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Sustainable Management of Insects and Mites in Crop and Vegetable Systems in Texas Panhandle


The over-arching goal of this project is to contribute to sustainability of arthropod management in the Texas High Plains through basic and applied research coupled with effective communication of the outcomes and their implications to peers and stakeholders. The specific objectives are:Objective 1. Insecticide resistance management in field crop and vegetable production in Texas:The goal of this objective is a comprehensive approach to detection and management of insecticide resistance. The research will focus on vegetable (e.g., potato and tomato) and field crops (e.g., corn and sorghum) in Texas. The short-term objectives include 1) identification of pesticides (and Bt toxins) currently used in insect management that no longer provide sufficient suppression of pests; 2) examining non-lethal properties of chemicals that deter pests and in effect prevent them from colonizing plants; and 3) describing the major predators of key pests and their relative impact on pest suppression. A
long-term goal is a region-specific, if possible, recommendation for chemical (and Bt) rotation plans that delay onset of insecticide resistance and provides sufficient control of key pests while minimizing the impact on natural enemies.Objective 2. Impact of water availability on plant-arthropod vector interactions and plant resilience to pests:This objective is mainly focused on the impact of variable irrigation on susceptibility of crops to arthropods (vector and non-vector) and mechanisms involved in plant-arthropod interactions. The goals include 1) characterization of plant responses at molecular and physiological level to key arthropod pests (vector and non-vector) under water deficit and ample irrigation in greenhouse and field; and 2) assessment of the impact of variable irrigation on susceptibility of crops to insect and mite attack and resulting plant injury. The long-term objective is to formulate irrigation recommendations based on severity of insect and mite infestations
in order to reduce water use without compromising plant productivity and maintaining acceptable plant resilience to pests.Objective 3. Sustainable management approaches to emerging pest invasions:The goal of this objective is to address issues related to management of new pests in the Texas High Plains. The major aims include 1) characterization of the timing and intensity of new insect pest infestations; 2) quantifying economic losses caused by new pests by evaluation of crop performance and yield; 3) research on integrated management tactics to suppress the impact of new insect (e.g., sugarcane aphid) and weed (e.g., saltcedar) pests to agricultural production in the Texas High Plains; and 4) ecology and mechanisms of invasion in the context of their relevance to management of the new pest.

Szczepaniec, AD
Texas A&M University
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