Sorry I haven’t submitted many updates to my blog the past few months. I hope ya’ll had a nice Christmas and New Year. My team (Jessica Duckworth, Summer Noble, and Leonard Boyd) finished their first year of small plot trials. Everyone is more confident with operating equipment, taking soil and water samples, and scouting for insects. I have been to quite a few conferences in the last few months, so I will be uploading those to a new tab – presentations.
Pheromone traps for moths in the six counties of the Bootheel will be placed in the fields Mid-March this year. The goal is to verify the current phenology models for our main moth pests to see if they can be used to predict moth flight in our area. I would like to see my current phenology website, http://mo-beta.ddcalc.zedxinc.com/, have a predicted table with dates of future flights, but we’ll see how far we get this year.
The new 2015 Pest Management Guide for Missouri is located here: http://extension.missouri.edu/p/M171 for you to browse through. It’s a combination of AR, TN, and MO information.
Speaking of pest management, we are continuing research with tarnished plant bugs and tobacco thrips. Our current goals are to (1) Determine baseline susceptibility of Lygus lineolaris and Frankliniella fusca, to select commercial and reduced-risk insecticides; and (2) Use a diagnostic dose to monitor susceptibility to key modes of action in field populations of these pests exposed to intensive versus modest insecticide use.
My lab has started to dive more deeply into resistance monitoring. We recently had a molecular biologist friend of mine stop by our lab for a week to train us on biochemical assay techniques.
There are five ways resistance occurs in insects:
- Reduced penetration of the chemical through the insect exoskeleton
- Increased excretion of the chemical
- Target site modification
- Behavioral modification
- Increased detoxification – or metabolism of pesticide
My lab is starting to conduct enzyme assays to determine metabolic resistance mechanisms. The enzymes that detoxify pesticides include mono-oxygenases (mixed function oxidases, microsomal oxidases, and cytochrome P-450 dependent oxidases), hydrolases(including esterases), and transferases (glutathione-S-transferase). We are building baseline data for tarnished plant bug, corn earworm, and tobacco thrips.
Other possible reasons for resistance? Low, persistent levels of pesticides in soil and water. Objectives of funded research projects include: Evaluate the quality of runoff from irrigated cropland to determine current and potential environmental risks and develop guidelines and BMPs to reduce impact of irrigated agriculture on water quality degradation.
- Could thiamethoxam residues be contributing to thrips resistance by having secondary wild hosts ‘treated’ by run-off? We are expanding the study this year to include plant samples with the neonic screening.
Corn earworm (i.e. podworm, bollworm, whatever) as you know has developed resistance to pyrethroids and some Bt technologies. What my lab is currently working on is determining the best management practices for holding off resistance. We are inducing tolerance to various insecticides to see how many generations it takes, and then reversing it. Then we can view the differences in proteins and enzymes.
Regarding monitoring, how can we monitor more efficiently? I am currently mapping historical cotton and soybean data (kept confidential) to look for trends. This data can be used as a baseline to determine effectiveness of new technologies such as spray app, drones, aerial imaging.
Then there’s the new iPIPE research in the works. What is the iPIPE? It is an information technology (IT) platform which provides professionals in the agricultural community with tools and models for managing and analyzing data in order to generate products and commentary in support of integrated pest management (IPM), commercial decision making and food security. iPIPE was designed with the following goals:
- Promote data sharing among agricultural stakeholders.
- Support compliance with phytosanitary regulations.
- Integration with government and university IT platforms.
- Facilitate the monitoring of endemic and exotic pests.
Other monitoring occurring this year will be for kudzu bug and other invasive pests of soybean. Those research projects will be funded by the USDA (CAPs program) and iPIPE funds.
More updates to come!