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XXIII International Congress of Entomology

Dr Manoj Nayak represented the CRCNPB at the XXIII International Congress of Entomology, held in Durban, South Africa. He delivered a presentation as a keynote speaker in Symposium 5.1: Ecology and Management of stored-product insects in large-scale facilities. Manoj’s presentation was titled 'The threat of insect resistance to phosphine in bulk grain storages in Australia’. The presentation was well received and several questions were asked regarding the strongly phosphine resistant flat grain beetle problem that he and his colleagues are currently tackling in Australia. Leading stored product entomologists including Rick Hodges from Natural Resources Institute, United Kingdom; Tom Phillips, Kansas State University; Jim Throne, Jim Campbell and Paul Flinn from United States Department of Agriculture –Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) were particularly interested in Australia’s approach to managing resistant populations in bulk storages by developing effective fumigation protocols. This discussion re-emphasised the importance of phosphine management of strongly resistant insects.

Among the range of presentations delivered in the stored products section over the four-day period, the presentations from USDA-ARS were the most relevant to Manoj’s research activities within the CRCNPB framework. The work led by Paul Flinn on the use of a Stored Grain Advisor Pro program (SGA Pro) in area-wide Insect Pest Management within grain elevator networks is quite innovative and offers a range of potential benefits. Once data from vacuum-probe samples is entered into an SGA Pro, it analyses the insect data and recommends the best treatment strategy for each bin. SGA Pro also profiles the wheat protein for each bin so that elevators can optimise blending. This software is available free from the ARS website. The software may be beneficial for the Australian grain industry to explore avenues for its use in bulk handling systems.

Jim Throne, who has been in frequent communication with Manoj regarding the emergence of psocid problem in the United States and its management options, delivered a paper on seasonal distribution and comparison of methods for sampling psocids in stored wheat. Jim’s research concluded that use of cardboard refuges in hatch (which we use for sampling psocids in Australia) simplifies sampling for psocids in stored grain because the refuges are inexpensive and easily accessed without entering the bin. However, the advantage of using the Electronic Insector is that they sample beetles as well as psocids, while the refuges sample only psocids.

Tom Phillips presented his research on use of semiochemicals for managing storage moths involving monitoring, mating disruption and precision-targeted pest control. These methods could be employed in Australian storages experiencing moth problems. Using the rust red flour beetle as a model, Jim Campbell’s group has done some excellent laboratory research on insect ecology. They developed and validated an agent-based model for the red flour beetle,‘SimBeetle’. SimBeetle will help create an understanding of how landscape structure influences individual beetle behavior; which, ultimately affects population stability, age structure and spatial distribution of the pest. Each beetle was simulated through its lifecycle (egg, larva, pupa and adult) and activities such as feeding, mating, oviposition and cannibalism. Based on this, insect movement, physical activities, hunger level and flour amount were modeled.

Interest in research on diatomaceous earth, biological control and plant extracts as alternatives to chemical control is still growing, as reflected in a series of presentations. However, none of these products appeared to have a significant future as major alternatives and most of them seem to have relevance only to small-scale use.

After attending almost all sessions in the stored products section, Manoj’s overall feeling was that while the concerns of the developed countries are largely with economic/commercial problems, people in developing countries are often battling with problems at a more personal level, i.e., saving their small harvests.

Among the scientific tools displayed at the conference, the ‘Pocket Observer’ looked quite relevant to the CRC’s resistance monitoring project. Manoj’s collaborator Rob Emery, who is developing a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) for insect sampling, will be excited to learn about this device. In addition to supporting the standard sampling methods, this device features a wide range of analysis functions including detailed statistics, reliability analysis and lag sequential analysis. 

Dr Manoj Nayak presenting at the XXIII International Congress of Entomology  

Dr Manoj Nayak, Dr Tom Phillips, Kansas State University and Dr Jim Throne, USDA-ARS


When: July 2008
Location: Durban, South Africa

Dr Manoj Nayak visited Durban in South Africa to represent the CRCNPB as a keynote speaker at the XXIII International Congress of Entomology.