Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lady Beetle Diet Influences Its Effectiveness as Biocontrol Agent

14.01.2013
By examining what lady beetles eat, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are learning more about the movement of these beneficial insects in farm fields—and whether they'll actively feed on crop pests.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) entomologist Jonathan Lundgren at the agency's North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory in Brookings, S.D., and former ARS entomologist Michael Seagraves were part of a team of ARS and university scientists that examined how a lady beetle's diet alters its feeding patterns and physiology. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.

Lady beetles are deployed as biological controls of insect pests like aphids and Colorado potato beetles. Understanding the feeding behavior of these important beneficial insects will help researchers find ways to most effectively use the lady beetles as biocontrol agents.

In laboratory feeding tests, the researchers found that a lady beetle species called Coleomegilla maculata consumes two to three times more plant tissue after being fed a prey-only diet than after being fed a mixed diet of prey and plant tissue. This suggests that plant material is providing some key nutrients lacking in prey-only diets. It is important to recognize that non-prey foods contain different nutrients than insect prey, and that beetles that are fed mixed diets are often healthier that those fed only on prey, according to Lundgren.

In a followup study, Lundgren and his colleagues found that sugar consumption by lady beetles allows females to survive and produce more eggs than those denied this sweet treat. Foods like sugar and pollen are important components of their diets, and it is thought that lady beetles rely heavily on sugar resources in the field. In this study, Lundgren and Seagraves applied sugar sprays to soybeans and quantified the frequency of sugar feeding by analyzing the gut contents of common lady beetles in South Dakota, Maryland and Kentucky.

According to Seagraves, all the tested lady beetles regularly consumed sugar-like nectar in soybean fields, even when it wasn't applied as a supplement. However, the sugar-sprayed plots had more lady beetles than the untreated plots. This research makes the case that sugar-feeding is very important for lady beetle populations in cropland and suggests a possible way to help maintain beneficial species in agroecosystems.

The research was published in Biocontrol and in Biocontrol Science and Technology.

Read more about this research in the January 2013 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

Sharon Durham | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ars.usda.gov
http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2013/130111.htm

Further reports about: ARS Agricultural Research Biocontrol Lady Beetle Seagraves beetle

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State

nachricht How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>