Entomology

Potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli) adult

Vegetable production makes up a significant part of the Lower Rio Grande Valley and South Texas economy.  The entomology program at Weslaco has maintained a long history of vegetable pest management research, the results of which are vital to maintaining a viable vegetable industry in the area.  Current research at Weslaco is addressing plant disease-vector interactions, host plant resistance, pest population dynamics, insecticide efficacy, pest population sampling, IPM, pest behavior and movement, and spatial modeling of pest populations, to understand and develop solutions for insect pests of vegetables and other crops.  Some of the important insect pests of vegetables and other crops in the Lower Rio Grande Valley include aphids (cabbage root, cotton/melon, cow pea, green peach, potato, turnip), armyworms (beet, fall) and other lepidopteran pests (cabbage looper, corn earworm, diamondback moth, hornworms, leafminers, etc.), ‘bugs’ (leaf-footed, squash, southern green stink), potato psyllids, silverleaf whiteflies, thrips (onion, western flower), and weevils (carrot, pepper).

Although our focus is on solving pest issues that affect vegetable growers in the LRGV, multidisciplinary collaborative research is necessary and this is being performed within and between Texas AgriLife Research Centers, the Departments of Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Horticultural Sciences – Texas A&M University, USDA-ARS researchers nationwide, and with scientists at other Universities. Bioenergy crops are being developed which will eventually result in increased production acreages, and there will be a need to anticipate and deal with their potential pest problems.

Refer to the Subtropical Pest Management Research page for more information about these and other research programs at the Weslaco Center.

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