3 Entomology Newsletter
Sweet Potato Research
Rick Story and Tara Smith
ConAgra’s Lamb Weston division,which is based in Washington, has builta state-o-the-art processing plant nearDelhi to take advantage o Louisiana’ssweet potato crop. Company ofcialssaid they also chose the location to bein close collaboration with the research-ers and extension specialists at thenearby Sweet Potato Research Stationin Chase, La. Tese include Drs. araSmith and Arthur Villordan (research-ers at the Sweet Potato Research Sta-tion), Donnie Miller (weed scientist atNortheast Research Station), and DavidPicha (postharvest physiologist), DonLaBonte (horticulturalist and plantbreeder), Chris Clark (plant patholo-gist) and Rick Story (entomologist)all located on the LSU main campus.Te extension component includesDrs. Donald Ferrin, Myrl Sistrunk andVincent Deshotel.Louisiana has about 14,000 acreso sweet potatoes. North Carolina,Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, exasand Caliornia also produce sweetpotatoes. Te ConAgra Lamb Westonacility expects to source more than hal o their product needs rom Louisianaproducers but will also work closelywith producers in other states. LambWeston markets rozen sweet potatoproducts (wedges, pus and mashed)to restaurants through its Sweet Tingsbrand and to grocery stores through itsAlexia brand. It operates rozen-oodprocessing plants in the Pacic North-west, Minnesota and Canada.Sweet potatoes are aected bymany insect pests, both oliar eedingand root eeding. Root eeding insectssuch as the sweet potato weevil, root-worms, white grubs, sugarcane beetleand wireworms impact the marketedportion o the crop directly. oleranceor minor blemishes (eeding scars) onroots is quite strict (U. S. No. 1 gradeurther with insecticide use. With thisin mind, the Davis Lab has, or thelast two years, screened commerciallyavailable, high yielding soybean varietiesand has identied several which diersignicantly in their susceptibility tostink bugs. Teir research indicates thatthe resistance ound in these varieties, incombination with biological control orreduced insecticide use, should providesubstantial control, reducing reliance onpesticides and saving producers money.Simulation models indicate that or amoderately resistant soybean variety,insecticide applications or stink bugcontrol could be cut by two-thirds com-pared to that required or a susceptiblevariety.Biological control is an importantcomponent o IPM, reducing the costo chemical control while decreas-ing pest populations through naturalmeans. Previous to Davis’ work, therewas no inormation on which biologi-cal control agents currently inect orimpact redbanded stink bug in the U. S.Miyanda Moonga (doctoral candidate),a Fulbright Scholar rom Zambia whostarted in the all o 2010, is workingunder Davis to identiy egg parasitoido redbanded stink bug. She has oundthat, overall, 49 percent o redbandedstink bug egg masses were parasitized.Eighty percent o all parasitoids are asingle species. Te soybean looper is animportant pest o soybean in southeast-ern U. S. and is highly resistant to mostinsecticides, with ew products exist-ing or control. Early planted soybeanscan escape damaging levels, however,double-cropping wheat and soybean isleading to increased insecticide applica-tions or this pest. In 2008, we receivedthe rst reports o unsatisactory con-trol or soybean looper with methoxy-enozide. Davis’ lab began a monitoringprogram in 2009. Sebe Brown (master’scandidate) started in the spring o 2010and is conducting methoxyenozideresistance research using a diet incorpo-rated technique. Brown has ound thatmethoxyenozide resistance exists inLouisiana soybean looper populations,resulting in longer survivorship, greaterdeoliation and reduced residual efcacy.Other members o the Davis Labinclude Arthur Richter (research as-sociate), who provides valuable researchsupport to all ongoing projects, andthree undergraduate student work-ers: Renee Dale, Daniel Nelson andMatthew Nelson. In the all o 2011,Kukuh Hernowo (doctoral candidate),a Fulbright Scholar rom Indonesia, has joined the Davis Lab to work on aspectso below ground mediated host plant re-sistance to above ground soybean pestsand its impact on biological control.
Accomplishments romESA-EPA Liaison Position
Te Entomological Society o America (ESA) has established a liaisonposition with the U.S.-EnvironmentalProtection Agency Ofce o PesticidePrograms (OPP) or the purpose o encouraging more practical perspectivesin the labeling and re-labeling processo pesticides and acilitating networkingcontacts to scientists rom the vari-ous ESA sections. Also, this positionprovides useul access to practitionersand stakeholders, assists with EPA di-rected meetings where appropriate, andacilitates use o technical inormationto clariy scientic issues and enhancepublic understanding o the pesticideregulation process by EPA. Te un-damental goal o the liaison positionwith OPP has been to provide objective,unbiased inormation to assist EPA inmaking inormed decisions regardingpesticide registration and regulation.Dr. Gene Reagan was selected toll this position in 2010. Tis work hasbeen very rewarding and exciting andhas provided him an opportunity toutilize his background and experiencesin eld crops, IPM research and class-room instruction. Reagan appreciates agroup o very hard working and dedi-cated scientists at EPA who take theirresponsibilities seriously, with a ocuson meeting timelines. Tese individualsare oten overworked, but have shown acommitment to those who use pesti-