Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MSU entomologists mass-rear wheat stem sawfly enemies

10.10.2006
With wheat stem sawfly natural enemies in demand, Montana State University entomologists are investigating ways of increasing their availability.

This fall, the entomologists are concluding a two-year study that involved mass-rearing parasitic wasps that attack wheat stem sawfly larvae that tunnel the interior of developing wheat plants. The team includes entomologists David Weaver, master's graduate Godshen Pallipparambil-Robert and undergraduate Melissa Frazier of Kalispell.

Pallipparambil-Robert's work, as part of his completed master's degree, used large cages placed over wheat at the Post Agronomy Farm west of Bozeman. He deliberately infested the enclosed wheat with wheat stem sawflies, and then introduced the parasitic wasps. His research explored whether supplemental food provided as nectar from flowering plants or as honey water increases the number of parasitic wasps produced in each cage. Another part of his thesis project examined whether using special ultraviolet and visible light-transmitting windows increases the number of parasites.

"After two years, the research shows that the added light consistently causes small increases in the number of parasitic wasps, while the food supply is probably not important in these mass-rearing cages, because the parasitoids were added in large numbers, and attacked the available sawflies before the need to feed may have become critical " Weaver said. At lower parasitoid densities, supplemental food might be much more important, and research from other systems suggests that this is definitely true in natural settings. However, the goal of the research is to find ways to increase the supply of parasitoids from a controlled system to Montana wheat growers.

"Right now, the number of people wanting parasitic wasps far out-number what we can deliver," he said. The small, orange parasitic wasps are part of the naturally occurring suppression of wheat stem sawfly that varies greatly from field to field throughout Montana. The wasps produce two generations of offspring a year, compared to only one for the wheat stem sawfly.

A number of Montana counties now have established populations of these natural enemies in their wheat fields, thanks to pilot scale research co-sponsored by the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee; USDA, CSREES Special Research Grants; the Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology; and the BNSF Railway Foundation. However, the process of locating parasitic wasp populations for redistribution is inefficient, and having the ability to reliably mass produce these organisms would be an asset.

Even a slight increase in efficiency could translate into the ability to produce thousands of additional parasitic wasps, which could then be distributed to wheat stem sawfly infested sites.

Pallipparambil-Robert has just begun work on a doctorate in entomology at the University of Arkansas. The late summer and autumn efforts are being completed by Frazier. It became her job to tend the cages of parasitic wasps every few days, after Palliparambil-Robert departed.

Weaver said more research is needed to determine precisely how many sawflies and parasitic wasps need to be added to each cage and to determine the best time to add the wasps. The current research shows that enough parasitoids can be produced to establish a founding population in an infested wheat field using the straw residue from a single mass-rearing cage.

Mass-rearing of the parasitic wasps is only one of three or four approaches for sawfly management that are being pursued at MSU. The drought conditions of recent years have made the work more pressing, since drought favors damage by wheat stem sawflies, which are now more widely distributed in Montana than years ago.

"There are larger areas of sawfly damage all along the Golden Triangle, the northern tier of Montana counties as well as the area around Lewistown, Circle and Jordan," Weaver said. Currently, MSU is specifically partnering with MSU Extension county agents to redistribute and monitor populations of parasitic wasps, as part of an expanded effort to establish the more effective parasitoid populations in those areas.

"We hope to see the populations there grow, and what Pallipparambil-Robert's work will do is to help us have the ability to have parasitoids more readily available for future efforts," Weaver said. "Right now, we have to locate a large population of these beneficial insects before we can redistribute them. If we can reliably have them available at a known location, we could do our job much more efficiently."

A "how to" MontGuide for the conservation of these parasitic wasps, which supports the redistribution efforts, is currently being written and should become available over the winter.

Contact: David Weaver, (406) 994-7608 or weaver@montana.edu

David Weaver | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.montana.edu

Further reports about: MSU Stem Weaver entomologists parasitic parasitic wasp parasitoid

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular libraries for organic light-emitting diodes
24.04.2017 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Fine organic particles in the atmosphere are more often solid glass beads than liquid oil droplets
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular libraries for organic light-emitting diodes

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Research sheds new light on forces that threaten sensitive coastlines

24.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

24.04.2017 | Machine Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>