Topic Editors

Centro de Estudos Florestais, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal
Research Unit of Plant Pathology and Entomology, Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Sassari, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Department Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, University of Tuscia, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
cE3c-ABG-Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes and Azorean Biodiversity Group, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of the Azores, 9501-321 Ponta Delgada, Portugal
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Division of Applied Entomology, University of Catania, Via Santa Sofia 100, 95123 Catania, Italy

Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems

Abstract submission deadline
closed (20 March 2022)
Manuscript submission deadline
closed (20 May 2022)
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Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

Insects are a major component of biodiversity in agroecosystems and a critical subject under the UN sustainability agenda. They are involved in different and fundamental services, such as pollination and pest regulation. However, a dramatic decline in species richness and abundance has been observed, which is expected to have negative impacts on the functioning of ecosystems. Possible drivers of insect decline include habitat change, pollution, and climate change.  On the other hand, insects may also be responsible for disservices in agroecosystems, with important socio-economic and environmental impacts. In fact, many crop pests in agroecosystems are insects, and globalization and climate change intensify the dispersion of invasive insect species. Therefore, under this scenario, we are facing the challenge of conserving and enhancing insect services in agroecosystems, and at the same time limiting and managing the negative impacts of invasive and emerging insect pests.    

We welcome submissions related with this subject, including, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Insect pollinators and crop pollination in agroecosystems;
  • Biological control of insect pests in agroecosystems;
  • Use of semiochemicals in pest management in agroecosystems;
  • Innovative pest management approaches that will contribute to a reduction in the use of pesticides in agroecosystems;
  • Habitat management to promote beneficial insects in agroecosystems;
  • Sustainable control of invasive insects in agroecosystems;
  • Insect pest population modelling to improve Decision Support Systems in agroecosystems;
  • Plant defences in a sustainable insect pest control perspective in agroecosystems.

Dr. José Carlos Franco
Dr. Arturo Cocco
Dr. Stefano Speranza
Dr. António Onofre Costa Miranda Soares
Prof. Dr. Lucia Zappala
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • insect pollination
  • biological control
  • semiochemicals
  • habitat management
  • sustainable insect pest management
  • insect-related services and disservices
  • invasive insect pests
  • emerging insect pests
  • modelling

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Agriculture
agriculture
3.3 4.9 2011 20.2 Days CHF 2600
Agronomy
agronomy
3.3 6.2 2011 15.5 Days CHF 2600
Insects
insects
2.7 5.1 2010 17 Days CHF 2600
J
J
- - 2018 24.3 Days CHF 1200
Sustainability
sustainability
3.3 6.8 2009 20 Days CHF 2400

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Published Papers (23 papers)

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28 pages, 1183 KiB  
Review
Are Botanical Biopesticides Safe for Bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea)?
by Roberto Catania, Maria Augusta Pereira Lima, Michele Potrich, Fabio Sgolastra, Lucia Zappalà and Gaetana Mazzeo
Insects 2023, 14(3), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030247 - 2 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4741
Abstract
The recent global decline in insect populations is of particular concern for pollinators. Wild and managed bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea) are of primary environmental and economic importance because of their role in pollinating cultivated and wild plants, and synthetic pesticides are among the major [...] Read more.
The recent global decline in insect populations is of particular concern for pollinators. Wild and managed bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea) are of primary environmental and economic importance because of their role in pollinating cultivated and wild plants, and synthetic pesticides are among the major factors contributing to their decline. Botanical biopesticides may be a viable alternative to synthetic pesticides in plant defence due to their high selectivity and short environmental persistence. In recent years, scientific progress has been made to improve the development and effectiveness of these products. However, knowledge regarding their adverse effects on the environment and non-target species is still scarce, especially when compared to that of synthetic products. Here, we summarize the studies concerning the toxicity of botanical biopesticides on the different groups of social and solitary bees. We highlight the lethal and sublethal effects of these products on bees, the lack of a uniform protocol to assess the risks of biopesticides on pollinators, and the scarcity of studies on specific groups of bees, such as the large and diverse group of solitary bees. Results show that botanical biopesticides cause lethal effects and a large number of sublethal effects on bees. However, the toxicity is limited when comparing the effects of these compounds with those of synthetic compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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13 pages, 948 KiB  
Article
Contrasting Phenotypic Variability of Life-History Traits of Two Feral Populations of Macrolophus pygmaeus (Hemiptera: Miridae) under Two Alternative Diets
by Isabel Borges, Luísa Oliveira, Ana C. Durão, Patrícia Arruda, Elisabete Figueiredo, José Carlos Franco, Eric Lucas and António O. Soares
Agronomy 2023, 13(1), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13010118 - 30 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1878
Abstract
Tuta absoluta is a major pest attacking tomato crops. This invasive species emerged in Europe (Spain) in 2006, and 3 years later it spread to Portugal. In 2009/2010, it was recorded for the first time in the Azores archipelago. Macrolophus pygmaeus is a [...] Read more.
Tuta absoluta is a major pest attacking tomato crops. This invasive species emerged in Europe (Spain) in 2006, and 3 years later it spread to Portugal. In 2009/2010, it was recorded for the first time in the Azores archipelago. Macrolophus pygmaeus is a predator widely used as biological control agent against the tomato leaf miner. This study contrasted the life-history traits and population growth parameters of two feral populations of M. pygmaeus, one from Portugal mainland and one from the Azores archipelago. The predators were tested on single prey diet, either of Ephestia kuehniella eggs, a factitious prey used for mass rearing of mirids, or T. absoluta eggs. We predicted that populations would express differences in its phenotypic characteristics, with the Azorean population displaying low performance due to likely low genetic diversity, as expected for insular populations. Our results revealed the inexistence of phenotypic differences in several life history traits, such as immature developmental time, female longevity, males’ body weight and sex ratio. Contrary to our predictions, traits with direct impact on fitness, such as lifetime fertility (95.78 ± 14.23 vs. 61.38 ± 13.52 nymphs), explain better performances for the population of the Azores. Azorean M. pygmaeus females were larger, matured earlier and reproduced at a higher rate for longer periods, than mainland females. Therefore, population growth parameters show a positive advantage for the population of the Azores, fed on T. absoluta (time required for doubling the population Azores, Ek: 8.42 ± 0.50, Ta: 5.76 ± 0.31 and mainland, Ek: 10.88 ± 1.94, Ta: 12.07 ± 3.15). Biological performance of M. pygmaeus was similar when fed with T. absoluta or E. kuehniella that could be beneficial both to optimize mass production of the predator and biological control of the pest. Our results are discussed as well in a fundamental perspective, seeking if differences in biological performance can be explained by lower genetic diversity driven by geographic isolation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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22 pages, 3235 KiB  
Article
Ant Diversity Is Enhanced by Ecological Infrastructures in Agroecosystems: A Case Study in Irrigated Mediterranean Farmland
by Vera Zina, André Fonseca, Gonçalo Duarte, Sofia Conde, Maria Rosário Fernandes, Maria Teresa Ferreira and José Carlos Franco
Agronomy 2022, 12(11), 2690; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12112690 - 29 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2035
Abstract
We aimed at assessing the role of ecological infrastructures (EI) in promoting ant biodiversity in floodplain Mediterranean agricultural crops. We examined and compared ant communities at the interface between EI (remnant vegetation patches) and adjoining agricultural matrix (maize, rice, others) in irrigated farmland. [...] Read more.
We aimed at assessing the role of ecological infrastructures (EI) in promoting ant biodiversity in floodplain Mediterranean agricultural crops. We examined and compared ant communities at the interface between EI (remnant vegetation patches) and adjoining agricultural matrix (maize, rice, others) in irrigated farmland. The study was conducted in 2019, in two agricultural landscapes in the valleys of the rivers Tagus and Sorraia, Central Portugal. We used the Akaike information criterion for model selection and to distinguish among a set of possible models describing the relationship between: the ant richness in the agricultural matrix and drivers associated with the surrounding landscape and crop type; the ant richness in EI and the habitat quality of EI patches, the characteristics of the surrounding landscape, and the presence of invasive ant species. We found that: EI patches supported a higher ant diversity and an overall specialized ant community, distinctive from the agricultural matrix; location but not vegetation physiognomy influenced ant diversity; ant richness within the agricultural matrix decreased with the distance to the EI, and that this relationship was influenced by the crop type; and that ant richness in the EI was associated with the absence of the invasive Argentine ant and the area of terrestrial EI in the surrounding landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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19 pages, 647 KiB  
Article
Determinants for Deployment of Climate-Smart Integrated Pest Management Practices: A Meta-Analysis Approach
by Haruna Sekabira, Ghislain T. Tepa-Yotto, Rousseau Djouaka, Victor Clottey, Christopher Gaitu, Manuele Tamò, Yusuf Kaweesa and Stanley Peter Ddungu
Agriculture 2022, 12(7), 1052; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12071052 - 19 Jul 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3732
Abstract
Following the development and dissemination of new climate-smart agricultural technologies to farmers globally, there has been an increase in the number of socio-economic studies on the adoption of climate-smart integrated pests’ management (CS-IPM) technologies over the years. In this study, we review empirical [...] Read more.
Following the development and dissemination of new climate-smart agricultural technologies to farmers globally, there has been an increase in the number of socio-economic studies on the adoption of climate-smart integrated pests’ management (CS-IPM) technologies over the years. In this study, we review empirical evidence on adoption determinants of CS-IPM technologies and identify possible science–policy interfaces. Generally, our review shows that socioeconomic and institutional factors are influential in shaping CS-IPM adoption decisions of farmers. More specifically, income was found to positively influence the adoption of CS-IPM technologies while land size owned influences CS-IPM adoption negatively. Registered land tenure (registered secure rights) positively influences CS-IPM technologies’ adoption, implying that efficient land markets enable competitive and fair distribution and access to land, more so by the vulnerable but efficient smallholder producers that do indeed increase the adoption of CS-IPMs technologies. Social capital, achieved via farmers’ organizations is also central in fostering CS-IPM technologies’ adoption, just as market reforms that minimize market failures regarding access to credit, labor, and agricultural information, which could indirectly hinder farmers’ use of CS-IPM practices. Functional extension systems that improve farmers’ awareness of CS-IPM do also improve CS-IPM technologies’ adoption. However, the adoption of CS-IPM technologies in Ghana and Benin is slow-paced because of factors like lack of access to farm inputs that facilitate uptake of these technologies, lack of credit facilities, and limited extension services, among others. Interestingly, our review confirms that CS-IPM technologies do indeed reduce and minimize the intensity of pesticide usage and foster ecosystem (environmental and human) health. Therefore, this review unearths strategic determinants of CS-IPM adoption and makes fundamental guidance around climate-smart innovations transfer and environmental policies that should be prioritized to curb environmental pollution and ensure agricultural ecosystems’ sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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12 pages, 1269 KiB  
Article
Seasonality of Carabid Beetles on an Organic Agricultural Field and Its Effect on Foraging Use
by Ulrich Irmler
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 596; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050596 - 24 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1841
Abstract
Ground beetle species from marginal areas invade organically farmed fields in a higher abundance and species richness than conventionally farmed fields. Seasonal invasion into organic fields was studied at Ritzerau Manor, converted to organic farming 18 years ago. Carabid species were explored with [...] Read more.
Ground beetle species from marginal areas invade organically farmed fields in a higher abundance and species richness than conventionally farmed fields. Seasonal invasion into organic fields was studied at Ritzerau Manor, converted to organic farming 18 years ago. Carabid species were explored with 123 pitfall traps within the field and in marginal near-natural habitats over the 18 years after conversion. For 56 species, seasonality could be studied in a distance gradient from the field margin to the field center. The results revealed that ground beetles from marginal habitats can use the fields differently depending on their seasonal activity. Early and fast-moving species can reach the center of the field at a 240 m distance from margin; late and slowly moving species only reach the 120 to 60 m distance level. The foraging effect of species, thus, depends on the seasonality and duration of activity. Overall, marginal species make up to 35% of the total foraging of ground beetles. Thus, organic farming not only supports a closer interaction between farmland and the adjacent near-natural landscape, but also benefits from higher biological pest control by immigrating marginal species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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11 pages, 1274 KiB  
Article
Applications of Black Solider Fly (Hermetia illucens) Larvae Frass on Sweetpotato Slip Production, Mineral Content and Benefit-Cost Analysis
by Nicholas Romano, Hayden Fischer, Austin Powell, Amit Kumar Sinha, Shahidul Islam, Uttam Deb and Shaun Francis
Agronomy 2022, 12(4), 928; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12040928 - 12 Apr 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3271
Abstract
Black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae (BSFL) production is increasing, which will leaves substantial amounts of leftover excrement, called ‘frass’ that may be a beneficial organic fertilizer. In this study, sweetpotato (SP) (Ipomoea batatas) cuttings (‘slips’), were grown with [...] Read more.
Black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae (BSFL) production is increasing, which will leaves substantial amounts of leftover excrement, called ‘frass’ that may be a beneficial organic fertilizer. In this study, sweetpotato (SP) (Ipomoea batatas) cuttings (‘slips’), were grown with BSFL frass as a one-time top dressing at either 333.7g/m2 or 667.4g/m2, respectively, or daily applications of either BSFL frass tea (225g in 3.78 L) or an inorganic fertilizer (control). The nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium of the BSFL frass and inorganic fertilizer was 6.2-1.4-1.7 and 10-30-20, respectively. After three weeks, no significant difference in length, number of nodes and stem diameter were found in the 667 g/m2 frass treatment versus control, while these values were significantly lowest in the frass tea treatment. Slip manganese and copper were significantly lower and higher, respectively, in the control compared to the 333 and 667 g/m2 frass treatments. Iron, copper, manganese, zinc and magnesium were significantly lower in slips from the tea treatment and was excluded from economical analysis due to minimal growth. Benefit-cost analysis showed the highest benefit-cost ratio was for the 333 and 667 g/m2 frass treatments at 3.65 and 3.62, respectively, compared to the control at 3.48. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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8 pages, 454 KiB  
Article
New Alternative to Control Stenoma impressella (Lepidoptera: Elachistidae) Using Bacillus thuringiensis Commercial Formulations in Oil Palm Crops
by Luis Guillermo Montes-Bazurto, Alex Enrique Bustillo-Pardey and Anuar Morales
Agronomy 2022, 12(4), 883; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12040883 - 5 Apr 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1854
Abstract
Using chemical insecticides in IPM is possible and could be sustainable. To find a sustainable alternative to control S. impressella, we assessed the biological activities of five commercial formulations of Bacillus thuringiensis. First, these formulations were evaluated under laboratory conditions. No [...] Read more.
Using chemical insecticides in IPM is possible and could be sustainable. To find a sustainable alternative to control S. impressella, we assessed the biological activities of five commercial formulations of Bacillus thuringiensis. First, these formulations were evaluated under laboratory conditions. No differences were observed between the commercial formulations Bt_A_1, BT_K_2, and Bt_K_3. Then, the three formulations were compared in further experiments. This bioassay was performed under field conditions in palms naturally infested by S. impressella, and differences in larval mortality rates were observed between commercial formulations. The mortality rates caused by Bt_A_1 and BT_K_3 did not significantly differ. The third step evaluated different doses of Bt_A_1 and BT_K_3 formulations (250, 500, 750, and 1000 g/Ha) under field conditions. Seven days after spraying, differences were only observed between Bt_A_1 and BT_K_3 and the control. Finally, these two formulations were evaluated under field conditions. The mortality rates caused by Bt_A_1 and BT_K_3 were 77.2% and 85.3%, respectively. These findings show that commercial formulations of B. thuringiensis subsp. aizawai (Bt_A_1) and B. thuringiensis var. aizawai (BT_K_3) exhibit high biological activities against S. impressella larvae and can be included in the integrated management of S. impressella. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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19 pages, 4464 KiB  
Article
Ecological Infrastructures May Enhance Lepidopterans Predation in Irrigated Mediterranean Farmland, Depending on Their Typology and the Predator Guild
by José Carlos Franco, Manuela Branco, Sofia Conde, André Garcia, Maria Rosário Fernandes, José Lima Santos, Tainan Messina, Gonçalo Duarte, André Fonseca, Vera Zina and Maria Teresa Ferreira
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3874; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14073874 - 25 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2156
Abstract
Ecological infrastructures (EIs) are considered relevant components in agricultural landscapes to support biodiversity and ecosystem services. We used the predatory attacks on lepidopteran dummies as a proxy to assess predation rates in the agricultural matrix and different EIs types according to their location [...] Read more.
Ecological infrastructures (EIs) are considered relevant components in agricultural landscapes to support biodiversity and ecosystem services. We used the predatory attacks on lepidopteran dummies as a proxy to assess predation rates in the agricultural matrix and different EIs types according to their location and vegetation structure. We aimed at comparing the effect of different types of EI on the predation intensity in two intensively irrigated agricultural areas located in the Sorraia and Tagus river valleys in central Portugal. We hypothesized that: (1) the predation rate would be higher near EIs compared with the agricultural matrix, (2) the positive effect of EIs on predation rate would differ with their typologies, and (3) the EIs’ proximity and proportion in the surrounding landscape would have a positive effect on the predation rate in agricultural fields. The EI typologies influenced differently the predator groups and the overall predation rate. Major differences were observed for bird predation, being higher in woody EIs. A positive correlation between predation rate and EIs area of the surrounding landscape, as well as a negative correlation with the distance to the nearest riparian and woody EIs, was observed for birds. The observed dissimilarities in the predators’ response may be related to habitat differences and its functional connectivity. The overall monthly low predation rates are possibly related to the intensive agricultural system and the small area occupied by EIs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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24 pages, 3234 KiB  
Review
Benefits of Insect Pollination in Brassicaceae: A Meta-Analysis of Self-Compatible and Self-Incompatible Crop Species
by Francisco Rubén Badenes-Pérez
Agriculture 2022, 12(4), 446; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12040446 - 23 Mar 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 5250
Abstract
This paper reviewed the effects of insect pollination on the yield parameters of plants from the family Brassicaceae presenting different breeding systems. Meta-analysis indicates that in both self-compatible and self-incompatible crop species, meta-analysis indicates that seed yield (Y), silique set (SQS), number of [...] Read more.
This paper reviewed the effects of insect pollination on the yield parameters of plants from the family Brassicaceae presenting different breeding systems. Meta-analysis indicates that in both self-compatible and self-incompatible crop species, meta-analysis indicates that seed yield (Y), silique set (SQS), number of siliquae/plant (NSQ), and the number of seeds/silique (NSSQ) increase when plants are insect-pollinated compared to when there is no insect pollination. The weight of seeds (WS), however, increased in self-incompatible species but not in self-compatible ones as a result of insect pollination. Overall, the percentage of studies showing a positive effect of insect pollination on yield parameters was higher in self-incompatible than in self-compatible species. It was shown that the ability of self-compatible species to reproduce does not fully compensate for the loss of yield benefits in the absence of insect pollination. Cultivated Brassicaceae attract a wide variety of pollinators, with honeybees (Apis spp.) such as A. mellifera L., A. cerana F., A. dorsata F., and A. florea F. (Hymenoptera: Apidae); other Apidae, such as bumblebees (Bombus spp.) (Hymenoptera: Apidae); mining bees (Hymenoptera: Andrenidae); sweat bees (Hymenoptera: Halictidae); and hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) constituting the most common ones. The benefits of insect pollination imply that pollinator conservation programs play a key role in maximizing yield in cruciferous crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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17 pages, 2999 KiB  
Article
Agriculture and Pollinating Insects, No Longer a Choice but a Need: EU Agriculture’s Dependence on Pollinators in the 2007–2019 Period
by Giuseppe Bugin, Lucia Lenzi, Giulia Ranzani, Luigino Barisan, Claudio Porrini, Augusto Zanella and Cristian Bolzonella
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3644; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063644 - 20 Mar 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3047
Abstract
One of the new objectives laid out by the European Union’s Common Agriculture Policy is increasing environmental sustainability. In this paper we compare the degree of average dependence index for each member state (ADIMS) in EU28 from 2007 to 2019 in order to [...] Read more.
One of the new objectives laid out by the European Union’s Common Agriculture Policy is increasing environmental sustainability. In this paper we compare the degree of average dependence index for each member state (ADIMS) in EU28 from 2007 to 2019 in order to verify the following: (1) whether there was a difference in this index when comparing two CAP periods—(a) from 2007 to 2013 and (b) from 2014 to 2019—and (2) which crops had a larger effect on the ADIMS. The study showed no significant variation in the average ADIMS at EU level between the first (2007–2013) and second (2014–2019) CAP periods. The AIDMS index highlighted three types of EU agriculture: (1) agriculture in Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, characterized by a high level of ADIMS (10.7–22) due to the widespread cultivation of oil crops as rapeseed and sunflower; (2) Mediterranean agriculture including Portugal, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Malta, Cyprus and France with lower AIDMS levels (5.3–10.3) given their heterogeneous crop portfolios with different degrees of dependence on animal pollination (almond, soy, rapeseed, sunflower and tomatoes) and (3) continental agriculture including Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Baltic countries, Benelux, Finland, Sweden and Ireland, which are characterized by the lowest ADIMS level (0.7–10.6) due to the widespread cultivation of cereals (anemophily and self-pollination) which increase the denominator of the index. The study suggests that a sustainable management of the agroecosystem will be possible in the future only if CAP considers pollinators’ requirements by quantifying the timing and spatial food availability from cultivated and uncultivated areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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21 pages, 1690 KiB  
Article
Agronomic Factors Influencing Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) Infestation and Damage and Its Co-Occurrence with Stemborers in Maize Cropping Systems in Kenya
by Daniel Munyao Mutyambai, Saliou Niassy, Paul-André Calatayud and Sevgan Subramanian
Insects 2022, 13(3), 266; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13030266 - 7 Mar 2022
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 5376
Abstract
Fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda J.E Smith, (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a serious invasive pest of maize that has been established in Kenya since 2016. Little is known about its co-occurrence with resident stemborers, relative infestation and damage and how agronomic factors influence its [...] Read more.
Fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda J.E Smith, (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a serious invasive pest of maize that has been established in Kenya since 2016. Little is known about its co-occurrence with resident stemborers, relative infestation and damage and how agronomic factors influence its infestation and damage in maize cropping systems across different agro-ecological zones. This study assessed FAW co-occurrence with resident stemborers, relative infestation and damage across three agro-ecological zones, and the effects of different agronomic practices on its infestation and damage in maize cropping systems in Kenya. A total of 180 maize farms were surveyed across three different agro-ecological zones. FAW infestation and damage was highest in lowlands compared to mid-altitude and high-altitude lands. Its population (eggs and larvae) dominated that of resident stemborers in maize fields. Maize grown under mixed cropping systems, with rainfed production and weeded frequently had low infestation and damage compared to those grown under monoculture, with irrigation and no weeding, respectively. Young vegetative maize plants were more infested and damaged compared to mature plants. Different maize varieties were found to have different infestation and damage levels with Pioneer having the least damage. These results demonstrate that agronomic practices play a role in influencing FAW infestation and damage in maize cropping systems. Further, the population of FAW is dominating that of stemborers in maize cropping systems in Kenya, four years after its invasion. Thus, agronomic practices need to be considered while designing sustainable agro-ecological-based management solutions for resource-constrained smallholder farmers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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15 pages, 1591 KiB  
Article
Use of Age-Stage, Two-Sex Life Table to Compare the Fitness of Bactrocera dorsalis (Diptera: Tephritidae) on Northern and Southern Host Fruits in China
by Yanfei Zhu, Fangjian Qi, Xiumei Tan, Tong Zhang, Ziwen Teng, Yinjun Fan, Fanghao Wan and Hongxu Zhou
Insects 2022, 13(3), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13030258 - 4 Mar 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2941
Abstract
Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel), as a quarantine pest in many countries and regions, has shown a trend of northward diffusion in the past century in China. In order to determine whether B. dorsalis will cause great harm to the dominant northern fruits, the age-stage [...] Read more.
Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel), as a quarantine pest in many countries and regions, has shown a trend of northward diffusion in the past century in China. In order to determine whether B. dorsalis will cause great harm to the dominant northern fruits, the age-stage two-sex life tables of peaches and apples were constructed, with oranges as the control. The results showed that the developmental rate, intrinsic rate of increase (r), and finite rate of increase (λ) on oranges and peaches were significantly greater than on apples. Additionally, the prediction of population growth 90 days after oviposition revealed that the whole population on oranges and peaches increased by 13,667.3 and 12,112.1 times, respectively, indicating that B. dorsalis is very likely to endanger peach orchards. The population increased on apples by 4311 times, though this is lower than that on oranges and peaches. Overall, peaches with high fitness similar to oranges are very suitable as a host for B. dorsalis and are likely to become a new favorable host, while apples may also become a potentially new host, though with lower fitness. Therefore, the most pressing solutions to take are population monitoring, comprehensive prevention, and control in the case of any potential large-scale outbreak of B. dorsalis in northern China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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11 pages, 1582 KiB  
Article
The Supercooling Responses of the Solitary Bee Osmia excavata (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) under the Biological Stress of Its Brood Parasite, Sapyga coma (Hymenoptera: Sapygidae)
by Zhuo Yan, Lina Wang, Gadi V. P. Reddy, Shimin Gu, Xingyuan Men, Yunli Xiao, Jianwei Su, Feng Ge and Fang Ouyang
Insects 2022, 13(3), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13030235 - 27 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2320
Abstract
(1) Background: Many insects have evolved different strategies to adapt to subzero temperatures and parasites, but the supercooling response of pollinator populations under the brood parasitism pressure has not been sufficiently investigated. (2) Methods: This study assessed the supercooling traits (supercooling points, fresh [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Many insects have evolved different strategies to adapt to subzero temperatures and parasites, but the supercooling response of pollinator populations under the brood parasitism pressure has not been sufficiently investigated. (2) Methods: This study assessed the supercooling traits (supercooling points, fresh weight and fat content) of the solitary bee Osmia excavata Alfken and its brood parasite, Sapyga coma Yasumatsu & Sugihara. We measured 4035 samples (3025 O. excavata and 1010 S. coma, one individual as one sample) and discovered the supercooling traits relations between solitary bee and brood parasite. (3) Results: Significant differences in the supercooling points were found between O. excavata (females: −24.18 (−26.02~−20.07) vs. males: −23.21 (−25.15~−18.65) °C) and S. coma (females: −22.19 (−25.46~−18.38) vs. males: −20.65 (−23.85~−16.15) °C, p < 0.0001) in the same sex, and also between sexes of same species. The two species’ supercooling traits (supercooling points, fresh weight, and fat content) were significantly positively correlated. The supercooling points of the solitary bee varies regularly under brood parasitism pressure. (4) Conclusions: Our study indicates the supercooling traits relationships between a solitary bee and its brood parasite and suggests that the supercooling points of the solitary bee increase under the biological stress of its brood parasite in a certain level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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13 pages, 1641 KiB  
Article
Effect of Spectral Sensitivity and Light Intensity Response on the Phototactic Behavior of Exolontha castanea Chang (Coleoptera: Melolonthidae), a Pest of Sugarcane in China
by Xian-Kun Shang, Xue-Hong Pan, Wei Liu, Ji-Li Wei, Cheng-Hua Huang, François-Régis Goebel and Amin Nikpay
Agronomy 2022, 12(2), 481; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12020481 - 15 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2820
Abstract
The phototaxis of insects is closely related to light source factors, such as spectrum and light intensity. The cane grub, Exolontha castanea Chang (Coleoptera: Melolonthidae), is an important underground pest of sugarcane in Guangxi province of China. To clarify the effect of spectral [...] Read more.
The phototaxis of insects is closely related to light source factors, such as spectrum and light intensity. The cane grub, Exolontha castanea Chang (Coleoptera: Melolonthidae), is an important underground pest of sugarcane in Guangxi province of China. To clarify the effect of spectral sensitivity and light intensity response on the phototactic behavior of E. castanea, the phototactic behavior responses of male and female adults to 13 monochromatic lights in the wavelength range of 365–630 nm and different light intensities were measured. We found that both male and female adults had positive phototaxis to 13 monochromatic lights. The phototactic response rate of males and females at ultraviolet and violet light was the highest in the wavelength range of 365–420 nm. Among them, the most sensitive spectrum of females and males was at 365 nm and 420 nm, respectively. From the intensity response of phototactic behavior to different spectrum, the G1 (strong phototaxis) response rates of females at 365 nm and males at 420 nm were the highest. In addition, the phototactic response rate of females and males increased with the light intensity, showing a significant positive correlation. This study showed that the spectrum and light intensity were the key factors affecting the phototactic behavior of E. castanea. The sensitive spectrum of males and females were different, with a similar trend in phototaxis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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12 pages, 1042 KiB  
Article
Electroantennographic and Behavioural Responses of European Cherry Fruit Fly, Rhagoletis cerasi, to the Volatile Organic Compounds from Sour Cherry, Prunus cerasus, Fruit
by Vincas Būda, Sandra Radžiutė, Violeta Apšegaitė, Laima Blažytė-Čereškienė, Rasa Čepulytė, Gabrielė Bumbulytė and Raimondas Mozūraitis
Insects 2022, 13(2), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13020114 - 21 Jan 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3009
Abstract
European cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis cerasi (Diptera: Tephritidae), is the most important pest of sweet and sour cherry fruit. This fly is difficult to control by insecticide application since most of the conventional insecticides used have been banned in Europe. Traps are used [...] Read more.
European cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis cerasi (Diptera: Tephritidae), is the most important pest of sweet and sour cherry fruit. This fly is difficult to control by insecticide application since most of the conventional insecticides used have been banned in Europe. Traps are used for both the pest’s mass trapping and the detection of the beginning of the flight period. Data on flies’ reactions to host-plant volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be used to search for new attractants. VOCs were collected from the headspace of sour cherry, P. cerasus, fruit. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) resulted in the identification of 51 compounds. Terpenes and esters predominated in two aspects: in the highest diversity of the compounds, and the amount of the total VOC emissions (62.3%). Among the single VOCs, ethyl octanoate prevails, followed by (E)-4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene. GC–electroantennographic detection (GC–EAD) revealed 14 EAG-active compounds and those were identified. In Y-tube olfactometer tests, EAG-active compounds ((E)-β-ocimene, linalool, and (Z)-3-hexenyl 3-methylbutanoate) attracted R. cerasi females in a similar way to the odour of sour cherry fruit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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17 pages, 5155 KiB  
Article
Climate Change Increases the Expansion Risk of Helicoverpa zea in China According to Potential Geographical Distribution Estimation
by Haoxiang Zhao, Xiaoqing Xian, Zihua Zhao, Guifen Zhang, Wanxue Liu and Fanghao Wan
Insects 2022, 13(1), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13010079 - 11 Jan 2022
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2719
Abstract
Helicoverpa zea, a well-documented and endemic pest throughout most of the Americas, affecting more than 100 species of host plants. It is a quarantine pest according to the Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission (APPPC) and the catalog of quarantine pests for [...] Read more.
Helicoverpa zea, a well-documented and endemic pest throughout most of the Americas, affecting more than 100 species of host plants. It is a quarantine pest according to the Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission (APPPC) and the catalog of quarantine pests for plants imported to the People’s Republic of China. Based on 1781 global distribution records of H. zea and eight bioclimatic variables, the potential geographical distributions (PGDs) of H. zea were predicted by using a calibrated MaxEnt model. The contribution rate of bioclimatic variables and the jackknife method were integrated to assess the significant variables governing the PGDs. The response curves of bioclimatic variables were quantitatively determined to predict the PGDs of H. zea under climate change. The results showed that: (1) four out of the eight variables contributed the most to the model performance, namely, mean diurnal range (bio2), precipitation seasonality (bio15), precipitation of the driest quarter (bio17) and precipitation of the warmest quarter (bio18); (2) PGDs of H. zea under the current climate covered 418.15 × 104 km2, and were large in China; and (3) future climate change will facilitate the expansion of PGDs for H. zea under shared socioeconomic pathways (SSP) 1-2.6, SSP2-4.5, and SSP5-8.5 in both the 2030s and 2050s. The conversion of unsuitable to low suitability habitat and moderately to high suitability habitat increased by 8.43% and 2.35%, respectively. From the present day to the 2030s, under SSP1-2.6, SSP2-4.5 and SSP5-8.5, the centroid of the suitable habitats of H. zea showed a general tendency to move eastward; from 2030s to the 2050s, under SSP1-2.6 and SSP5-8.5, it moved southward, and it moved slightly northward under SSP2-4.5. According to bioclimatic conditions, H. zea has a high capacity for colonization by introduced individuals in China. Customs ports should pay attention to host plants and containers of H. zea and should exchange information to strengthen plant quarantine and pest monitoring, thus enhancing target management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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9 pages, 987 KiB  
Article
Functional Response and Control Potential of Orius sauteri (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) on Tea Thrips (Dendrothrips minowai Priesner)
by Qiuping Zhang, Ruifang Zhang, Qiuqiu Zhang, Dezhong Ji, Xia Zhou and Linhong Jin
Insects 2021, 12(12), 1132; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12121132 - 17 Dec 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2416
Abstract
This study aimed to clarify the functional response and control potential of O. sauteri in relation to tea thrips. The functional response, interference response, and control potential of O. sauteri on adult tea thrips, in different insect stages and environment temperatures, were [...] Read more.
This study aimed to clarify the functional response and control potential of O. sauteri in relation to tea thrips. The functional response, interference response, and control potential of O. sauteri on adult tea thrips, in different insect stages and environment temperatures, were studied. The results showed that the predation of O. sauteri against tea thrips was positively correlated with prey density, while the effects of searching for O. sauteri on the adult tea thrips were negatively correlated with prey density. The predation effects of O. sauteri on tea thrips were also influenced by prey density, which indicated that there was an intra-specific interference response from predators to tea thrips. The population density of tea thrips was significantly decreased, and O. sauteri showed a remarkable ability to control them when the benefit-to-harm ratio was 3:100. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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11 pages, 1783 KiB  
Article
The Comparison of Juvenile Hormone and Transcriptional Changes between Three Different Juvenile Hormone Analogs Insecticides on Honey Bee Worker Larval’s Development
by Jie Luo, Sheng Liu, Jiangan Hou, Lichao Chen, Honghong Li, Shucheng Liao, Qimei Tan, Taiyi Yang, Guoqiang Yi, Fu Zhang and Xuesheng Li
Agronomy 2021, 11(12), 2497; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11122497 - 9 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3221
Abstract
Juvenile hormones (JHs) play a crucial role in the development of honey bee (Apis mellifera) worker larvae. Juvenile hormone analogs (JHAs), insecticides widely used in pest control, have been reported to affect the health and survival of honey bee worker larvae. [...] Read more.
Juvenile hormones (JHs) play a crucial role in the development of honey bee (Apis mellifera) worker larvae. Juvenile hormone analogs (JHAs), insecticides widely used in pest control, have been reported to affect the health and survival of honey bee worker larvae. However, the molecular mechanisms of JHAs in the honey bee remain unclear. In this study, we treated honey bee worker larvae with pyriproxyfen, fenoxycarb, and methoprene, three different JHAs. We monitored the changes in the transcription of genes encoding major JH response enzymes (CYP15A1, CYP6AS5, JHAMT, and CHT1) using RT-qPCR and analyzed the transcriptome changes in worker larvae under JHA stress using RNA-seq. We found that the enrichment pathways differed among the treatment groups, but the classification of each pathway was generally the same, and fenoxycarb affected more genes and more pathways than did the other two JHAs. Notably, treatment with different JHAs in the honey bee changed the JH titers in the insect to various extents. These results represent the first assessment of the effects of three different JHAs on honey bee larvae and provide a new perspective and molecular basis for the research of JH regulation and JHA toxicity in the honey bee. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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13 pages, 1525 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Antibiotic Treatment on the Bacterial Community of the Brown Planthopper and Its Correlation with Rice Virulence
by Xiaorong Xu, Liang Chen, Hantao Zhou and Ming Tang
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2327; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11112327 - 17 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1929
Abstract
The prevention and control of planthoppers represent important issues for rice production. Current long-term control methods rely on pesticides, which raise concerns about environmental pollution. Recently, evidence has suggested that bacterial symbionts are important factors influencing the formation of Hemiptera insect biotypes and [...] Read more.
The prevention and control of planthoppers represent important issues for rice production. Current long-term control methods rely on pesticides, which raise concerns about environmental pollution. Recently, evidence has suggested that bacterial symbionts are important factors influencing the formation of Hemiptera insect biotypes and the selection of host plants for insects, which suggesting that targeting bacterial communities may be an effective alternative method for planthopper control. In this study, we perturbed the bacterial communities of the brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens, by feeding antibiotic-treated rice and used RNA-seq to examine the transcriptome of normal rice fed with perturbed BPHs by RNA-seq. Our results showed that the composition of the bacterial communities significantly changed after the perturbation, which was accompanied by changes in distinct biological processes of rice, especially the phenylpropanoid biosynthesis pathway, compared with the effect of the BPH feeding on rice without bacterial communities perturbation. Our work establishes a protocol for bacterial communities perturbation in BPH, demonstrating the link between bacterial community and the responses to BPH feeding and providing new insights into the interaction between BPH and rice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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15 pages, 1914 KiB  
Article
Influence of Plant Leaf Moisture Content on Retention of Electrostatic-Induced Droplets
by Jing Ma, Kuan Liu, Chenggong Chen, Fiaz Ahmad and Baijing Qiu
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11685; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132111685 - 22 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2048
Abstract
Agricultural electrostatic spraying can help to reduce the threat of pesticides to human health and the environment. However, the influence of the law of leaf water content on electrostatic spraying has not been studied. In this study, we used leaf water content as [...] Read more.
Agricultural electrostatic spraying can help to reduce the threat of pesticides to human health and the environment. However, the influence of the law of leaf water content on electrostatic spraying has not been studied. In this study, we used leaf water content as an evaluation index of electrostatic spraying technology and verified the correlation between leaf water content and leaf capacitance value by statistical methods in order to achieve in vivo measurements of leaf water content in relation to tomato, pepper, and wheat crop leaves. Using these in vivo measurements of leaf water content and retention, we demonstrate that the retention of electrostatic droplets on the leaves of all three crops increases with increasing water content; the retention per unit area of leaves increased by 6.1 mg/cm2, an increase of 7.29%. Increasing the electrostatic spray voltage (10~30 kV) enhances the retention of droplets on the leaves of the crops, with a maximum increase of 6.1. The retention of non-electrostatic droplets decreases with increasing water content; retention at the lowest water content was 1.103~1.131 times greater than at the highest water content. This study has implications for research related to improving the retention of electrostatic droplets in leaves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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13 pages, 3192 KiB  
Article
Effects of Different Wheat Tissues on the Population Parameters of the Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda)
by Zhi Zhang, Batuxi, Yanan Jiang, Xiangrui Li, Aihuan Zhang, Xun Zhu and Yunhui Zhang
Agronomy 2021, 11(10), 2044; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11102044 - 12 Oct 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2772
Abstract
The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, is an invasive migratory pest that prefers to feed on crops of the Gramineae family such as maize and wheat. It has been recorded in different locations in China since its invasion in 2019. To assess [...] Read more.
The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, is an invasive migratory pest that prefers to feed on crops of the Gramineae family such as maize and wheat. It has been recorded in different locations in China since its invasion in 2019. To assess its effect on different wheat tissues and to provide a risk evaluation for wheat fields, FAW larvae were reared on the wheat seedling (WS), spike (SPK), peduncle (PDC), flag leaf blade (F-b), and blade of the first leaf under flag (F-1b). The population parameters were recorded, and the data were analyzed using the age-stage, two-sex life table method. The results showed that the FAW achieved successful development on all the substrates, although those fed on F-1b grew the slowest, had the smallest pupal weight, and deposited the fewest eggs. The larval survival rates of those fed on WS, SPK, and PDC were more than 80%, while for F-b and F-1b they were 56.58% and 32.03%, respectively. Feeding on leaf blades also resulted in lower fertility, reproductive capacity, life expectancy, net reproductive rate, intrinsic rate of increase, and finite rate of increase. These results indicated that feeding on WS, SPK, and PDC were more beneficial for development compared to F-b and F-1b alone. However, leaf blades alone can still support the full FAW lifecycle and thus could play an important role in nutrition, especially when quantities of the preferred host tissues are not sufficient. These results provide guidance for assessing the FAW risk in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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10 pages, 1878 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Mirid Density on Volatile-Mediated Foraging Behaviour of Apolygus lucorum and Peristenus spretus
by Han Chen, Honghua Su, Shuai Zhang, Tianxing Jing, Zhe Liu and Yizhong Yang
Insects 2021, 12(10), 870; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12100870 - 25 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1929
Abstract
Plants would release herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) to repel herbivores and attract natural enemies after being damaged by herbivores. In this study, after cotton plants were damaged by different densities of Apolygus lucorum, the behavioral responses of A. lucorum and Peristenus spretus [...] Read more.
Plants would release herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) to repel herbivores and attract natural enemies after being damaged by herbivores. In this study, after cotton plants were damaged by different densities of Apolygus lucorum, the behavioral responses of A. lucorum and Peristenus spretus to cotton plants volatiles were evaluated, and the quality and quantity of volatiles from cotton plants were analyzed. Only when cotton plants were damaged by four bugs did both A. lucorum and P. spretus show an obvious response to damaged cotton plants, which indicates that cotton defense is correlated with pest density. The collection and analysis of volatiles reveals that the increase in pest density results in the emission of new compounds and an increase in the total number of volatiles with an alteration in proportions among the compounds in the blend. These changes in volatile profiles might provide wasps and mirids with specific information on host habitat quality and thus could explain the behavioral responses of parasitoids and pests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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18 pages, 3873 KiB  
Communication
Xylosandrus germanus (Blandford, 1894) on Grapevines in Italy with a Compilation of World Scolytine Weevils Developing on Vitaceae
by Enrico Ruzzier, Stefan Cristian Prazaru, Massimo Faccoli and Carlo Duso
Insects 2021, 12(10), 869; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12100869 - 24 Sep 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2668
Abstract
The invasive ambrosia beetle Xylosandrus germanus (Curculionidae: Scolytinae: Xyleborini) is recorded for the first time infesting wine grapes in Italy. The type of the attack is illustrated and the possible causes of the onset of the infestation are discussed. Furthermore, given the continuously [...] Read more.
The invasive ambrosia beetle Xylosandrus germanus (Curculionidae: Scolytinae: Xyleborini) is recorded for the first time infesting wine grapes in Italy. The type of the attack is illustrated and the possible causes of the onset of the infestation are discussed. Furthermore, given the continuously increasing number of alien wood-borer beetles introduced worldwide, we provide and discuss the updated world checklist of Scolytinae attacking Vitaceae, and Vitis sp. in particular. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Insects in Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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