Dormancy Management to Enable Mass-rearing and Increase Efficacy of Sterile Insects and Natural Enemies

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Closed for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code

D41025

CRP

1972

Approved Date

2012/10/29

Status

3 - Active - Ongoing

Start Date

2014/02/13

Expected End Date

2019/06/30

Participating Countries

Argentina
Austria
Bangladesh
Belgium
Canada
China
Czech Republic
Denmark
France
Greece
Japan
Mexico
Republic of Korea
South Africa
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
United States of America

Description

Biological control applications based on the use of sterile insects and natural enemies are sustainable and environment-friendly control methods that are increasingly being used against pest insects.  Dormancy is an integral component of many insect life cycles, wherein insects enter a state of developmental or reproductive arrest to avoid adverse conditions and synchronize their populations with favourable conditions. Dormancy responses are an obstacle to the effective implementation of mass rearing in many cases. The ability to manage dormancy could facilitate the development of new pest control programs that are currently constrained by species dormancy characteristics. Dormancy management could also offer opportunities to carefully time the supply of mass-reared insects upon demand and to enhance product quality. Specifically, dormancy management could enable effective mass rearing of insects that require dormancy, the ability to stockpile and mobilize them upon demand, maintenance of the genetic integrity of strains, and mitigating the stresses of sterilization, product shipment, and release. However, there is a clear gap in knowledge of the roles and mechanisms of dormancy on life cycle synchronization or stress resistance in sterile insects and natural enemies. The objectives of this CRP are: 1) to generate new knowledge about the induction, maintenance, and termination of dormancy in insects, 2) to disseminate and apply that knowledge to improve the efficacy of current biological control programs using sterile insects or natural enemies, and 3) to develop new programs for select insect pest species where dormancy has been a barrier. Furthermore, understanding dormancy responses may lead to novel pest management tools, such as dormancy disruption in the field.

Objectives

The objective of the project is to understand and harness dormancy management as a tool for enabling mass-rearing of insect species previously difficult to rear and enhancing current mass-rearing efforts for biological control, specifically using sterile insects and natural enemies as part of an environmentally friendly, area-wide integrated pest management approach.

Specific objectives

Assess whether dormancy responses can be used to reduce radiation injury and enhance sterile insect performance.

Develop and assess new methods to use dormancy responses to enable or enhance the shelf life of biological control agents, including sterile insects and natural enemies.

Assess whether dormancy responses can be used to decrease shipping-related damage and enhance post-shipping performance.

Develop and assess new methods to manage dormancy responses to facilitate mass rearing.

Develop and assess new methods to use dormancy responses to maintain the genetic integrity of laboratory strains.

Explore the potential for dormancy responses to generate novel approaches for inducing “ecological suicide”.

Assess whether dormancy responses, physiological conditioning, and storage conditions can be used to decrease shipping-related damage and enhance post-shipping performance.

Assess whether dormancy responses, physiological conditioning, and storage conditions can be used to reduce radiation injury and enhance sterile insect performance.

Develop and assess new methods to manage dormancy responses, physiological conditioning, and storage conditions to facilitate mass rearing.

Develop and assess new methods to use dormancy responses, physiological conditioning, and storage conditions to enable or enhance the shelf life of biological control agents, including sterile insects and natural enemies.

Develop and assess new methods to use dormancy responses, physiological conditioning, and storage conditions to maintain the genetic integrity of laboratory strains.

Develop methods to incorporate dormancy into phenological models to improve the timing of field releases.

Explore the potential for dormancy responses to generate novel approaches for inducing “ecological suicide”. 

Explore the role of the microbiome on dormancy responses, physiological conditioning, and cold storage to enhance mass rearing and shelf life of biological control agents.

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