Search research reports:
Biology, Impact, and Management of Soybean Insect Pests in Soybean Production Systems
Department of Entomology
The ability to predict SBA outbreaks reduces risk to growers, allowing decisions to be made in advance of the field season. Such decisions include variety, insecticide and equipment purchases, and crop insurance protection, not only for soybean growers, but also for vegetable growers impacted by aphid-transmitted viruses. Risk reduction allows growers to better allocate resources and in the end to save money.
Success in classical biological control will reduce populations of, and yield loss from, SBA. A partial success could save producers tens of millions of dollars in control costs alone, with societal benefits of reduced human exposure, reduced non-target impacts from pesticide use, and slower formation of insecticide resistance. A better understanding of North American natural enemies and their conservation will have similar impacts as a partial success in importation biological control.
2009 Project Description
The development of two predaceous lady beetle species on the milkweed aphid, Aphis nerii, was investigated in the laboratory. Harmonia axyridis and Cycloneda munda were reared from newly hatched larvae to the adult stage on A. nerii from 4 milkweed species. Survivorship to maturity was low for both lady beetle species and longevity did not differ among the milkweed aphid's host plant species.
Lady beetles are important predators of the soybean aphid. Milkweeds, particularly honeyvine and common milkweed, can be abundant within and alongside soybean fields. In fact, honeyvine milkweed is the third most commonly observed of all weed species in Kentucky soybean fields. Because milkweeds are known to possess potent chemical defenses against many types of insects, we were concerned that lady beetles might be adversely affected by feeding on the aphids associated with milkweeds, thereby decreasing the lady beetles' contribution to biological control of the soybean aphid. These studies are ongoing and it is too early to draw definitive conclusions.