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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Ecologically Based Management of Boll Weevils and Other Row Crop Pests under Transition to Boll Weevil Eradication in Temperate Regions

Location: Insect Control and Cotton Disease Research Unit

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Objective 1: Develop novel technologies and techniques to detect and identify insect pests and determine relative composition with emphasis on the stink bug complex and boll weevil. Subobjective 1A. Improve sensitivity of capture using boll weevil lures. Subobjective 1B. Develop remote sensing techniques to detect and map cultivated and uncultivated areas of volunteer and re-growth cotton plants that may contribute to boll weevil abundance. Subobjective 1C. Adapt technology and techniques for rapid identification and biochemical characterization of pollen attached to boll weevils. Subobjective 1D. Identify spatial and temporal distributions of adult stink bugs in fruiting stages of cotton, corn, soybean and non-cultivated plants. Objective 2: Improve knowledge of pest reproduction, diapause, behavior, and dispersal with emphasis on the stink bug complex and boll weevil. Subobjective 2A. Examine pathogen ingestion and transmission by stink bugs in cotton and soybean. Subobjective 2B. Characterize flight behavior and flight activity of stink bugs and lepidopterans in the laboratory and between and within cotton, corn, soybean and the agricultural landscape. Subobjective 2C. Develop improved and novel methods for understanding the reproductive and diapause biology of stink bugs and boll weevils. Objective 3: Develop and verify novel pest management strategies with emphasis on the stink bug and lepidopteran pests. Subobjective 3A. Evaluate non-cultivated plant hosts for use as trap plants to attract and retain stink bugs. Subobjective 3B. Develop biostable, bioavailable mimics of regulatory NP that can disrupt critical life processes to provide effective and environmentally sensitive control of stink bugs, boll weevils, bollworms, and budworms.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Improve sensitivity of capture using boll weevil lures. Develop remote sensing techniques to detect and map cultivated and uncultivated areas of volunteer and re-growth cotton plants that may contribute to boll weevil abundance. Adapt technology and techniques for rapid identification and biochemical characterization of pollen attached to boll weevils. Identify spatial and temporal distributions of adult stink bugs in fruiting stages of cotton, corn, soybean, and non-cultivated plants. Examine pathogen ingestion and transmission by stink bugs in cotton and soybean. Characterize flight behavior and flight activity of stink bugs and lepidopterans in the laboratory and between and within cotton, corn, soybean, and the agricultural landscape. Develop improved and novel methods for understanding the reproductive and diapause biology of stink bugs and boll weevils. Evaluate non-cultivated plant hosts for use as trap plants to attract and retain stink bugs. Develop biostable, bioavailable mimics of regulatory NP that can disrupt critical life processes to provide effective and environmentally sensitive control of stink bugs, boll weevils, bollworms, and budworms.


3.Progress Report:
Work under this project during FY 2012 resulted in significant progress in monitoring the landscape distribution and physiological condition of cotton insect pest populations, describing the presence and abundance of pest species relative to host crops and uncultivated plants, and developing novel biologically-based pest management technologies. A CRADA was established to evaluate and modify commercial lure dispensers to achieve a constant release rate of volatile attractant (pheromone) in a range of atmospheric conditions for characterizing performance of lure dispensers used in boll weevil eradication programs. Multispectral reflectance data of cotton plants, other row crops, and weeds were analyzed using linear spectral unmixing to improve classification accuracy in detecting regrowth cotton plants. An ongoing study established that brown and red shouldered stink bugs are the most prevalent stink bug species encountered in cotton produced in the Brazos River Valley; nearby soybean fields and to a lesser extent, corn fields, are likely contributing these stink bugs to cotton. A study was initiated to determine which species of stink bugs in the Brazos River Valley may serve as vectors of boll rot pathogens. In collaboration with ARS scientists from Stoneville, MS, pollen detected on tarnished plant bugs was found to be substantially associated with plant species that grow in disturbed or wet habitats that occur near crop fields. Research is ongoing to develop pollen analysis as a useful technology that can identify seasonal distribution patterns of this important cotton pest and ultimately lead to development of strategic management tactics. In collaboration with scientists in Belgium, we developed an entirely new strategy for the control of pest aphid populations based on stabilized versions of internal hormones known as neuropeptides. Project work identified neuropeptide hormones of several classes from the central nervous system of the cotton fleahopper, and mapped neuropeptide storage and release sites and characterized the structures of eight distinct peptide hormones in the nervous system of these insect pests.


4.Accomplishments
1. Disrupting insect diapause to control pest insects. A critical life function of numerous pest insects is the dormant state known as diapause, which is widely exploited by insects to survive winter and other adverse seasons. ARS scientists at College Station, Texas, in collaboration with scientists from Ohio State University, developed versions of neuropeptides of the 'Diapause Hormone' (DH) class with enhanced biostability that are much more active than DH in breaking diapause. Unlike native DH, two of these novel compounds also prevent the entry into or block the termination of pupal diapause when administered to the preceding larval stage of heliothine insects (such as the corn earworm), inducing the insects to commit a form of 'ecological suicide'. The work brings us a major step closer to the development of a completely new, practical, and environmentally friendly strategy based on neuropeptide-like substances for control of pest insects via disruption of diapause.

2. Plant host differences in the cotton fleahopper. The cotton fleahopper prefers weed hosts such as horsemint and woolly croton, but will move to and feed on cotton in the spring as preferred weed hosts begin to mature and become less attractive. ARS scientists at College Station, Texas, in collaboration with scientists from Texas A&M University, used modern molecular biology tools [Amplified Fragmented Length Polymorphism (AFLP)] markers to examine the genetic structure of fleahopper populations occurring on horsemint, cotton, and woolly croton in five locations in Texas (Lubbock, San Angelo, College Station, Corpus Christi, and Weslaco). Fleahopper populations occurring on horsemint were genetically distinct from those found on cotton in three locations (Lubbock, San Angelo, and Weslaco), but the genetic structure of fleahopper populations occurring on horsemint, cotton, and woolly croton was similar in College Station and Corpus Christi. This work indicates that horsemint is a major contributor of fleahoppers in some production regions but not in others, perhaps due to precipitation differences that affect the composition, distribution, and development of fleahopper host plants in the respective locations.

3. Localization of bacterial and fungal pathogens within the southern green stink bug. Southern green stink bugs (SGSB) transmit opportunistic pathogens, resulting in rotting of cotton bolls and subsequent yield losses. SGSB ingest pathogens such as Pantoea agglomerans, P. ananatis, Klebsiella pneumonia, and Nematospora coryli from environmental sources. ARS scientists at College Station, Texas, determined that only P. agglomerans and N. coryli are transmitted to cotton bolls by the SGSB. The two transmitted pathogens resided in/on the mouthparts, alimentary canal, and head of the SGSB, and were transmitted into cotton bolls upon feeding. This work provides much better understanding of the role of the SGSB in transmitting pathogens that are serious obstacles to efficient cotton production in the U.S. These findings emphasize the need for interdisciplinary efforts to mitigate cotton yield losses due to disease as well as mechanical feeding damage by SGSB to developing bolls.


Review Publications
Esquivel, J.F., Medrano, E.G. 2012. Localization of selected pathogens of cotton within the southern green stink bug. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 142:114-120.

Suh, C.P., Ding, N., Lan, Y. 2011. Using an electronic nose to rapidly assess grandlure content in boll weevil pheromone lures. Journal of Bionic Engineering. 8:449-454.

Nachman, R.J., Kaczmarek, K., Zabrocki, J., Coast, G.M. 2012. Active diuretic peptidomimetic insect kinin analogs that contain Beta-turn mimetic motif 4-aminopyroglutamate and lack native peptide bonds. Peptides. 34:262-265.

Zhang, Q., Nachman, R.J., Kaczmarek, K., Zabrocki, J., Denlinger, D.L. 2011. Disruption of insect diapause using novel agonists and an antagonist of diapause hormone. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 108:16922-16926.

Predel, R., Russell, W.K., Russell, D.H., Suh, C.P., Nachman, R.J. 2011. Neuropeptides of the cotton fleahopper, Pseudatomoscelis seriatus (Reuter). Peptides. 34:39-43.

Nachman, R.J., Hamshou, M., Kaczmarek, K., Zabrocki, J., Smagghe, G. 2012. Biostable and PEG polymer-conjugated insect pyrokinin analogs demonstrate antifeedant activity and induce high mortality in the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum (Hemiptera: Aphidae). Peptides. 34:266-273.

Jones, G.D. 2012. Pollen Recovery from Insects: Light Microscopy. Palynology. 36:86-109.

Barman, A.K., Parajulee, M.N., Sansone, C.G., Suh, C.P., Medina, R.F. 2012. Geographic pattern of host-associated differentiation in Pseudatomoscelis seriatus (Reuter). Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 43:31-41.

Suh, C.P., Westbrook, J.K. 2011. Attraction of milkweed stem weevils, Rhyssomatus spp. (Coleoptera: Curculiondae), to grandlure. Southwestern Entomologist. 36:375-376.

Chilson, P.B., Frick, W.F., Kelly, J.F., Howard, K.W., Diehl, R.H., Larkin, R.P., Westbrook, J.K., Kelly, T.A., Kunz, T.H. 2012. Partly cloudy with a chance of migration: Weather, radars, and aeroecology. Bulletin of the American Meterological Society. 96:669-686.

Esquivel, J.F., Crippen, T.L., Ward, L.A. 2012. Improved visualization of Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) - Part I: Morphological features for sex determination of multiple stadia. Psyche. 2012:Article 328378. doi 1155-12-328478.

Jones, G.D., McCurry, H. 2012. Differentiating pollen from species of Gossypium. Palynology. 36:80-85.

Crippen, T.L., Esquivel, J.F. 2012. Improved visualization of Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) - Part II: Alimentary canal components and measurements. Psyche. 2012:Article 607609.

Choi, S., Kim, K., Lee, H., Adamczyk Jr., J.J., Greenberg, S.M., Westbrook, J.K., Sappington, T.W. 2011. Temporal changes in genetic variation of boll weevil (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) populations, and implications for population assignment in eradication zones. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 104(4):816-825.

Jones, G.D. 2012. Forensic pollen geolocation techniques used to identify the origin of boll weevil reinfestation. Grana. DOI:10.1080/00173134.2012.667832.

Mccracken, G.F., Westbrook, J.K., Brown, V.A., Eldridge, M., Federico, P., Kunz, T.H. 2012. Bats track and exploit changes in insect pest populations. Public Library of Science Biology. 7(8):e43839. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043839.

Jones, G.D., Allen, K.C. 2012. Pigweed pollen retention in laboratory-reared tarnished plant bugs. Palynology. DOI:10.1080.01916122.2012.662178.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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