LSU AgCenter entomologist Blake Wilson looks at masses of apple snail eggs growing on rice plants in a crawfish pond. Photo by Craig Gautreaux
In the battle against insects that prey on rice, insecticides play a critical role in helping farmers keep damage to their crop to a minimum.
LSU AgCenter scientists stay on top of new insecticide options and insect threats, conducting studies to identify the best chemical control strategies. They’re also exploring other methods of managing insect populations, such as cultural practices and developing rice varieties that are resistant to pests.
“Alternative tactics are needed to improve sustainability through reduced costs and environmental impacts,” said entomologist Blake Wilson.
He is working on several projects with fellow entomologist Mike Stout and rice breeder Adam Famoso.
The researchers have worked over the past year to analyze rice water weevil and stem borer susceptibility levels in advanced experimental lines as well as current commercial varieties. They’ve categorized the resistance levels and will use that information to make better recommendations to growers this fall.
They also are examining novel sources of resistant germplasm that could offer weevil and borer resistance. And they want to learn more about how silicon and volatile compounds influence rice plants’ resistance to insects. Plants that are deficient in their uptake of silicon from the soil display extreme susceptibility to brown spot disease, and it is possible the deficiency also affects insect susceptibility.
Apple snail eggs. Photo by Craig Gautreaux
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture