Posts Tagged ‘ pest control ’

Biobest sticky trap rolls

During the season, in certain periods, a very large quantity of harmful flying insects might appear. Because of this, the biological balance can be severely damaged. Applying the Biobest Bug-Scan sticky trap roll will lead to a massive catch of these insects.

Biobest Bug-Scan sticky trap roll is actually a roll of sticky traps. This roll (like the ordinary Bug-Scan) consists of yellow or blue recyclable plastic, provided with glue on both sides. This glue is non-toxic, water-resistant and does not dry out in warm circumstances. The colour is selected because it is very attractive for most flying insects. That is why they are eager to land on the plastic; they get stuck on it and finally die.

The Biobest Bug-Scan sticky trap roll is 100m long and 30cm, 10cm or 5cm wide. Each roll has a non-sticky part at the beginning which makes unrolling it a lot easier (this part can be cut off later if necessary).

The Biobest Bug-Scan sticky trap roll is mostly used in protected cultures in order to catch harmful insects. Bug-Scan sticky trap roll can also be used in open air, in areas where there is practically no sand in the air.

For further information contact:
Roskam Young Plants Pty Ltd,
PO Box 44, Clarinda, Victoria 3169, Australia
Fax: 03 9551-0217

Issue 97: Floral arms race seduces insects

November/December – 2007
Author: Anne Gaskett

During National Science Week, ANNE GASKETT reported compelling evidence that native Australian orchids use their colour, shape and fragrance to seduce male insects. Her ground-breaking research has important implications for the control of agricultural pests.

Australian orchids are engaged in an arms race, using sensory overload to seduce male insects. Macquarie University PhD student Anne Gaskett has discovered just how they do it. Her work is important to the conservation of orchids and the control of economically important agricultural pests.

Gaskett has been analysing the smells, colours and shapes of flowers from an insect’s perspective. She has found that orchids mimic female insects so well that male insects cannot resist mating with them and accidentally ferrying pollen from plant to plant.

“I have accumulated the first compelling evidence of an ongoing and escalating arms race between orchids and their unwitting insect pollinators,” Gaskett explains.

“Over generations the insects learn to avoid having sex with orchids, and this means only the most persuasive orchids reproduce, which drives the acceleration of orchid subterfuge.”

The Australian bush is rife with such sexual deception, Gaskett says, as native orchids lure pollinators with false promises of romance.

Gaskett has been studying the hardworking orchid dupe wasp (Lissopimpla excelsa), which is fooled into copulating with not just one, but five native tongue orchid species (Cryptostylis) in urban and regional Australia. All the tongue orchid species mimic the female dupe wasp, but to the human eye they look quite different.

By using modern technology to study the physics of the colours of the orchids and the female insects, Gaskett has revealed that they are identical when viewed by male insects. The flowers are also shaped to mimic female insect bodies.

To the human eyes the female wasp looks orange and black and the orchids are pink, maroon and orange-red. However, receptors in human and wasp eyes are very different. Unlike humans, wasps see ultraviolet light. When Gaskett used a spectrometer to study the wavelengths of light reflected from orchids and female wasps, she was amazed to find they were virtually identical.

“The smell is the most important thing for attracting the insect,” she said. “But the colours say this is the source of that alluring fragrance.”

Gaskett is now looking at the impact of the chemical components of orchid perfumes directly on wasp antennae, to understand what makes these fragrances irresistible.

“The key to the orchids’ success is bombarding young male wasps with an extremely compelling sensory overload of irresistible sex signals,” Gaskett explains.

Studying these intimate interactions addresses big questions about nature and evolution and highlights the millions of other unknown interactions crucial for a sustainable and healthy environment.

“These insects might be fools for love, but their role as orchid pollinators makes them indispensable.”

Gaskett’s next step will be to analyse the seductive orchid bouquets to discover which elements mimic the female wasp pheromones.

So what led Anne Gasket down this research path?
“I’ve always enjoyed getting out and investigating nature,” said Gaskett. “In the past, I’ve focused on animals, studying projects such as Antarctic fish diet around Macquarie Island, and spider mating and sex pheromones.

“When I was designing my PhD research I wanted to expand into botany and learn lab techniques useful for applied research in the future. I wanted a topic that would involve local community groups and enthusiasts plus travel and fieldwork opportunities, and avoid nocturnal animals – I didn’t want to be up all night!

“Studying orchids suited all these requirements and since Australia has most of the world’s sexually deceptive orchids, I thought I was well placed to use local native plants to discover interesting results with some global impact,” she said.

To study the orchids’ scents, Gaskett borrowed techniques from agricultural studies for identifying pest insects, usually very specific sex pheromones.

“If you can identify and make synthetic versions of the pheromones, you can use it as bait to trap male insects so they can’t reproduce or get into the crops,” she said.

The identification procedure is called gas chromatography – electro-antennography. It involves sampling the scent of an orchid, or a female of a pest species, and using gas chromatography to break the scent down into its separate components.

“You attach an antenna from the orchid-visiting insect or pest species so that as the scent is separated, it also blows across the antenna. You can detect when the antenna’s chemoreceptors fire and, therefore, which components are attractive to the insect,” Gaskett explains.

“I’ve used this project as an opportunity to promote and improve my skills with these techniques so the future might see me working in a much more applied capacity.”

Gaskett was one of 16 early-career scientists presenting their research to the public for the first time thanks to Fresh Science, a national program sponsored by the Federal and Victorian Governments. Her work has been funded for three years by a 2005 American Orchid Society Fellowship.

For further information contact:
Anne Gaskett
Ph: 0401 009 328

About Fresh Science
Fresh Science is a national competition that identifies new and interesting research being done by early-career scientists around the country. Their stories are released to the media before, during and after National Science Week, which was held in August.

Sixteen scientists were selected from more than 80 nominations. They were flown to Melbourne for a day of media training after which they presented their work to the media, school students, the general public, scientists, government and industry over the course of three days.

Described by some as a boot camp in science communication, previous Fresh Scientists have attracted national and international interest resulting in hundreds of media stories, including national television news. Details of previous winners, their press releases and media coverage can be seen on the Fresh Science website.

Now in its 10th year, Fresh Science is a national event, which brings together scientists, the media and the public. It is designed to:
– Enhance reporting of Australian science
– Highlight and encourage debate on the role of science in Australian society
– Provide role models for the next generation of Australian scientists.

If you are a scientist who was awarded a PhD less than five years ago, have a significant peer-reviewed scientific achievement and think you can tell an interesting story in everyday language, then check out the selection criteria on the Fresh Science website for the 2008 Fresh Science competition.

Issue 95: Bioinsecticide Breakthrough

Issue 95
July/August – 2007
Story Title: Bioinsecticide Breakthrough
by: Ana Ollo Hualde

A new bioinsecticide – non-contaminant and harmless, and is highly effective against the most common greenhouse pest in Almeria, Spain.

A research team at the Public University of Navarre (Spain), led by Professor in Plant Production, Primitivo Caballero Murillo, has developed a new natural bioinsecticide which is non-contaminant and harmless to humans and animals (including other insects) but is, nevertheless, very effective against the most common greenhouse pest in the Almeria region and other areas.

The patent is to be exploited for the first time in Spain by the main Fruit & Vegetable Crop and Export Producers’ Association in Almeria, COEXPHAL, that brings together more than 90 companies, 60 of them cooperatives in which some 10,000 farmers work, and who produce 80% of the fruit and vegetable harvest in this Andalusian province.

It is an important milestone in the transfer to society of applied technology and research and developed by the Public University of Navarre – a success story of cooperation between University and enterprise.

Clean, environmentally-friendly technologies
The Crop Protection Research Group at the University School of Agricultural Engineers of the Public University of Navarre have been working for a number of years now on developing various biological pesticides by means of clean and environmentally-friendly technologies.

One of the most relevant recent contributions has been the molecular and insecticide characterization of a baculovirus which affects the Small Spotted Willow (UK)/beet armyworm (US), Spodoptera exigua. This lepidoptera is the pest responsible for the greatest damage to the main greenhouse crops in Almeria such as tomato, pepper, watermelon, melon, cucumber and aubergine (eggplant), amongst others. It is a pest that causes great production costs and significant economic loss.

Sweet green pepper greenhouse in Almeria, Spain.

In order to control the pest, over the past 60 years systematic and almost exclusive use has been made of chemical pesticides. This abuse has produced quite a number of problems, such as the development of resistance by the insect pest and the accumulation of chemical waste in the environment which has led to a situation that is non-sustainable. Moreover, the European norms limiting waste have to be complied with when marketing fruit and vegetables.

Research teams throughout the world are currently working on the development of bioinsecticides which enable the provision of protection systems for sustainable crops and which are safe for the health of people and the conservation of the environment. In this respect, one of the most promising alternatives is the series of bioinsecticides based on the baculovirus. These pathogenic virus of insects bring together highly desirable insecticide properties – good efficaciousness, high ecological selectivity and the non-generation of toxic waste. Moreover, its high compatibility with most pest control methods (including with other biological control agents and chemical control) has to be underlined. All this has been helped by the fact that it is the only virus recommended by the FAO (Food & Agriculture Organization) at the UN and approved by WHO (World Health Organization) for use as biological control agents. There are currently more than 30 bioinsecticides based on this type of technology.

COEXPHAL producers’ association market the product
The results from the research team have enabled the application for taking out a patent on the utilities which certain genotypes of this baculovirus have for the control of the Spodoptera pest in greenhouse fruit and vegetable crops in the south of Spain.

More specifically, the patent has been taken out on six new genotypes of the nuclear polyhydron virus of the Spodoptera, which has shown its specific efficacy in the larvae of this insect. In this respect, the team has invented a product that involves clean and safe technology as it does not leave any toxic waste either for crops, humans or animals.

The success of this new bioinsecticide caught the attention of the main Fruit & Vegetable Producers’ Association in Almeria, COEXPHAL, with which the researchers have signed two research contracts over the past two years. The aim of these was to undertake two projects to determine the insecticide potential of this baculovirus for the control of Spodoptera over more than 300 hectares of market garden greenhouses in Almeria. The results showed that the patented baculovirus protects the crops better than any other control method that has been used to date (mainly various chemical pesticides). Moreover, the use of the baculovirus significantly favours the more extensive use of biological control in greenhouse areas and eliminates the problems of the waste generated on using chemical pesticides.

The farmers themselves, the professional experts, the cooperatives and the research team scientists from the Public University of Navarre have all viewed these results very positively. Proof of this is that, in the market gardening zone of Almeria, a demand has been generated for the treatment next year of several thousand hectares with the baculovirus developed at the Public University of Navarre.

The Public University of Navarre has transferred this technology to COEXPHAL by means of signing an exclusive licence contract for the exploitation of the invention, which is currently pending a patent.

This means that the Association will exclusively exploit this invention, enabling it to use, manufacture and sell this bioinsecticide. In exchange, the Public University of Navarre will receive 180,000 euros. Besides, each year over the duration of the 20-year contract, COEXPHAL will earmark 4.2% of the sales for carrying out R&D work or for consultations related to the development of the patent.

For further information contact:
Ana Ollo Hualde, Nafarroako Unibertsitate Publikoa
Ph: (+34) 948 169033