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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Insecticide Resistance Management and New Control Strategies for Pests of Corn, Cotton, Sorghum, Soybean, and Sweet Potato

Location: Southern Insect Management Research Unit

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The long-term objective of this project is to develop an improved understanding of how the changing cropping landscape impacts insecticide resistance development and management of various insect pest species in order to increase profitability and sustainability of mid-South row crops.

Objective 1: Improve tarnished plant bug control and insecticide resistance management by gaining new information on the pest’s ecology and biology using multi-disciplinary approaches, e.g. molecular genetic tools, stable carbon isotope analysis, gene expression and proteomics, and insecticide resistance assays coupled with field sampling.

Objective 2: Determine the effect of bollworm ecology (corn earworm) on resistance to pyrethroid insecticides by developing and utilizing genetic markers linked to resistance traits, stable carbon isotope analysis, gossypol detection in adult insects, and insecticide resistance monitoring.

Objective 3: Develop pest control strategies for the U.S. Mid-South’s Early Soybean Production System by determining accurate treatment thresholds, understanding the impact of changing cropping systems on farm-scale pest ecology, and developing effective insecticide resistance management practices for the stink bug complex, three-cornered alfalfa hopper, bean leaf beetle and soybean looper.

Objective 4: Improve low input systems of pest control for sweet potato by evaluating the efficacy and proper use of newly registered insecticides to enhance their integration with crop rotation and other low cost control strategies.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
We plan to improve tarnished plant bug control and insecticide resistance management by gaining new information on the pest’s ecology and biology using multi-disciplinary approaches. Analytical techniques, such as stable carbon isotope analysis, will be used to determine the influence of C4 host plants, such as field corn or pigweed, on populations of tarnished plant bug adults infesting cotton fields. This information will identify sources of tarnished plant bugs that may lead to alternative control measures prior to infestations into cotton fields. Tarnished plant bug populations will be monitored for resistance to various classes of insecticides commonly used by mid-South producers. This will provide real-time information to decision makers that will allow them to adjust their control recommendations based on the type of resistance that is found in their area of the mid-South. Detoxification enzyme activity surveys will be conducted in an effort to correlate and quantify insecticide resistance levels in field populations of the tarnished plant bug. Molecular genetics techniques will be conducted on tarnished plant bug populations that could lead to assays to evaluate the extent of field resistance in tarnished plant bug populations and provide input for insect management decisions. We also plan to determine the effect of bollworm ecology (corn earworm) on resistance to pyrethroid insecticides. Analytical techniques, such as stable carbon isotope analysis and a gossypol detection technique, will be used to determine the impact of bollworm larval plant host on pyrethroid resistance levels measured in adults collected from pheromone traps. Molecular genetics tools will be used to identify candidate genes and biological pathways associated with insecticide resistance in bollworm populations. Successful identification of loci associated with insecticide resistance and the development of genetic markers for those will provide a method to obtain quantitative estimates of field evolved resistance by estimating the allele frequencies via population studies. We will also develop pest control strategies for the U.S. Mid-South’s Early Soybean Production System by determining accurate treatment thresholds and developing effective insecticide resistance management practices for the stink bug complex and bollworm. Field studies will be conducted to evaluate treatment thresholds for stink bugs and bollworms in early season soybeans. Stink bug populations will be monitored for potential resistance to various classes of insecticides, and this effort will provide real-time information to decision makers regarding the proper use of insecticides for control of these pests. We also plan to improve low input systems of pest control for sweet potato by evaluating the efficacy and proper use of newly registered insecticides to enhance their integration with crop rotation and other low cost control strategies. Field and laboratory studies will be conducted to determine the impact of crop rotation on populations of insect pests of sweet potatoes, as well as information of insecticide efficacy and proper application techniques.


3.Progress Report
We are currently nine months into our five-year project and approximately half way through our first cropping season. Research has been initiated on all research objectives associated with this project. Twelve-month milestones are at least partially met and will be complete upon the end of the field season.


Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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