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Research on Biological Control of Insects in the Midwest
At the annual meeting of the North Central
Regional Committee on Arthropod Biological Control (NCR-125) in
Grafton, Illinois in early October, state representatives
reported on biological control activities in their states. Some
of the many projects are summarized here. For further information
contact the state representatives that are listed.
Illinois - Rob
- Several species and biotypes of gypsy moth microsporidia collected in Austria, Germany Hungary,
Slovakia, Bulgaria, Poland and Czech Republic are being
characterized to determine which is/are the most
appropriate to introduce as permanent control agents of
the gypsy moth in North America.
- The pine
needle scale parasitoid Aphytis
chilensis is attracted to floral volatiles of Dutch
white clover, one of the only flowers blooming in the
vicinity when parasitoids emerge in May. Specific
volatiles might possibly be used to manipulate wasps for
improved parasitism. Interplanting with clover may help
conserve wasps in Christmas
- Weekly releases of the parasitoids Spalangia
nigroaenea and Muscidifurax zaraptor at
small owner-operated cattle feedlots in Indiana
significantly reduced numbers of stable and
house fly adults.
Indiana - Bob O'Neil
and Cliff Sadof
- Foreign exploration for natural enemies of
beetles continued, with visits to
Bolivia and Columbia. A new species of parasitic mite, Chrysomelobia
n. sp., that lives under the wing covers of the beetles
was discovered in Honduras.
- Research on the mealybug destroyer shows that the beetles search for prey in a
random fashion, so plant leaf area has an impact on how
successful they are in finding enough food to complete
Iowa - John Obrycki
and Les Lewis (USDA)
- Over 600,000 leaf-feeding Galerucella beetles have been released in 11 Iowa counties during
the past 5 years for control of purple loosestrife. Observations in 1998 showed that beetle
densities are increasing and adults are dispersing
throughout the release areas. Beetle feeding reduces
flower production (as much as 80-90% at one site in
northwest Iowa), but does not reduce below ground growth.
A flower-feeding weevil and an aphid are also multiplying
and dispersing following releases.
- Transgenic Bt corn pollen had
significant negative effects on monarch butterfly and cecropia
moth larvae in laboratory studies.
Field studies showed enough corn pollen is deposited on
milkweed plants adjacent to corn fields to kill young
monarch larvae feeding on the plants.
Michigan - Doug Landis
- Since invading Michigan five years ago,
lady beetle Harmonia
axyridis has become the dominant lady beetle
species, and may be contributing to the decline of three
other native species.
- Purple loosestrife natural enemies are successfully established at
11 sites in Michigan, and the feeding of Galerucella beetles has resulted in significant reduction in plant
height, flowering and density at over half of the sites
that were monitored.
- In surveys of oak stands for gypsy moth virus and the fungus Entomophaga maimaiga,
the virus was more common in heavily defoliated stands
and the fungal pathogen was more common when gypsy moth
populations were low.
Minnesota - Dave
Ragsdale and George Heimpel
- Bioassay results show that the fungus Beauveria is better than oil, soap or azatin (neem) for
conserving predators in interiorscapes.
- A classical biological control program
began with exploration in Central Asia for new natural
enemies of filth
- Elm leaf beetle pupae under elm trees can be controlled with
applications of Beauveria or Heterorhabditis
nematodes, offering homeowners and park managers an
alternative to conventional insecticides in recreational
Missouri - Ben Puttler
- The USDA Biological Control of Insects
Research Lab (BCIRL) is developing mass production and
storage procedures for the two-spotted stink bug, a
predator of Colorado
Nebraska - Bob Wright
- Total parasitization of the European corn borer in Nebraska was 16.6 and 17.7% during 1995 and
1996. The braconid Macrocentrus grandii (not previously reported from Nebraska) was
recovered from 9-10% of the collected larvae and the
terebrans was recovered
from about 7.5%.
Ohio - Dave Horn
- The predatory mite Typhlodromus pyri
has been established on commercial apples in
central Ohio, and hopefully will eventually provide more
timely control of European
red mite than does Neoseiulus
- Coccinella septempunctata is the
beetle in both cultivated
habitats and low vegetation in natural areas, while Harmonia axyridis has become the most common lady beetle in
forested areas throughout Ohio.
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