Year of Publication

2019

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Entomology

First Advisor

Dr. Raul T. Villanueva

Abstract

Dectes texanus LeConte (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) is a longhorn beetle species endemic to eastern United States. Originally described as a pest of weeds from the family Asteraceae, D. texanus has expanded its host range and is found infesting the stems of soybeans, Glycine max (L.) through the southwestern and middle United States. Female D. texanus chews a hole in the epidermis of a petiole and oviposits on it. Then, the D. texanus larva depletes all the pith of the stem making a tunnel down to the base of the plant and girdle the stem about 5 cm above the soil line. When a force is applied to the girdling point, generally weather related (i.e. strong winds), the plant lodges. While D. texanus phenology has been described for some states, this topic has yet to be explored in Kentucky. The objectives of this study were: 1) to describe the life cycle and behavior of D. texanus in soybeans in Western Kentucky, 2) to study the effect of the stem diameter on the incidence of D. texanus infestations, 3) to evaluate the susceptibility of full-season and double-crop soybeans to D.texanus infestations, 4) investigate the efficacy of seed treatment in reducing D. texanus infestations, 5) to determine effects of D. texanus larval feeding in the physiological yield of soybeans. The results of these studies showed that: 1) there was no distinct peak of D. texanus emergence detected in the 2018 and 2019 growing seasons and pupation period varied with year and location; the best sampling period for D. texanus population should occur between 1000 and 1600 hours during the peak season with either a 5-gallon white plastic bucket or sweep net; 2) the probability of finding D. texanus infesting soybeans was higher when the stem diameter is larger than 9 mm, and smaller than 11 mm; 3) double-crop soybeans had reduced infestations of D. texanus because these soybean plants are not a suitable host when D. texanus was active ovipositing and the pith was not fully developed; 4) seeds treated with imidacloprid did not influence D. texanus infestation on soybeans, larvae presence in main and lateral stems, and parasitism occurrences; and 5) D. texanus did not affect seeds and pods attributes (pod width, length, height and weight), and yield. The latter may occur because feeding of D. texanus larva does not interfere on photosynthesis or nutrient transportation during seed fill.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2019.448

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