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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

2013 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 2013 resulted in significant progress in monitoring the landscape distribution 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. Efforts were continued with a CRADA partner to develop a pheromone (sex attractant) dispenser that releases boll weevil pheromone uniformly over an extended period of time and range of environmental conditions that typically occur in south-central Texas. A two-year survey of stink bugs in row crops revealed that the brown and red-shouldered stink bug were the two most prevalent species of stink bugs infesting cotton fields in the Brazos Valley crop production area of central Texas, and nearby corn and soybean fields may be contributing these stink bugs to cotton. The composition of herbaceous vegetation (weed) species located near cotton, corn, sorghum, or soybean fields within the Brazos River Bottom crop production region of central Texas was identified and quantified. Several collected weed species are being analyzed for chemical compounds that could be used in lures to trap stink bugs. 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 that may harbor boll weevils. Project neuropeptide work showed that native 'sulfakinin' neuropeptide hormones regulate satiety in red flour beetles, and treatment of the pests with sulfakinin analogs led to reduction in stored grain food intake by 60-80%. The mechanism of the appetite-suppression affect was identified to involve a specific interaction with the active sites of the sulfakinin hormone. Neuropeptide work also identified native CAPA-gene neuropeptide hormones that are implicated in the regulation of water balance in sandflies that can transmit leishmaniasis and other protozoan-borne diseases in humans.


4.Accomplishments
1. Active 3D shape of antidiuretic hormones in stink bugs. Insect pests have developed resistance to several conventional pesticides, and new approaches that target critical life processes are needed for pest management. ARS scientists at College Station, Texas, in collaboration with scientists at Virginia Tech and the University of London, have identified the 3D shape that 'CAP2b' neuropeptide hormones adopt to successfully interact with their active sites in stink bugs. The CAP2b hormones regulate antidiuretic processes that represent an integral part of the water balance strategies critical for the survival of these important plant pests. The work brings us closer to the development of a completely new, practical, and environmentally friendly strategy based on neuropeptide-like substances for control of stink bug pests via disruption of their water balance.

2. Boll weevil pheromone attracts milkweed weevils. Pheromone (sex attractant) dispensers effectively attract boll weevils to traps, but also attract other weevil species which may confound pest identification. ARS scientists at College Station, Texas, in cooperation with the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation and an industry partner, developed a new formulation of boll weevil pheromone which, in comparison with the currently available formulation, more closely matches the pheromone naturally produced by boll weevils. While evaluating the new experimental formulation against the standard formulation in southern Texas, it was discovered that milkweed weevils were attracted to both formulations of pheromone, but showed an increased attraction to the experimental formulation. This novel discovery could lead to a trap-based system for detecting and controlling milkweed weevils across landscapes, and thus help preserve the primary host plants of the Monarch butterfly.


Review Publications
Jones, G.D., Pucci, T.M. 2012. Pollen analyses of Agathirsia wasps. Grana. 51:305-317.

Suh, C.P., Westbrook, J.K., Boratynski, T.N., Cano Rios, P., Armstrong, J.S., Escarcega, J.A., Campos-Ruelas, C. 2013. Evaluation of a new formulation of grandlure for the boll weevil (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Journal of Entomological Science. 48:75-78.

Jones, G.D. 2012. Pollen analyses for pollination research, unacetolyzed pollen. Journal of Pollination Ecology. 9:96-107.

Jones, G.D., Allen, K.C. 2013. Pollen analyses of tarnished plant bugs. Palynology. 37:170-176.

Nachman, R.J., Smagghe, G. 2012. Biostable analogs of insect kinin and insectatachykinin neuropeptides: Novel antifeedants and aphicides. Pestycydy/Pesticides. 1-4:23-24.

Nachman, R.J., Wang, X.J., Etzkorn, F.A., Kaczmarek, K., Zabrocki, J., Lopez, J., Coast, G.M. 2013. Evaluation of insect CAP2b analogs with either an (E)-alkene, trans- or a (Z)-alkene, cis- Pro isostere identifies the Pro orientation for antidiuretic activity in the stink bug. Peptides. 41:101-106.

Vandersmissen, H., Nachman, R.J., Vanden Broeck, J. 2013. Sex peptides and MIPs can activate the same G protein-coupled receptor. General and Comparative Endocrinology. 188:137-143.

Yu, N., Nachman, R.J., Smagghe, G. 2013. Characterization of sulfakinin and sulfakinin receptor and their roles in food intake in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. General and Comparative Endocrinology. 188:196-203.

Altstein, M., Hariton, A., Nachman, R.J. 2013. The FXPRLamide (pyrokinin/PBAN) family. In: Kastin, A.J., editor. Handbook of Biologically Active Peptides. 2nd edition. Elsevier Press, San Diego, CA. p. 255-266.

Chen, X., Peterson, J., Nachman, R.J., Ganetzky, B. 2012. Drosulfakinin activates CCKLR-17D1 and promotes larval locomotion and escape response in Drosophila. Fly. 6:290-297.

Predel, R., Neupert, S., Russell, W.K., Hauser, F., Russell, D.H., Li, A.Y., Nachman, R.J. 2013. CAPA-gene products in the haematophagous sandfly Phlebotomus papatasi (Scopoli) - Vector for leishmaniasis disease. Peptides. 41:2-7.

Yu, N., Benzi, V., Zotti, M., Staljanssens, D., Kaczmarek, K., Zabrocki, J., Nachman, R.J., Smagghe, G. 2013. Analogs of sulfakinin-related peptides demonstrate reduction in food intake in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, while putative antagonists increase consumption. Peptides. 41:107-112.

Vandersmissen, H., Nachman, R.J., Vanden Broeck, J. 2013. B-Type allatostatins and sex peptides. In: Kastin, A.J., editor. Handbook of Biologically Active Peptides. 2nd edition. Elsevier Press, San Diego, CA. p. 203-206.

Schoofs, L., Jensson, T., Nachman, R.J. 2013. Sulfakinins. In: Kastin, A.J., editor. Handbook of Biologically Active Peptides. 2nd edition. Elsevier Press, San Diego, CA. p. 310-314.

Brewer, M.J., Armstrong, J.S., Medrano, E.G., Esquivel, J.F. 2012. Association of Verde plant bug, Creontiades signatus (Hemiptera: Miridae), with cotton boll rot. Journal of Cotton Science. 16(3):144-151.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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