The Japanese Beetle Control Near Airports And Cargo Transportation Facilities: Field Testing

Grants and Contracts Details


The Japanese beetle control near airports and cargo transportation facilities: Field Testing S. R. Palli Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, email: Abstract The Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica is an established pest that inflicts significant damage to field crops, fruit trees, vegetable, and ornamental plants and turfgrass in the eastern United States of America. Preventing its spread to western states is a high priority since the introduction of this pest to western states would impact the production of fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, and field crops in these states. The main routes of spread of this pest to other regions of the country are thought to be through cargo transport by airplanes and plants produced in nurseries. Considerable efforts, including the use of chemicals insecticides, building exclusion facilities, clearing vegetation around the facilities and holding off irrigation of airfields and employing people to inspect each carrier, are done at airports and cargo transportation facilities in Kentucky and other states with established populations of P. japonica. With funding from this program, we showed that treating okra plant foliage with bacteria-produced double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) targeting the Actin gene in P. japonica triggers efficient RNA interference (RNAi) resulting in feeding inhibition and death of beetles. The first field trials conducted with this product look promising but need to repeat these field trails with improvements in design based on lessons learned from the field trails. Netting of treated plots to eliminate movement of beetles between plots, the release of beetles into netted treated plots, use of Nu-Film P Nu Film P spreader sticker adjuvant to improve the efficiency of dsRNA and testing a combination of dsActin and Bacillus thuringiensis galleriae (Btg) will be incorporated into the field trails planned. The primary goal of this application is to field test the dsRNA to control P. japonica. dsRNA targeting the Actin gene of P. japonica and control dsRNA targeting a fragment of green fluorescent protein gene will be produced in bacteria. The bacteria will be heat-killed and evaluated by applying to okra plants planted on the University of Kentucky South Farm. The ability of bacteria-produced P. japonica dsActin in stoppage of feeding, protection of plants and inducing mortality of beetles will be evaluated by visual inspections, leaf area damage measurements, counting of dead beetles and yield comparisons between treated and control plots. The data obtained from the proposed research will help to confirm our preliminary data on the effectiveness of bacteria-produced P. japonica dsActin in triggering RNAi, preventing damage, and killing P. japonica. These experiments will also identify the best dose and number of dsRNA treatments required to control P. japonica paving the way for the application of RNAi method for controlling P. japonica not only near airports, transportation facilities and nurseries but also to protect field crops, vegetables, and ornamental plants and turfgrass from its damage.
Effective start/end date9/1/239/30/24


  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: $126,352.00


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