The Hamby lab is building a research and extension program in entomology of agronomic crops in an effort to help meet stakeholder needs that the Dively lab currently meets. We currently have funding from the Maryland Grain Producers and Utilization Board and the Maryland Soybean Board to pursue research on neonicotinoid seed treatments in collaboration with the Dively lab. We are also working on Brown Marmorated Stink Bug interactions with Fusarium in corn.
Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments
Seed treatments have been the most convenient and economical way to protect a wide variety of crops from pests. Neonicotinoid insecticides have lower mammalian toxicity and seed treatments provide less exposure to the applicator, making them much safer for workers than previously used at planting insecticides. Commonly used neonicotinoid seed treatments include Cruiser ® (thiamethoxam, Syngenta), Gaucho (imidacloprid, Bayer), and Poncho (clothianidin, Bayer) and some of these formulations are registered for use on wheat, corn, and soybeans, though the rate varies by crop and pest targeted. These insecticides are important for targeting some early season and below ground pests, and repeated use of neonicotinoid treated seed from year to year can result in pests developing resistance. Recently, potential negative impacts on beneficial organisms including non-target impacts on soil organisms include earthworms and bacteria, beneficial microbes, and beneficial invertebrates have become a concern.
Therefore we are performing studies to assess the ecological effects of repeated thiamethoxam and imidacloprid seed treatments during a three year grain rotation on non-target organisms including the soil microbial community. Specifically, our field experiments will determine if seed treatments affect the diversity and abundance of pests, the non-target invertebrate community above and below ground, as well as whether these seed treatments affect the abundance of beneficial soil microorganisms. We measure grain yield for these treatments to determine the role these beneficial communities and/or seed treatments may have on yield (potential impacts include reducing pest damage and increasing soil nitrogen).
For UME articles by the Hamby lab on Agronomy:
Agronomy News 2016 Issue #7: Evaluating Impacts of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments on Pests, Beneficial Arthropods, and Yields in Gran Crop Rotations (pdf)
Evaluating Benefits and Non-Target Impacts of Repeated Use of Neonicotinoid Treated Seed in
Grain Crop Rotations (pdf)
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Interactions with Fusarium
The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB-Halyomorpha halys), is a recently introduced invasive pest that causes damage on many crops including soybeans, wheat, and field corn. Wounds caused by BMSB may provide an entry route for common corn pathogens like Fusarium fungi. Fusarium fungi are a concern in field corn because they produce harmful chemicals called mycotoxins that are regulated by the FDA because of their negative impacts on human and animal health. In collaboration with Hillary Mehl at Virgina Tech and Nathan Kleczewski at the Univeristy of Delaware, the Dively lab and the Hamby lab are investigating the relationship between BMSB and mycotoxin contamination of corn in the Mid-Atlantic. This work is funded by the the Delmarva Land Grand Institution Collaborative Research Seed Funding Program.