Biological Pest Control

Palisade, CO, United States

Biological Pest Control

Palisade, CO, United States
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Acharya K.,Desert Research Institute | Sueki S.,Desert Research Institute | Conrad B.,Colorado State University | Dudley T.L.,University of California at Santa Barbara | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Entomology | Year: 2013

Tamarisk leaf beetles, Diorhabda spp., have been released in the western United States as a biological control agent for the invasive weed Tamarix spp. There have been a few studies on the life cycle, host preferences, and field observations of Diorhabda; however, their ecophysiological characteristics under various temperature regimes are not clearly understood. In this study, life history characteristics such as growth, fecundity, and mortality of Diorhabda carinulata (Desbrochers), the species established in the Colorado River basin, were investigated under various temperatures. Beetles were housed at various temperatures (room, constant high, and variable high) and their life cycle from eggs to reproductive adult was observed. Body size at various larval and adult stages, as well as their developmental time decreased with increasing temperature. Between the two temperature treatments, beetles at diurnally fluctuating temperature (variable high treatment) grew slower and produced fewer eggs per clutch when compared with the constant high treatment. Despite smaller in size, beetles grew fastest at the constant high temperature and produced most eggs per clutch compared with the other two treatments. Overall, severely high temperatures seem to have a debilitating effect on Diorhabda at early larval stages with nearly 50% mortality. The study has potential implications for the tamarisk beetle biocontrol program in the southwestern United States. © 2013 Entomological Society of America.

Dalin P.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Dalin P.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Bean D.W.,Biological Pest Control | Dudley T.L.,University of California at Santa Barbara | And 9 more authors.
Environmental Entomology | Year: 2010

Seasonal adaptations to daylength often limit the effective range of insects used in biological control of weeds. The leaf beetle Diorhabda carinulata (Desbrochers) was introduced into North America from Fukang, China (latitude 44° N) to control saltcedars (Tamarix spp.), but failed to establish south of 38° N latitude because of a mismatched critical daylength response for diapause induction. The daylength response caused beetles to enter diapause too early in the season to survive the duration of winter at southern latitudes. Using climate chambers, we characterized the critical daylength response for diapause induction (CDL) in three ecotypes of Diorhabda beetles originating from 36, 38, and 43° N latitudes in Eurasia. In a field experiment, the timing of reproductive diapause and voltinism were compared among ecotypes by rearing the insects on plants in the field. CDL declined with latitude of origin among Diorhabda ecotypes. Moreover, CDL in southern (<39° N latitude) ecotypes was shortened by more than an hour when the insects were reared under a fluctuating 3515°C thermoperiod than at a constant 25°C. In the northern (>42° N latitude) ecotypes, however, CDL was relatively insensitive to temperature. The southern ecotypes produced up to four generations when reared on plants in the field at sites south of 38° N, whereas northern ecotypes produced only one or two generations. The study reveals latitudinal variation in how Diorhabda ecotypes respond to daylength for diapause induction and how these responses affect insect voltinism across the introduced range. © 2010 Entomological Society of America.

Conrad B.,Campbell Scientific Inc. | Acharya K.,Desert Research Institute | Dudley T.L.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Bean D.W.,Biological Pest Control
Journal of Arid Environments | Year: 2013

Tamarisk (Tamarix spp.) has in recent decades come to dominate riparian corridors throughout much of the western U.S. The implementation of biological control, utilizing the tamarisk leaf beetle (Diorhabda spp., particularly D iorhabda carinulata), has focused attention and research on this method for Tamarix suppression. Researchers are just beginning to understand how herbivory by Diorhabda affects Tamarix physiology and nutritional dynamics. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether herbivory by D.carinulata altered leaf litter nitrogen and stem starch content, and if so, how such alteration varied across a gradient of herbivory chronosequence. Leaf litter and stem analysis showed significantly higher levels of both nitrogen and stem starch content in trees that had experienced herbivory by the leaf beetle. However, there were no significant differences in nitrogen or stem starch content based on years of beetle herbivory. Higher levels of nitrogen in leaf litter from beetle-affected trees may be a result of herbivory-induced desiccation and foliar mortality prior to the translocation of nitrogen back into plant reserves. Additionally, higher stem starch may be a result of either phloem damage reducing the translocation of photoassimilates, or an increase in the shunting of carbohydrates to the site of new leaf growth. Finally, the lack of correlation between years of herbivory and both leaf litter nitrogen and stem starch may indicate that as of yet there have not been sufficient defoliation events to yield anticipated host plant impact. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Nagler P.L.,U.S. Geological Survey | Brown T.,TimeScience | Hultine K.R.,Desert Botanical Garden | van Riper C.,U.S. Geological Survey | And 4 more authors.
Remote Sensing of Environment | Year: 2012

Tamarix leaf beetles (Diorhabda carinulata) have been widely released on western U.S. rivers to control introduced shrubs in the genus Tamarix. Part of the motivation to control Tamarix is to salvage water for human use. Information is needed on the impact of beetles on Tamarix seasonal leaf production and subsequent water use over wide areas and multiple cycles of annual defoliation. Here we combine ground data with high resolution phenocam imagery and moderate resolution (Landsat) and coarser resolution (MODIS) satellite imagery to test the effects of beetles on Tamarix evapotranspiration (ET) and leaf phenology at sites on six western rivers. Satellite imagery covered the period 2000 to 2010 which encompassed years before and after beetle release at each study site. Phenocam images showed that beetles reduced green leaf cover of individual canopies by about 30% during a 6-8week period in summer, but plants produced new leaves after beetles became dormant in August, and over three years no net reduction in peak summer leaf production was noted. ET was estimated by vegetation index methods, and both Landsat and MODIS analyses showed that beetles reduced ET markedly in the first year of defoliation, but ET recovered in subsequent years. Over all six sites, ET decreased by 14% to 15% by Landsat and MODIS estimates, respectively. However, results were variable among sites, ranging from no apparent effect on ET to substantial reduction in ET. Baseline ET rates before defoliation were low, 394mmyr -1 by Landsat and 314mmyr -1 by MODIS estimates (20-25% of potential ET), further constraining the amount of water that could be salvaged. Beetle-Tamarix interactions are in their early stage of development on this continent and it is too soon to predict the eventual extent to which Tamarix populations will be reduced. The utility of remote sensing methods for monitoring defoliation was constrained by the small area covered by each phenocam image, the low temporal resolution of Landsat, and the low spatial resolution of MODIS imagery. Even combined image sets did not adequately reveal the details of the defoliation process, and remote sensing data should be combined with ground observations to develop operational monitoring protocols. © 2011 .

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