Important international collaboration with University of Guam researcher

December 13, 2011

Dr. Reddy's studies on the management of sweetpotato weevils (Cylas formicarius) on Guam are significant in that he is searching for the right formula to control this insect without the use of toxic pesticides. However, in addition to C. formicarius there are two other weevil pests (Euscepes postfasciatus and Daealus tuberosus) causing damage in the field and storage (post-harvest) in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Using Integrated Pest Management techniques (IPM) with pheromones as lures and pathogens for control of the weevil, Reddy's team is looking to make sweetpotato production a more viable crop for regional farmers. "Combining semiochemicals and microbial pests is an environmentally safe alternative to the use of pesticides in controlling weevil infestations," says Reddy.

Reddy's research team conducted trials to determine the best trap size, color and height which allowed them to developed traps containing Petri dishes with fungal spores (Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae) for auto-dissemination into the weevil population, which has been highly effective on Guam and the CNMI.

Scientists attending the conference were very interested in utiizing Reddy's IPM techniques in their home countries. Dr. Reddy is also in discussion with Drs. Katsuya Ichinose and Takashi Kuriwada about the possibility of using the sterile male technique to control weevil populations. "Scientists in Okinawa have effectively used the sterile male technique to eradicate fruit flies, so we thought it may be an effective strategy for controling sweetpotato weevils in the region," says Reddy. Drs. Ichinose and Kuriwada are planning to visit Guam in March of 2012 to continue this collabartive effort.
-end-
For more information on Dr. Reddy's research, please visit www.wptrc.org.

University of Guam

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