Center for Plant Health Science and Technology
CPHST Lab, Phoenix, Arizona
||Location: 3645 E. Wier Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85040
Fax: (602) 431-3258
Contact: Richard Zink
The Phoenix Lab’s mission is to develop, adapt, and implement areawide control technologies for program pests. Current work includes developing control tools, methods, equipment, and support for pink bollworm (PBW), rangeland grasshopper/Mormon cricket complex, and light brown apple moth (LBAM). These control technologies include biocontrol, sterile insect technique, pheromones, new chemicals, ground and aerial delivery systems, and geographic information system applications. The lab’s scientists conduct extensive laboratory and field developmental and operational scale studies to test and validate materials, methods, and equipment.
The Phoenix Lab’s rangeland section works with Federal and State customers to provide technical assistance for the grasshopper and Mormon cricket control programs. This section also develops and implements solutions to program problems and continuously evaluates the technology and tools of the control program to maintain state-of-the-art status. The Pink Bollworm section supports the PBW eradication program by providing expertise on pheromone mating disruption, custom rearing and mass-rearing of insects, sterile insect release mechanisms, insect population monitoring, and insect behavior.
Phoenix lab updates
- Conducted a replicated trial that compared a candidate new grasshopper treatment, Rynaxypyr, to PPQ standard treatments: diflubenzuron, carbaryl, and malathion.
- Conducted grasshopper control operational trials replacing the crop oil component with an anti-drift deposition adjuvant in aerial applications of diflubenzuron. This will produce savings by simplifying the mixing and loading, while increasing aircraft use efficiency. The mix is ready for implementation.
- Continued work to find a new toxicant that will produce comparable rangeland grasshopper and Mormon cricket mortality to carbaryl in a bait formulation. Several commercially available carbaryl based baits have been field tested and found to be essentially equivalent. The concentrations tested of Permethrin and Rynaxypry based baits were not as effective as others already available. Bifenthrin bait showed promise in cage tests and will be tested in the field.
- Collected, cataloged, and screened domestic pathogenic fungi from soil samples provided by PPQ personnel while surveying for grasshoppers. Developed and implemented screening protocol methods for ultraviolet and heat tolerance to spore and germination phases. Small replicated plot methods have been developed that will speed the search for suitable biopesticide field applications. New ‘organic’ carriers for the field application are being developed.
- Conducted field exposure and aging studies of the exotic grasshopper specific pathogen, Metarhizium acridu, whichis used as a biopesticide for locust control in Africa and Asia. An application for a permit to study the pathogen under field conditions in mini plots will be carried forward.
- Continued to acquire, catalog, and make available field research data, historic documents, and other literature documenting the history of grasshopper and Mormon cricket control efforts conducted by PPQ. The holdings include maps, photos and meeting records that cover the development and history of rangeland pest management. The goal is to provide access to documents, prevent the loss of relevant results, and to build an information warehouse that will accommodate current and future information requests.
Pink Bollworm Section
- Tested and introduced strontium chloride as a second dietary marker for pink bollworm released for sterile insect technique in the International Pink Bollworm Eradication Program.
- Evaluated and recommended an increased sterilizing dose of radiation to the Pink Bollworm Rearing Facility to reduce confusion in field traps from F1 progeny.
- Reared, shipped and tracked fresh, un-dyed, fluorescing pink bollworm moths to program managers in four U.S. and two Mexican States for use as quality assurance in program traps.
- Produced and shipped pink bollworm diet to at least eight U.S. and English cooperators for rearing diverse Lepidoptera species.