Strategic Beneficial Initiative: 8 Naturalized beneficial insects we need for the citizens/farmers of the
southeastern US....
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Strategic beneficial Insect initiative for southeastern us CFSA13


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8 biological control programs we could do against insect pests in the SE USA at low cost right now to improve vegetable farming. This merely involves moving beneficial insects from one part of the US to the other.

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Strategic beneficial Insect initiative for southeastern us CFSA13

  1. 1. Strategic Beneficial Initiative: 8 Naturalized beneficial insects we need for the citizens/farmers of the southeastern US. The following is a list of potential biological control agents, their hosts, and how they could lower of the cost of production for farmers in our region. We need to import, test and validate the impact that these beneficial insects have for growers and landowners in the region. All insects listed below are established in various parts of the US. We need them supporting our farmers in the southeastern USA and as a result, we can make organic, and conventional farming much more sustainable than in their absence. Cotesia rubecula (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) – the primary parasite of Imported Cabbageworm, Pieris rapae, in Europe. It has been successfully introduced into Massachusetts, Michigan and British Columbia. Studies show that with adequate food sources nearby, it parasitizes over 90% of the ICW caterpillars in the early season, thus allowing for more natural enemies to build, defending against later season pests like cabbage looper. In addition, it emerges and kills 4th instar larva, thus preventing larvae from reaching the 5 instar, which causes 85% of the leaf damage to crucifers. This is a critical needs natural enemy that would help crucifer growers throughout the southeast. There are biotypes of this wasp that would work in Florida (Zone 9), as well as biotypes that would work in cooler mountainous areas to Zone 4 or so. Peristenus spp. (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) – this wasp is a parasite of the nymphs of Lygus spp – tarnished plant bug and Lygus bug in Europe. It has been successfully introduced into New Jersey, where the wasp is established in about a 30-mile radius from the release. Studies show it attacks over 70% of the lygus/plant bug nymphs, thus leading to dramatically reduced bug populations. It could be of tremendous value for vegetable growers and alfalfa growers. Istocheta aldrichi – Winsome Fly (Diptera: Tachinidae) - This is an effective parasite of the adult Japanese beetle. Flies oviposit (lay eggs) 90% of their eggs on female JB. These parasitized beetles die in 5 days, thus parasitization rates are additive on a 5 day basis. It was considered the major mortality factor of JB in Japan. We have successfully introduced and established this beetle in North Carolina (Sugar Grove), Michigan, and Minnesota. Flies prefer cooler mountainous climates, but will establish in Zones 6 or less. This fly is critical for sustainable control of Japanese beetle. Biotype from Kyushu for Southern US. Tiphia vernalis – The Spring Tiphia (Hymenoptera: Tiphiidae). The Spring Tiphia has become the most effective and widespread parasite of larval Japanese beetles. The wasp attacks 2nd and 3rd instar Japanese beetle and Oriental beetle (bonus!) grubs in the Spring. Food plants are critical to realizing high rates of parasitization. Although widely established in NE USA, the wasp is absent from many sites in SE USA such as golf courses due to extensive chemical use and could be re-introduced on a widespread basis. Tiphia popilliavora – The Fall Tiphia (Hymenoptera: Tiphiidae). The Fall Tiphia attacks 2nd and 3rd instar Japanese beetle grubs in August through October. Food plants are critical for high parasitization rates; wild carrot, Dacus carota, being the primary food source for this wasp. By having an effective natural enemy that attacks all life stages, the Japanese beetle can be brought under sustainable control, if the natural enemies are stewarded. Hyposoter exiguae – (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) – This is a parasite of several types of caterpillars, most notably the Imported Cabbageworm, armyworms, and cutworms. It is native to the west coast, but could be of value here in the east, as we have lots of pest caterpillars that would serve as hosts for this species. Rhinoncomimus latipes (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) - Adult weevils (orange in color) eat small holes in young leaves of mile-a-minute weed, Polygonum perfoliatum and lay eggs on leaves and stems. After hatching, larvae bore into the stem where they complete development, then exit the stem and drop to the soil for pupation. Studies show it has established quickly and suppressed populations of mile-a-minute weed to non-damaging levels. Pseudacteon spp. flies against Fire Ants: Research to date has identified flies of the genus Pseudacteon (family Phoridae), specialized fire ant parasitoids, as species-specific biological agents whose co-occurrences with host populations of fire ant appears to keep hosts in check and below pest status.