhoff) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae), were recently found attacking avocado (Persea americana Mill.) in Israel and California. In early 2016, an outbreak of another member of this [...] Read more.
Members of a complex of cryptic species, that correspond morphologically to the ambrosia beetle Euwallacea fornicatus (Eichhoff) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae), were recently found attacking avocado (Persea americana Mill.) in Israel and California. In early 2016, an outbreak of another member of this species complex was detected infesting approximately 1500 avocado trees in an avocado orchard at Homestead, Florida. An area-wide survey was conducted in commercial avocado groves of Miami-Dade County, Florida to determine the distribution and abundance of E. nr. fornicatus, to identify different populations of E. nr. fornicatus and their fungal associates, and to assess the extent of damage to avocado trees. Ewallacea nr. fornicatus were captured in 31 of the 33 sampled sites. A sample of 35 beetles from six different locations was identified as E. nr. fornicatus sp. #2, which is genetically distinct from the species causing damage in California and Israel. Eleven fungal associates were identified: an unknown Fusarium sp., AF-8, AF-6, Graphium euwallaceae, Acremonium sp. Acremonium morum, Acremonium masseei, Elaphocordyceps sp. and three yeast species. The unknown Fusarium isolates were the most abundant and frequently found fungus species associated with adult beetles and lesions surrounding the beetle galleries. In addition to fungal associates, three bacteria species were found associated with adult E. nr. fornicatus. Visual inspections detected significant damage in only two orchards. A large number of beetles were captured in locations with no apparent damage on the avocado trees suggesting that E. nr. fornicatus are associated with other host(s) outside the groves or with dead trees or branches inside the groves. More research is needed to determine the potential threat E. nr. fornicatus and its fungal associates pose to the avocado industry and agricultural and natural ecosystems in Florida. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Insect Species)
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Open AccessCommunication
Impact of an Invasive Insect and Plant Defense on a Native Forest Defoliator
Insects 2016, 7(3), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects7030045 - 13 Sep 2016
Cited by 5
Abstract
Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis [L.] Carriére) in the United States is threatened by the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae Annand). The native hemlock looper (Lambdina fiscellaria Guenée) also appears to have played a role in previous population declines of [...] Read more.
Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis [L.] Carriére) in the United States is threatened by the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae Annand). The native hemlock looper (Lambdina fiscellaria Guenée) also appears to have played a role in previous population declines of this conifer. Although these two insects co-occur in much of the adelgid’s invaded range, their interactions remain unstudied. We assessed looper performance and preference on both uninfested and adelgid-infested foliage from adelgid-susceptible hemlocks, as well as on uninfested foliage from an eastern hemlock that is naturally adelgid-resistant. Larvae reared on uninfested foliage from adelgid-susceptible hemlocks experienced 60% mortality within the first two weeks of the experiment, and pupated at a lower weight than larvae fed adelgid-infested foliage. Despite differences in foliage source, this first look and strong pattern suggests that the hemlock looper performs better (pupates earlier, weighs more) on adelgid-infested foliage. In addition, trends suggested that larvae reared on foliage from the adelgid-resistant tree survived better, pupated earlier, and weighed more than in the other treatments. Larvae preferred adelgid-resistant over adelgid-susceptible foliage. Our results suggest that looper perform slightly better on adelgid-infested foliage and that plant resistance to xylem-feeding adelgid may increase susceptibility to foliar-feeding looper larvae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Insect Species)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Economic Impact of the Introduction and Establishment of Drosophila suzukii on Sweet Cherry Production in Switzerland
Insects 2017, 8(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects8010018 - 08 Feb 2017
Cited by 37
Abstract
First detected in Switzerland in 2011, the invasive Drosophila suzukii, spotted wing drosophila, has caused recurring costs for growers of berries and fruit. Recommended management approaches rely on a set of methods, tailored to suit crop requirements under the prevailing local conditions. [...] Read more.
First detected in Switzerland in 2011, the invasive Drosophila suzukii, spotted wing drosophila, has caused recurring costs for growers of berries and fruit. Recommended management approaches rely on a set of methods, tailored to suit crop requirements under the prevailing local conditions. Control of D. suzukii represents a substantial economic burden for growers, in terms of material, equipment, new infrastructure and extra labour. However, those growers who invest wisely to deliver unblemished produce are rewarded with high payoffs. We present insights from a growers’ survey conducted in 2015 and 2016 to gauge the impact of the introduction and establishment of D. suzukii on Swiss sweet cherry production. The surveyed growers (111 in 2015 and 298 in 2016) observed the recommended surveillance, sanitation and control measures. The use of insecticides (78% and 79% of respondents in 2015 and 2016, respectively) and the harvest of all fruits (93% and 59% of respondents in 2015 and 2016, respectively) were the most widespread methods used to reduce damage. Nearly one-third of the respondents set up enclosure nets. Our economic evaluation of different scenarios provides a quantitative indication of the potentially incurred costs. We argue for enhanced stakeholder involvement to raise the acceptance of integrated pest management practices, and to inform research and outreach by providing insights into the motivations and barriers to adoption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Insect Species)
Open AccessReview
Potential Hybridization between Two Invasive Termite Species, Coptotermes formosanus and C. gestroi (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae), and Its Biological and Economic Implications
Insects 2017, 8(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects8010014 - 25 Jan 2017
Cited by 7
Abstract
The Asian subterranean termite, Coptotermes gestroi, is a tropical species but has increasingly been collected from the subtropics in recent years, making it sympatric to the Formosan subterranean termite, C. formosanus in at least three areas, Taiwan, Hawaii, and Florida. Simultaneous flights [...] Read more.
The Asian subterranean termite, Coptotermes gestroi, is a tropical species but has increasingly been collected from the subtropics in recent years, making it sympatric to the Formosan subterranean termite, C. formosanus in at least three areas, Taiwan, Hawaii, and Florida. Simultaneous flights by these two species were observed since 2013 in South Florida, during which interspecies tandems were observed. Laboratory mating of C. formosanus and C. gestroi alates produced hybrid incipient colonies of larger population size. Studies are underway to examine the presence in the field of hybrid colonies in sympatric areas of Taiwan and Florida. Other biological characteristics of C. formosanus × C. gestroi hybrids being studied include temperature tolerance and preference, colony growth rate, wood-consumption rate, and reproductive fertility. This current research aims to determine the potential establishment of a hybrid termite population in south Florida and Taiwan. It investigates the risk of introgressive hybridization in field populations, with an emphasis on its potential ecological, evolutionary, and economic consequences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Insect Species)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Crapemyrtle Bark Scale: A New Threat for Crapemyrtles, a Popular Landscape Plant in the U.S.
Insects 2016, 7(4), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects7040078 - 16 Dec 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
Crapemyrtle bark scale, Acanthococcus (=Eriococcus) lagerstroemiae (Kuwana) (Hemiptera: Eriococcidae), is a newly introduced insect pest on crapemyrtles, Lagerstroemia spp. (Myrtales: Lythraceae), one of the most popular flowering shrubs in the U.S. Since first detected in Texas in 2004, this pest has [...] Read more.
Crapemyrtle bark scale, Acanthococcus (=Eriococcus) lagerstroemiae (Kuwana) (Hemiptera: Eriococcidae), is a newly introduced insect pest on crapemyrtles, Lagerstroemia spp. (Myrtales: Lythraceae), one of the most popular flowering shrubs in the U.S. Since first detected in Texas in 2004, this pest has spread to twelve states causing losses to stakeholders. To develop a management plan, we reviewed current knowledge about the pest’s biology and ecology, and suggested research approaches including studying its thermal tolerance, host range, plant resistance and biological control. Parasitoids and predators have been reared from A. lagerstroemiae in the U.S. and China. However, new surveys of natural enemies should be conducted in China, and studies on the host range and impacts of natural enemies on A. lagerstroemiae may help determine the potential for classical biological control. The life history, preying efficiency and rearing methods are important for coccinellid predators found in the U.S. including Chilocorus cacti L. and Hyperaspis spp. To enhance natural enemy performance, it is important to evaluate a sustainable insecticide program that considers efficacy, timing, rate and impact on pollinator health. Finally, an integrated management program of A. lagerstroemiae is discussed including planting resistant cultivars, using host specific natural enemies, and prudent use of insecticides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Insect Species)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
A Review of the Tawny Crazy Ant, Nylanderia fulva, an Emergent Ant Invader in the Southern United States: Is Biological Control a Feasible Management Option?
Insects 2016, 7(4), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects7040077 - 15 Dec 2016
Cited by 2
Abstract
The tawny crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), has invaded states of the U.S. including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Native to South America, N. fulva is considered a pest in the U.S. capable of annoying homeowners and farmers, as [...] Read more.
The tawny crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), has invaded states of the U.S. including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Native to South America, N. fulva is considered a pest in the U.S. capable of annoying homeowners and farmers, as well as displacing native ant species. As it continues to expand its range, there is a growing need to develop novel management techniques to control the pest and prevent further spread. Current management efforts rely heavily on chemical control, but these methods have not been successful. A review of the biology, taxonomy, ecology, and distribution of N. fulva, including discussion of ecological and economic consequences of this invasive species, is presented. Options for future management are suggested focusing on biological control, including parasitoid flies in the genus Pseudacteon, the microsporidian parasite Myrmecomorba nylanderiae, and a novel polynucleotide virus as potential biological control agents. We suggest further investigation of natural enemies present in the adventive range, as well as foreign exploration undertaken in the native range including Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina. We conclude that N. fulva may be a suitable candidate for biological control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Insect Species)
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Open AccessReview
Positive and Negative Impacts of Non-Native Bee Species around the World
Insects 2016, 7(4), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects7040069 - 28 Nov 2016
Cited by 23
Abstract
Though they are relatively understudied, non-native bees are ubiquitous and have enormous potential economic and environmental impacts. These impacts may be positive or negative, and are often unquantified. In this manuscript, I review literature on the known distribution and environmental and economic impacts [...] Read more.
Though they are relatively understudied, non-native bees are ubiquitous and have enormous potential economic and environmental impacts. These impacts may be positive or negative, and are often unquantified. In this manuscript, I review literature on the known distribution and environmental and economic impacts of 80 species of introduced bees. The potential negative impacts of non-native bees include competition with native bees for nesting sites or floral resources, pollination of invasive weeds, co-invasion with pathogens and parasites, genetic introgression, damage to buildings, affecting the pollination of native plant species, and changing the structure of native pollination networks. The potential positive impacts of non-native bees include agricultural pollination, availability for scientific research, rescue of native species, and resilience to human-mediated disturbance and climate change. Most non-native bee species are accidentally introduced and nest in stems, twigs, and cavities in wood. In terms of number of species, the best represented families are Megachilidae and Apidae, and the best represented genus is Megachile. The best studied genera are Apis and Bombus, and most of the species in these genera were deliberately introduced for agricultural pollination. Thus, we know little about the majority of non-native bees, accidentally introduced or spreading beyond their native ranges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Insect Species)
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