CABI scientists track wheat aphids and their natural enemies for better pest management in Pakistan

October 10, 2019

For the first time, CABI scientists have studied the distribution and population dynamics of wheat aphids and their natural enemies in Pakistan through seasons and periods of time. This research could be useful to develop better pest management methods and safer, healthier crops in wheat production.

The two-year study led by Dr Muhammad Faheem across ten farms in five Punjab districts sought to discover the relationship between different timings, seasons, space and the presence of aphids and the insects that eat them - particularly syrphid flies - in varying deliberately-selected farming scenarios; combinations of rice, arid and cotton.

Wheat aphids are well known pests of the cereal crop - causing up to 20 to 80% loss of wheat yield, particularly in Pakistan where over 26.3 million tons of wheat was produced in 2017-18 and where wheat accounts for 10 percent of value added in agriculture. The presence, spread or influx of aphids had led to considerable economic loss especially comparing the average yield of wheat in Pakistan with neighbouring India and Bangladesh.

In the paper published by PLOS ONE, Dr Faheem and his team revealed seasonal trends of wheat aphids in the studied areas, citing temperature as a key factor in the movement of aphids. Dr Faheem said, "no key differences in aphid activity were observed in the colder and warmer parts of Punjab. In addition, although Syrphid flies are efficient predators of aphids, we also found no correlation between the population of aphids and their natural enemies in both years of the study."

There are several reasons cited for the findings made including behaviour differences among species; ultimately this study provides baseline data for further investigation into two approaches in aphid management - top down, the use of natural enemies and bottom up, the use of fertilisation and irrigation.

Dr Faheem also remarked that "understanding where aphids will tend to infest, and at what time is necessary to effectively manage use of biocontrol agents". The researchers recommend further study as a follow on to this baseline for better understanding of how wheat aphids and their natural enemies are spread in order to improve integrated pest management programs.
-end-
Additional information

Full paper reference

Faheem M, Saeed S, Sajjad A, Wang S, Ali A (2019) 'Spatio-temporal variations in wheat aphid populations and their natural enemies in four agro-ecological zones of Pakistan,' 2019, PLoS ONE 14(9):e0222635.

This paper is available here: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0222635

Collaborators

Department of Entomology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan

Institute of Plant and Environment Protection, Beijing Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, Beijing, PR China

Department of Entomology, University College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Bahawalpur, Pakistan

Department of Entomology, Faculty of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences, Muhammad Nawaz Shareef University of Agriculture, Multan, Pakistan

Funding

This work was supported by the Punjab Agricultural Research Board (PARB) Lahore, Pakistan

CABI

Related Aphids Articles from Brightsurf:

How maths modelling helps efforts to eradicate banana bunchy top virus, QUT study
Modelling the predicted movements of pervasive sap-sucking tiny insects before they infest banana crops has the potential to become a key tactic in the fight against a devastating virus, according to QUT research.

Ants or plants? Evolutionary diversification factors of aphids
The plant-feeding insect aphids are thought to have diversified by shifting their host plants to other closely related plant species.

Disease-causing virus manipulates crop plants to favor its vector
The virus that causes barley yellow dwarf, the most widespread disease of cereal crops, manipulates its host plant and insect vector to promote its own survival, according to an international team of researchers.

Symbiotic viruses help host insects override the plant's defenses
Aphids, small sap-sucking insects, are virus carriers responsible for significant economic losses in many crops worldwide.

Family of crop viruses revealed at high resolution for the first time
For the first-time we can take a molecular-level look at one of the world's deadliest crop killers.

CABI scientists track wheat aphids and their natural enemies for better pest management in Pakistan
For the first time, CABI scientists have studied the distribution and population dynamics of wheat aphids and their natural enemies in Pakistan through seasons and periods of time.

Virus genes help determine if pea aphids get their wings
Researchers from the University of Rochester shed light on the important role that microbial genes, like those from viruses, can play in insect and animal evolution.

BTI researchers discover interactions between plant and insect-infecting viruses
Aphids and the plant viruses they transmit cause billions of dollars in crop damage every year.

Migratory hoverflies 'key' as many insects decline
Migratory hoverflies are 'key' to pollination and controlling crop pests amid the decline of many other insect species, new research shows.

Insect-deterring sorghum compounds may be eco-friendly pesticide
Compounds produced by sorghum plants to defend against insect feeding could be isolated, synthesized and used as a targeted, nontoxic insect deterrent, according to researchers who studied plant-insect interactions that included field, greenhouse and laboratory components.

Read More: Aphids News and Aphids Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.