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Ameliorating the Sustainable Control of Invasive Insects

Final Report Summary - ASCII (Ameliorating the Sustainable Control of Invasive Insects)

The main aim of the project was to gather scientists around two main invasive pests of European agriculture, i.e. the Tomato Borer Tuta absoluta (TB) and the Spotted Wing Drosophila Drosophila suzukii (SWD) in order to elaborate sutainable strategies for their control. For this reason, a consistent part of the project was devoted to widen and exchange knowledge on the biological control of these two species, by adopting a classical approach including the survey of the native area of the pests in search for possible biocontrol agents. This strategy has guided the coordinator in choosing the right partners that included Argentina and Brazil considered the native area of TB and China considered the native area of SWD. Besides, the study of pesticide resistance in TB has been considered critical because of the quick emergence of resistant strains in this invasive pest. The project devolpment followed the main indications of EU and a large part of its activities has been devoted in training young researchers, sharing information (through seminars, workshops and publications) and informing (preparing) countries at risk of invasion about the strategies for monitoring and controlling in a sustainable way these pests.These aims have been achieved through a dense programme of secondments from and to EU partners involving young and experienced researchers. Particularly intense has been the activity in collaboration with Chinese Institutions suggesting the needing of this country in enhancing the quality of its research and in developing strategies for the sustainbale control of agricultural pests. Indeed, there is virtually no legislation for the use of pesticides in China with devastating effects on the environment and on human health. Finally, the consortium included American Institutions with extensive knowledge on invasive pests and elaboration of IPM programmes. These Institutions have been the target of long secondments with positive results in terms of training and deliverables. Following project activities, the majority of results (in any category) were concentrated in the last part of the project (second perios). Overall they can be divided into 3 categories: 1) Production of new knowledge 2) Training 3) Sharing information. 1) Production of new knowledge. A list of published papers (in referred international journals) and paper submitted relative to the activities of the project is attached to this report. It is worthy to point out that, in relation to the activities for the sustainable control of SWD, 8 new parasitoid species from the native area of the pest have been described (Guerrieri et al., 2016) and a large network of institutions has been created performing a coordinated effort for the collection, the rearing, the risk assessment and the importation of biocontrol agents (Daane et al., 2016). This same network has presented a project in the last call on invasive pests and is about to present a new RISE project to continue the fruitful collaboration and activities on invasive pests (in part continuing those relative to the same target pests). Of relevance are also the results obtained in relation to insectice resistance of the TB thant culminated in the publication of several papers (eg Roditakis et al., 2017). Finally, a large number of papers dealt with the elaboration of IPM strategies to be applied against these two invasive pests (see for example the special issue of Journal of Pest Science on SWD). 2) Training. Training activity has been considered crucial for the success of the project and has been mostly concentrated in China where there is a large needing of learning updated techniques relative to the collection, rearing, characterization and use of biocontrol agents as well as to the elaboration of IPM programmes for the main pests of agriculture. hina is a Country with virtually no limitation to the use of chemicalsin agriculture and the activities of the project have also aimed to showing the effectiveness of alternative and sustainable approaches for pest control. Training activities mainly consisted in giving seminars (see the complete list attached) and in assisting the trained personnel in laboratory. This has been realized (when possible) with bilateral secondements that were particularly important for showing the updated tools and equipments of EU laboratories. Training activities have been particularly fruitful for the collection, rearing and characterization of biocontrol agents because they made it possible a constant deliver of fresh material to be studied in the any country involved. 3) Sharing information. Two workshops have been organized, one for each target pest. The one on TB has been focused on pesticide resistance with a long list of participants and communications presented. The one on SWD has been focused on IPM approach for a sustainable control and has been organized in a Center for alternative approaches to insecticides. Both workshops saw a vast participation of stakeholders and farmers. Visits to farms were completed during several secondments trying to build up bridges between researchers and farmers. More than 20 papers have been published during the project and around 10 more have been submitted or in preparation (some secondments ended just close to the end of the project and data are being processed). Some of these papers have already collected numerous citations which is a meter of the general interest on them.