Computer fashions allow farmers to diversify pest control strategies

The Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), a lepidopteran pest that feeds on leaves and stems of as many as 100 plant species, is able to hop among distinct plants and cause serious damage due to its resistance to each insecticides and transgenic flowers which might be genetically engineered to express proteins with insecticidal action obtained from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner (Bt).

To higher understand how this and different bugs disperse in agricultural areas, in order that farmers can manage them greater efficaciously, researchers at the University of São Paulo’s Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ-USP), in collaboration with colleagues at São Paulo State University (UNESP) in Botucatu, Brazil, have advanced mathematical fashions to describe the movements of agricultural pests.

Some of the most recent effects of the study, that is supported by using FAPESP, were published in Scientific Reports.

“The idea is to use laptop models to layout techniques able to reducing the harm executed to plants by using pest populations and containing their expansion on plantations,” stated Wesley Augusto Conde Godoy, a professor at ESALQ-USP and fundamental investigator for the assignment.

First, the researchers modeled the actions of the cucurbit beetle, Diabrotica speciosa, which attacks numerous plants, which includes soybeans, corn, and cotton.

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Using pc modeling, they discovered that spatial configurations in diverse intercropping structures (developing two or greater vegetation in proximity) should desire or inhibit pest dispersal. “We observed that the presence of corn strips disbursed throughout farmed fields could lessen spatial dispersal of the insects,” Godoy said.

Motivated by the effects obtained with D. Speciosa, they investigated viable packages of computer modeling to explain the spatial dynamics of other agricultural pests, including S. frugiperda, which has evolved resistance to Bt corn, cotton, and soybeans.

Technicians have suggested farmers to put off the improvement of resistance to Bt crops in S. frugiperda and other pests with the aid of creating refugees, strips within Bt crop fields of the equal crop without a Bt trait.

Refuges are supposed to ensure the upkeep of individuals at risk of Bt generation within the pest populace. They mate with resistant individuals, and this prevents the populace as a whole from growing resistance to Bt pollution, Godoy explained. “It’s been proven that the larger the safe haven place is, the decrease the frequency of Bt-resistant people,” he stated.

Using a mobile automata-based pc model that predicts the moves of insects, the researchers measured the effectiveness of 3 special refuge configurations: blended seeds, random blocks, and strips.

“We succeeded in identifying the nice safe haven configuration and size to postpone the development of Bt crop resistance in S. Frugiperda,” Godoy said.

Comparing movement styles

The researchers mixed the pc version with records on the insect’s movements received inside the laboratory to analyze and compare its behavior on leaves of Bt and non-Bt cotton. The consequences of the have a look at confirmed that the insect moved around extra on Bt cotton leaves than non-Bt cotton leaves.

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“We do not but know what mechanisms may additionally trigger this conduct,” Godoy stated. “However, the findings thus far have essential practical implications due to the fact they may correlate with quicker improvement of Bt resistance.”

Less movement on non-Bt leaves can be associated with variation value. This is regularly the case for resistant populations of this insect within the absence of selection stress, he defined.

“We plan to keep investigating this trouble, a continuation of the studies ought to produce vast contributions to pest management applications with the aid of improving crop configuration to delay the development of resistance to GM plants among those and other insects,” Godoy stated.

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