ResearchPad - insect-pests https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Juvenile hormone suppresses aggregation behavior through influencing antennal gene expression in locusts]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7742 A behavioral change from shy solitarious individuals to highly social gregarious individuals is critical to the formation of disastrous swarms of locusts. However, the underlying molecular mechanism of behavioral plasticity regulated by hormones is still largely unknown. Here, we investigated the effect of juvenile hormone (JH) on the behavioral transition in fourth-instar gregarious and solitarious locusts. We found that JH induced the behavioral shift of the gregarious locust from attraction to repulsion to the volatiles of gregarious locusts. The solitarious locust significantly decreased repulsion behavior after deprivation of JH by precocene or knockdown of JHAMT, a key enzyme to synthesize JH. JH application on gregarious locusts caused significant expression alteration of genes, especially the olfactory genes TO and CSP in the antennae. We further demonstrated that the JH signaling pathway suppressed aggregation behavior in gregarious locusts by increasing TO1 expression and decreasing CSP3 expression at the same time. Our results suggested that internal physiological factors can directly modulate periphery olfactory system to produce behavioral plasticity.

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<![CDATA[Late-life mortality is underestimated because of data errors]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c65dcdbd5eed0c484dec3bf

Knowledge of true mortality trajectory at extreme old ages is important for biologists who test their theories of aging with demographic data. Studies using both simulation and direct age validation found that longevity records for ages 105 years and older are often incorrect and may lead to spurious mortality deceleration and mortality plateau. After age 105 years, longevity claims should be considered as extraordinary claims that require extraordinary evidence. Traditional methods of data cleaning and data quality control are just not sufficient. New, more strict methodologies of data quality control need to be developed and tested. Before this happens, all mortality estimates for ages above 105 years should be treated with caution.

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<![CDATA[Modelling collective motion based on the principle of agency: General framework and the case of marching locusts]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fde8d5eed0c484e5b074

Collective phenomena are studied in a range of contexts—from controlling locust plagues to efficiently evacuating stadiums—but the central question remains: how can a large number of independent individuals form a seemingly perfectly coordinated whole? Previous attempts to answer this question have reduced the individuals to featureless particles, assumed particular interactions between them and studied the resulting collective dynamics. While this approach has provided useful insights, it cannot guarantee that the assumed individual-level behaviour is accurate, and, moreover, does not address its origin—that is, the question of why individuals would respond in one way or another. We propose a new approach to studying collective behaviour, based on the concept of learning agents: individuals endowed with explicitly modelled sensory capabilities, an internal mechanism for deciding how to respond to the sensory input and rules for modifying these responses based on past experience. This detailed modelling of individuals favours a more natural choice of parameters than in typical swarm models, which minimises the risk of spurious dependences or overfitting. Most notably, learning agents need not be programmed with particular responses, but can instead develop these autonomously, allowing for models with fewer implicit assumptions. We illustrate these points with the example of marching locusts, showing how learning agents can account for the phenomenon of density-dependent alignment. Our results suggest that learning agent-based models are a powerful tool for studying a broader class of problems involving collective behaviour and animal agency in general.

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<![CDATA[Thermotolerant isolates of Beauveria bassiana as potential control agent of insect pest in subtropical climates]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df31dd5eed0c484580d3c

The use of Beauveria bassiana in biological control of agricultural pests is mainly hampered by environmental factors, such as elevated temperatures and low humidity. These limitations, further amplified in a global warming scenario, could nullify biological control strategies based on this fungus. The identification of thermotolerant B. bassiana isolates represents a possible strategy to overcome this problem. In this study, in order to maximize the probability in the isolation of thermotolerant B. bassiana, soil samples and infected insects were collected in warm areas of Syria. The obtained fungal isolates were tested for different biological parameters (i.e., growth rate, sporulation and spore germination) at growing temperatures ranging from 20°C to 35°C. Among these isolates (eight from insects and 11 from soil samples), the five with the highest growth rate, spore production and germination at 30°C were tested for their entomopathogenicity through in vivo assays on Ephestia kuehniella larvae. Insect mortality induced by the five isolates ranged from 31% to 100%. Two isolates, one from Phyllognathus excavatus and one from soil, caused 50% of the larval mortality in less than four days, reaching values exceeding 92% in ten days. These two isolates were molecularly identified as B. bassiana sensu stricto by using three markers (i.e., ITS, Bloc and EF1-α). Considering these promising results, further studies are ongoing, testing their efficiency in field conditions as control agents for agricultural insect pests in Mediterranean and Subtropical regions.

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<![CDATA[Cryopreservation of the Mediterranean fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) VIENNA 8 genetic sexing strain: No effect on large scale production of high quality sterile males for SIT applications]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c57e685d5eed0c484ef3571

The sterile insect technique (SIT) integrated in area-wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) programmes is being used for the successful management of the Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae) which is a horticultural pest of economic importance in tropical and subtropical countries. All programmes with an SIT component are using the VIENNA genetic sexing strains (GSS), mainly the VIENNA 8 GSS, which have been developed by applying classical genetic approaches. The VIENNA 8 GSS carries two selectable markers, the white pupae and the temperature sensitive lethal genes, which allows the production and release of only males thus increasing the biological efficiency and cost effectiveness of SIT applications. However, mass rearing may affect quality traits of the GSS, in which case replenishment of the colony with wild flies is recommended, a process which is tedious and time consuming. We previously reported the development of a cryopreservation protocol for the VIENNA 8D53+ strain. In the present study, we report on the evaluation of the cryopreserved strain VIENNA 8D53+/Cryo-228L, reared under semi mass rearing conditions, for production parameters, quality control indices and mating competitiveness of males, in a comparative way with the non-cryopreserved VIENNA 8D53+ strain, against wild type males. The VIENNA 8D53+ and VIENNA 8D53+/Cryo-228L strains were similar for production parameters viz. egg production, pupal production, pupal recovery, and quality control indices like fly emergence, sex ratio and flight ability. Males from both strains were equally competitive with males of the wild type strain in achieving mating with wild type females under field cage conditions. Results are discussed in the context of cryopreservation as a potential backup strategy for refreshing the mass rearing colony with biological material from a cryopreserved stock.

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<![CDATA[Fine-tuned intruder discrimination favors ant parasitoidism]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c605a26d5eed0c4847cca81

A diversity of arthropods (myrmecophiles) thrives within ant nests, many of them unmolested though some, such as the specialized Eucharitidae parasitoids, may cause direct damage to their hosts. Ants are known to discriminate between nestmates and non-nestmates, but whether they recognize the strength of a threat and their capacity to adjust their behavior accordingly have not been fully explored. We aimed to determine whether Ectatomma tuberculatum ants exhibited specific behavioral responses to potential or actual intruders posing different threats to the host colony and to contribute to an understanding of complex ant-eucharitid interactions. Behavioral responses differed significantly according to intruder type. Ants evicted intruders that represented a threat to the colony’s health (dead ants) or were not suitable as prey items (filter paper, eucharitid parasitoid wasps, non myrmecophilous adult weevils), but killed potential prey (weevil larvae, termites). The timing of detection was in accordance with the nature and size of the intruder: corpses (a potential source of contamination) were detected faster than any other intruder and transported to the refuse piles within 15 min. The structure and complexity of behavioral sequences differed among those intruders that were discarded. Workers not only recognized and discriminated between several distinct intruders but also adjusted their behavior to the type of intruder encountered. Our results confirm the previously documented recognition capabilities of E. tuberculatum workers and reveal a very fine-tuned intruder discrimination response. Colony-level prophylactic and hygienic behavioral responses through effective removal of inedible intruders appears to be the most general and flexible form of defense in ants against a diverse array of intruders. However, this generalized response to both potentially lethal and harmless intruders might have driven the evolution of ant-eucharitid interactions, opening a window for parasitoid attack and allowing adult parasitoid wasps to quickly leave the natal nest unharmed.

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<![CDATA[Methyl benzoate exhibits insecticidal and repellent activities against Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1028e8d5eed0c48424871b

Methyl benzoate (MB) is a plant-derived volatile organic compound with insecticidal properties, but such activity has not been evaluated against the sweetpotato whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), a major crop pest. In this study, we tested methyl benzoate control efficacy on B. tabaci infecting tomato plants in a greenhouse, specifically measuring contact and fumigant toxicity, as well as repellent activity. For direct spray applications of 0% (control), 0.1%, 0.25%, 0.5%, 1%, 2% MB onto tomato leaves infested with adults of B. tabaci (< 5-d-old), 2% MB showed the highest corrected mortality (100%) at 24 h post-treatment. For residual toxicity in which the same MB solutions were sprayed onto tomato leaves and allowed to dry for 2 h before < 5-d-old adults were released, the 2% MB also showed the highest corrected mortality (100%) at 48 h post-treatment. The lethal median concentration (LC50) for eggs, fourth-instar nymphs, and adults were 0.3%, 0.2%, and 0.2%, respectively. In pot culture experiments, 1% MB concentration was found more effective at killing nymphs and preventing adult eclosion than all other concentrations, and gave 100 percent population reduction compared with the control. MB repelled adult whiteflies and caused 96.5% fumigant toxicity within 10 h post-treatment. Repellency and anti-oviposition rates against B. tabaci had median effective doses of 0.24% and 0.16%, respectively. Our results suggest that MB has strong potential as an environmentally friendly biopesticide for control of B. tabaci but field trials and further greenhouse studies are required to establish efficacy under more natural conditions.

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<![CDATA[Evaluation of horizontal gene transfer risk between the Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata (Tephritidae) and its parasitoid Fopius ceratitivorus (Braconidae)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c10289cd5eed0c4842479e5

The transgenic strain of the Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly), Ceratitis capitata (Wied.) VIENNA 8 1260, developed from the classical genetic sexing strain VIENNA 8, has two molecular markers that exhibit red fluorescence in the body and green fluorescence in testicles and sperm. These traits offer a precise tool to discriminate between mass-reared sterile males and wild fertile males, and they could potentially increase the effectiveness of control programs for this pest. To assess the risk of horizontal transfer of the fluorescence transgenes in natural ecosystems, we used the VIENNA 8 1260 strain and the medfly parasitoid Fopius ceratitivorus. The fluorescence signal and the inheritance of the fluorescence gene markers were monitored for over 16 generations (about two years) in both species using fluorescence microscopy and a PCR-based assay. The PCR analysis was performed in four independent laboratories. Both fluorescence microscopy and PCR analysis indicated that no horizontal gene transfer of the DsRed transgene occurred during 16 generations of medfly parasitoid rearing under experimental conditions.

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<![CDATA[Behavioral thermoregulation in Locusta migratoria manilensis (Orthoptera: Acrididae) in response to the entomopathogenic fungus, Beauveria bassiana]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0841aed5eed0c484fca706

Insects such as locusts and grasshoppers can reduce the effectiveness of pathogens and parasites by adopting different defense strategies. We investigated the behavioral thermopreference of Locusta migratoria manilensis (Meyen) (Orthoptera: Acrididae) induced by the fungus Beauveria bassiana, and the impact this behavior had on the fungal mycosis under laboratory conditions. By basking in higher temperature locations, infected nymphs elevated their thoracic temperature to 30–32.6 °C, which is higher than the optimum temperature (25°C) for B. bassiana conidial germination and hyphal development. A minimum thermoregulation period of 3 h/day increased survival of infected locusts by 43.34%. The therapeutic effect decreased when thermoregulation was delayed after initial infection. The fungus grew and overcame the locusts as soon as the thermoregulation was interrupted, indicating that thermoregulation helped the insects to cope with infection but did not completely rid them of the fungus. A significant enhancement in the number of haemocytes was observed in infected thermoregulating locusts, reaching levels that were even higher than those observed in the controls. In contrast, haemocyte concentration was severely reduced in infected insects that did not thermoregulate. In infected non-thermoregulating locusts, the reduction in haemocyte number was accompanied by an increase in fungal blastospore concentration that was obvious in the haemolymph by day four. In contrast, no circulating blastospores were found in the haemolymph of infected thermoregulating locusts three days post-inoculation. We also examined the phagocytic activity of infected insects in vivo by using fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labelled silica beads. The proportion of beads that was engulfed by haemocytes in infected, thermoregulating insects was similar to that in the controls throughout the experiment, whereas the rate of phagocytosis in infected, non-thermoregulating insects progressively decreased after infection. These findings demonstrated that behavioural thermoregulation can adversely affect B. bassiana mycosis in infected L. migratoria manilensis, thereby limiting the development of lethal entomopathogenic fungi in locusts. This is apparently accomplished through an increase in the levels of haemocytes, leading to greater phagocytic activity under certain environmental conditions.

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<![CDATA[Identification of midgut membrane proteins from different instars of Helicoverpa armigera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) that bind to Cry1Ac toxin]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c12cf2ed5eed0c4849140b2

Helicoverpa armigera is a polyphagous pest sensitive to Cry1Ac protein from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The susceptibility of the different larval instars of H. armigera to Cry1Ac protoxin showed a significant 45-fold reduction in late instars compared to early instars. A possible hypothesis is that gut surface proteins that bind to Cry1Ac differ in both instars, although higher Cry toxin degradation in late instars could also explain the observed differences in susceptibility. Here we compared the Cry1Ac-binding proteins from second and fifth instars by pull-down assays and liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry analysis (LC-MS/MS). The data show differential protein interaction patterns of Cry1Ac in the two instars analyzed. Alkaline phosphatase, and other membrane proteins, such as prohibitin and an anion selective channel protein were identified only in the second instar, suggesting that these proteins may be involved in the higher toxicity of Cry1Ac in early instars of H. armigera. Eleven Cry1Ac binindg proteins were identified exclusively in late instar larvae, like different proteases such as trypsin-like protease, azurocidin-like proteinase, and carboxypeptidase. Different aminopeptidase N isofroms were identified in both instar larvae. We compared the Cry1Ac protoxin degradation using midgut juice from late and early instars, showing that the midgut juice from late instars is more efficient to degrade Cry1Ac protoxin than that of early instars, suggesting that increased proteolytic activity on the toxin could also explain the low Cry1Ac toxicity in late instars.

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<![CDATA[Climate variability, perceptions and political ecology: Factors influencing changes in pesticide use over 30 years by Zimbabwean smallholder cotton producers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b03d26f463d7e6e6b5b7906

Pesticides represent a potential public health hazard of note in farming communities. Accumulating evidence indicates that some pesticides used in agriculture act as hormone disrupters, with the potential to result in chronic health effects. Despite such a growing evidence base, pesticides remain the preferred method of pest control in agriculture worldwide. In many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, usage is on the increase. This qualitative study assessed changes in the usage of pesticides by Zimbabwean smallholder cotton farmers in the past 30 years. Farmers reported an increase in the usage of pesticides, specifically insecticides, since the early 1980s. An increase in pest populations was also reported. The findings suggested a bi-directional causal relationship between the increase in pest population and the increase in pesticide use. Factors which emerged to have collectively impacted on the changes include climate variability, limited agency on the part of farmers, power dynamics involving the government and private cotton companies and farmers’ perceptions and practices. An Integrated Pest Management Policy for Zimbabwe is recommended to facilitate integration of chemical controls with a broad range of other pest control tactics. Continuous farmer education and awareness raising is further recommended, since farmers’ perceptions can influence their practices.

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<![CDATA[Development and characterization of the first dsRNA-resistant insect population from western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b0436ae463d7e0f0e6b97b5

The use of dsRNA to control insect pests via the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway is being explored by researchers globally. However, with every new class of insect control compounds, the evolution of insect resistance needs to be considered, and understanding resistance mechanisms is essential in designing durable technologies and effective resistance management strategies. To gain insight into insect resistance to dsRNA, a field screen with subsequent laboratory selection was used to establish a population of DvSnf7 dsRNA-resistant western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, a major maize insect pest. WCR resistant to ingested DvSnf7 dsRNA had impaired luminal uptake and resistance was not DvSnf7 dsRNA-specific, as indicated by cross resistance to all other dsRNAs tested. No resistance to the Bacillus thuringiensis Cry3Bb1 protein was observed. DvSnf7 dsRNA resistance was inherited recessively, located on a single locus, and autosomal. Together these findings will provide insights for dsRNA deployment for insect pest control.

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<![CDATA[Genome-Wide Identification and Comprehensive Analyses of the Kinomes in Four Pathogenic Microsporidia Species]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da3cab0ee8fa60b88540

Microsporidia have attracted considerable attention because they infect a wide range of hosts, from invertebrates to vertebrates, and cause serious human diseases and major economic losses in the livestock industry. There are no prospective drugs to counteract this pathogen. Eukaryotic protein kinases (ePKs) play a central role in regulating many essential cellular processes and are therefore potential drug targets. In this study, a comprehensive summary and comparative analysis of the protein kinases in four microsporidia–Enterocytozoon bieneusi, Encephalitozoon cuniculi, Nosema bombycis and Nosema ceranae–was performed. The results show that there are 34 ePKs and 4 atypical protein kinases (aPKs) in E. bieneusi, 29 ePKs and 6 aPKs in E. cuniculi, 41 ePKs and 5 aPKs in N. bombycis, and 27 ePKs and 4 aPKs in N. ceranae. These data support the previous conclusion that the microsporidian kinome is the smallest eukaryotic kinome. Microsporidian kinomes contain only serine-threonine kinases and do not contain receptor-like and tyrosine kinases. Many of the kinases related to nutrient and energy signaling and the stress response have been lost in microsporidian kinomes. However, cell cycle-, development- and growth-related kinases, which are important to parasites, are well conserved. This reduction of the microsporidian kinome is in good agreement with genome compaction, but kinome density is negatively correlated with proteome size. Furthermore, the protein kinases in each microsporidian genome are under strong purifying selection pressure. No remarkable differences in kinase family classification, domain features, gain and/or loss, and selective pressure were observed in these four species. Although microsporidia adapt to different host types, the coevolution of microsporidia and their hosts was not clearly reflected in the protein kinases. Overall, this study enriches and updates the microsporidian protein kinase database and may provide valuable information and candidate targets for the design of treatments for pathogenic diseases.

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<![CDATA[Oral delivery of double-stranded RNAs induces mortality in nymphs and adults of the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdbd76

The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, is one of the most important citrus pests. ACP is the vector of the phloem-limited bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter americanus and Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, the causal agents of the devastating citrus disease huanglongbing (HLB). The management of HLB is based on the use of healthy young plants, eradication of infected plants and chemical control of the vector. RNA interference (RNAi) has proven to be a promising tool to control pests and explore gene functions. Recently, studies have reported that target mRNA knockdown in many insects can be induced through feeding with double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). In the current study, we targeted the cathepsin D, chitin synthase and inhibitor of apoptosis genes of adult and nymph ACP by feeding artificial diets mixed with dsRNAs and Murraya paniculata leaves placed in dsRNAs solutions, respectively. Adult ACP mortality was positively correlated with the amount of dsRNA used. Both nymphs and adult ACP fed dsRNAs exhibited significantly increased mortality over time compared with that of the controls. Moreover, qRT-PCR analysis confirmed the dsRNA-mediated RNAi effects on target mRNAs. These results showed that RNAi can be a powerful tool for gene function studies in ACP and perhaps for HLB control.

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<![CDATA[Electronically Monitored Labial Dabbing and Stylet ‘Probing’ Behaviors of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Halyomorpha halys, in Simulated Environments]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da66ab0ee8fa60b91f80

Brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Stål), (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) is an invasive polyphagous agricultural and urban nuisance pest of Asian origin that is becoming widespread in North America and Europe. Despite the economic importance of pentatomid pests worldwide, their feeding behavior is poorly understood. Electronically monitored insect feeding (EMIF) technology is a useful tool in studies of feeding behavior of Hemiptera. Here we examined H. halys feeding behavior using an EMIF system designed for high throughput studies in environmental chambers. Our objectives were to quantify feeding activity by monitoring proboscis contacts with green beans, including labial dabbing and stylet penetration of the beans, which we collectively define as ‘probes’. We examined frequency and duration of ‘probes’ in field-collected H. halys over 48 hours and we determined how environmental conditions could affect diel and seasonal periodicity of ‘probing’ activity. We found differences in ‘probing’ activity between months when the assays were conducted. These differences in activity may have reflected different environmental conditions, and they also coincide with what is known about the phenology of H. halys. While a substantial number of ‘probes’ occurred during scotophase, including some of the longest mean ‘probe’ durations, activity was either lower or similar to ‘probing’ activity levels during photophase on average. We found that temperature had a significant impact on H. halys ‘probing’ behavior and may influence periodicity of activity. Our data suggest that the minimal temperature at which ‘probing’ of H. halys occurs is between 3.5 and 6.1°C (95% CI), and that ‘probing’ does not occur at temperatures above 26.5 to 29.6°C (95% CI). We estimated that the optimal temperature for ‘probing’ is between 16 and 17°C.

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<![CDATA[Impact of sublethal exposure to a pyrethroid-neonicotinoid insecticide on mating, fecundity and development in the bed bug Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf6a0

Sublethal exposure to an insecticide may alter insect feeding, mating, oviposition, fecundity, development, and many other life history parameters. Such effects may have population-level consequences that are not apparent in traditional dose-mortality evaluations. Earlier, we found that a routinely used combination insecticide that includes a pyrethroid and a neonicotinoid (Temprid® SC) had deleterious effects on multiple bed bug (Cimex lectularius, L.) behaviors. Here, we demonstrate that sublethal exposure impacts physiology and reproduction as well. We report that sublethal exposure to Temprid SC has variable aberrant effects on bed bugs depending on the strain, including: a reduction in male mating success and delayed oviposition by females. However, after sublethal exposure, egg hatch rate consistently declined in every strain tested, anywhere from 34%-73%. Conversely, impact on fifth instar eclosion time was not significant. While the strains that we tested varied in their respective magnitude of sublethal effects, taken together, these effects could reduce bed bug population growth. These changes in bed bug behavior and fecundity could lead to improved efficacy of Temprid SC in the field, but recovery of impacted bugs must be considered in future studies. Sublethal effects should not be overlooked when evaluating insecticide efficacy, as it is likely that other products may also have indirect effects on population dynamics that could either aid or inhibit successful management of pest populations.

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<![CDATA[Is the Combination of Insecticide and Mating Disruption Synergistic or Additive in Lightbrown Apple Moth, Epiphyas postvittana?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da37ab0ee8fa60b86c16

Pest suppression from combinations of tactics is fundamental to pest management and eradication. Interactions may occur among tactical combinations and affect suppression. The best case is synergistic, where suppression from a combination is greater than the sum of effects from single tactics (AB >> A+B). We explored how mating disruption and insecticide interacted at field scale, additively or synergistically. Use of a pheromone delivery formulation (SPLAT) as either a mating disruption treatment (i.e. a two-component pheromone alone) or as a lure and kill treatment (i.e. the two-component pheromone plus a permethrin insecticide) was compared for efficacy against the lightbrown apple moth Epiphyas postvittana. Next, four point-source densities of the SPLAT formulations were compared for communication disruption. Finally, the mating disruption and lure and kill treatments were applied with a broadcast insecticide. Population assessment used virgin female traps and synthetic pheromone in replicated 9-ha vineyard plots compared with untreated controls and insecticide-treated plots, to investigate interactions. Lure and kill and mating disruption provided equivalent suppression; no additional benefit accrued from including permethrin with the pheromone suggesting lack of contact. The highest point-source density tested (625/ha) was most effective. The insect growth regulator methoxyfenoxide applied by broadcast application lowered pest prevalence by 70% for the first ten weeks compared to pre-trial. Pheromone addition suppressed the pest further by an estimated 92.5%, for overall suppression of 97.7% from the treatment combination of insecticide plus mating disruption. This was close to that expected for an additive model of interactivity between insecticide and mating disruption (AB = A+B) estimated from plots with single tactics as 98% suppression in a combination. The results indicate the need to examine other tactical combinations to achieve the potential cost-efficiencies of synergistic interactions.

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<![CDATA[Biomechanical Factors in the Adaptations of Insect Tibia Cuticle]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da15ab0ee8fa60b7ad73

Insects are among the most diverse groups of animals on Earth. Their cuticle exoskeletons vary greatly in terms of size and shape, and are subjected to different applied forces during daily activities. We investigated the biomechanics of the tibiae of three different insect species: the desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria), American cockroach (Periplaneta americana) and Death’s Head cockroach (Blaberus discoidalis). In a previous work, we showed that these tibiae vary not only in geometry (length, radius and thickness) but also in material quality (Young’s modulus) and in the applied stress required to cause failure when loaded in bending. In the present work we used kinematic data from the literature to estimate the forces and stresses arising in vivo for various different activities, and thus calculated factors of safety defined as the ratio between the failure stress and the in vivo stress, adjusting the failure stress to a lower value to allow for fatigue failure in the case of frequently repeated activities. Factors of safety were found to vary considerably, being as little as 1.7 for the most strenuous activities, such as jumping or escaping from tight spaces. Our results show that these limbs have evolved to the point where they are close to optimal, and that instantaneous failure during high-stress activities is more critical than long-term fatigue failure. This work contributes to the discussion on how form and material properties have evolved in response to the mechanical functions of the same body part in different insects.

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<![CDATA[Strong Discrepancies between Local Temperature Mapping and Interpolated Climatic Grids in Tropical Mountainous Agricultural Landscapes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dac3ab0ee8fa60bb1993

Bridging the gap between the predictions of coarse-scale climate models and the fine-scale climatic reality of species is a key issue of climate change biology research. While it is now well known that most organisms do not experience the climatic conditions recorded at weather stations, there is little information on the discrepancies between microclimates and global interpolated temperatures used in species distribution models, and their consequences for organisms’ performance. To address this issue, we examined the fine-scale spatiotemporal heterogeneity in air, crop canopy and soil temperatures of agricultural landscapes in the Ecuadorian Andes and compared them to predictions of global interpolated climatic grids. Temperature time-series were measured in air, canopy and soil for 108 localities at three altitudes and analysed using Fourier transform. Discrepancies between local temperatures vs. global interpolated grids and their implications for pest performance were then mapped and analysed using GIS statistical toolbox. Our results showed that global interpolated predictions over-estimate by 77.5±10% and under-estimate by 82.1±12% local minimum and maximum air temperatures recorded in the studied grid. Additional modifications of local air temperatures were due to the thermal buffering of plant canopies (from −2.7°K during daytime to 1.3°K during night-time) and soils (from −4.9°K during daytime to 6.7°K during night-time) with a significant effect of crop phenology on the buffer effect. This discrepancies between interpolated and local temperatures strongly affected predictions of the performance of an ectothermic crop pest as interpolated temperatures predicted pest growth rates 2.3–4.3 times lower than those predicted by local temperatures. This study provides quantitative information on the limitation of coarse-scale climate data to capture the reality of the climatic environment experienced by living organisms. In highly heterogeneous region such as tropical mountains, caution should therefore be taken when using global models to infer local-scale biological processes.

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<![CDATA[Geographic Population Structure of the Sugarcane Borer, Diatraea saccharalis (F.) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), in the Southern United States]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da40ab0ee8fa60b89d3a

The sugarcane borer moth, Diatraea saccharalis, is widespread throughout the Western Hemisphere, and is considered an introduced species in the southern United States. Although this moth has a wide distribution and is a pest of many crop plants including sugarcane, corn, sorghum and rice, it is considered one species. The objective was to investigate whether more than one introduction of D. saccharalis had occurred in the southern United States and whether any cryptic species were present. We field collected D. saccharalis in Texas, Louisiana and Florida in the southern United States. Two molecular markers, AFLPs and mitochondrial COI, were used to examine genetic variation among these regional populations and to compare the sequences with those available in GenBank and BOLD. We found geographic population structure in the southern United States which suggests two introductions and the presence of a previously unknown cryptic species. Management of D. saccharalis would likely benefit from further investigation of population genetics throughout the range of this species.

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