Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Open-access article on Mexican bean beetles offers control tips

03.02.2016

The Mexican bean beetle (Epilachna varivestis) has flown under the research radar too long, despite the fact that it has been ravaging U.S. crops for almost a century, according to Louis Nottingham, lead author of a newly published article in the open-access Journal of Integrated Pest Management. The article shines a light on the Mexican bean beetle and describes possible management strategies, including so-called "cultural methods" that can control this pest without insecticides.

"If you look through the literature on this pest, there are probably only 10 or so articles in the past 20 years, and nothing in terms of a profile-type article since the 1930s," said Nottingham, a PhD student and graduate research assistant in the lab of Professor Tom Kuhar at Virginia Tech. "It was time to bring more attention to this beetle that is so significant in our growers' lives."


This is a Mexican bean beetle (Epilachna varivestis) adult with eggs.

Credit: Entomological Society of America

A type of lady beetle originally known from high elevations of western Mexico and Central America, the Mexican bean beetle showed up in the western United States in the late 1800s in connection with the spreading cultivation of beans. The beetle favors wax beans and green snap beans in the genus Phaseolus. It will, however, eat all types of legumes, including alfalfa, and as settlers began transporting that forage plant to the East Coast as animal feed, they brought the beetles along.

After reviewing the available literature on the beetles, the researchers may have discovered a behavioral trait that can be used against them.

"If you look back in the literature, you'll see that if you shine a light on different sides of a bean plant, the beetles always abscond to the other side. That also explains why you find every life stage -- eggs, larvae, pupae, and even the adults -- almost always on the shaded side of the leaves," Nottingham said.

After some thought about how they could manipulate light conditions, they decided to try metalized plastic mulch, which looks much like a sheet of aluminum foil with black backing. When placed on the soil around the plants, the mulch reflects light onto the bottoms of bean-plant leaves.

They contrasted small outdoor bean plots using the reflective mulch, black plastic sheeting, or plain soil, and observed beetle numbers, plant damage, and plant growth. Farm-scale research on the effect of reflective mulch remains to be conducted, but it looks good so far.

"We found significantly less of every life stage on plants in our plots with reflective mulch vs. black plastic and bare ground," Nottingham said. "And the plants grew way better and had far less plant injury."

Other options include mechanical removal, row covers, and the use of parasitoids.

###

The full article, "Natural History, Ecology, and Management of the Mexican Bean Beetle (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in the United States," is available for free at http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jipm/pmv023.

The Journal of Integrated Pest Management is published by the Entomological Society of America, the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has nearly 7,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, and hobbyists. For more information, visit http://www.entsoc.org.

Media Contact

Richard Levine
rlevine@entsoc.org
301-731-4535

 @EntsocAmerica

http://www.entsoc.org

Richard Levine | EurekAlert!

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Faba fix for corn's nitrogen need
11.04.2018 | American Society of Agronomy

nachricht Wheat research discovery yields genetic secrets that could shape future crops
09.04.2018 | John Innes Centre

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: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum Technology for Advanced Imaging – QUILT

24.04.2018 | Information Technology

AWI researchers measure a record concentration of microplastic in arctic sea ice

24.04.2018 | Earth Sciences

Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled

24.04.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>