Laboratory of Applied Entomology
The mission is to increase our knowledge on the ecology, ecophysiology and behavior of arthropod pests and their natural enemies. This knowledge will serve as a basis for the development of novel and alternative methods of plant protection such as biological control. Our research aims to three areas. The first area covers insect pests in forestry, especially bark beetles and the large pine weevil, the most destructive pest of coniferous seedlings. The second area deals with the side effects of transgenic plants and insect pests in agriculture, especially integrated pest management of the Colorado potato beetle. The third area covers multiple interactions using an acarine and insect model systems.
Current research projects
Innovation of integrated potato protection against the Colorado potato beetle based on new knowledge of genetic and biological characteristics
Colorado potato beetle (CPB) is our main pest in the above-ground mass of potatoes with the potential for crop losses up to 50%. However, protection against it is currently very difficult due to insecticide resistance. In addition to the use of chemical protection and controversial genetic modifications, the development and use of biological protective methods are becoming increasingly promising. Use of entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) and parasitic nematodes (EPN) for protection does not cause a pest resistance. A great advantage is the support in use of mycoinsecticides by sustainable and organic farming programs. Apart from conservation studies, molecular and genetics methods are used wordwide to address the invasive and genetic potential of CPB. Project NAZV ZEMĚ 3 č. QK1910270; PI: Oxana Skoková Habuštová.
Fungicidal and insecticidal additive for plant growing substrate
The subject of this project is to verify the concept of a biological additive to a plant growing substrate based on a combination of a mycoparasitic fungus, an entomopathogenic fungus and an entomopathogenic nematode (“3 in 1 preparation”). The aim of this sub-project will be to select a suitable species and strain of mycoparasitic fungus that will effectively suppress plant pathogens and will be compatible with these entomopathogenic organisms. The aim of the project will be to design and verify the technology of additive production, storage conditions and verify its effects in laboratory and greenhouse experiments on model types of plant diseases and pests. It will include the development of in-vitro nematode cultivation technology, which should significantly reduce the cost of production compared to existing technology using insect hosts. The result should be a preparation which, in addition to pests, will also suppress, for example, the causative agent of a disease called the fall of seedlings (Pythium spp., Fusarium spp., Rhizoctonia spp.). Technology Agency of the Czech Republic project No. TG02010034; PI: R. Zemek.
Protective measures against the double spined bark beetle, Ips duplicatus
The aim of the project is to fill in gaps in the knowledge of biology and propose effective methods of management of a new pest of spruce monocultures in the Czech Republic, the double spined bark beetle. Field experiments will verify the effectiveness of new protective measures such as standing poisoned trap trees prepared by surface spraying and/or microinjection of insecticides as well as their impact on non-target arthropod species. Due to the unknown abundance of the double spined bark beetle, it is necessary to clarify the actual proportion of timber infested by this pest. Without such knowledge no precise calculation of the number of protective measures can be made. Project TAČR ZÉTA No. TJ02000025; PI: Markéta Davídková.
Novel methods of treatment of harvested wood infested with bark beetles
Current methods of treatment of harvested wood infested with bark beetles are largely based on insecticidal spraying. The aim of the project is to verify the effectiveness of novel biological and environmentally friendly methods based on specific inhibition of digestive enzymes of bark beetles, application of entomopathogenic nematodes and some other bioinsecticides (e.g. azadirachtin). Project supported by Grant Agency of the Forests of the Czech Republic, state enterprises, 11/2017; PI: Petr Doležal.
Selected aspects of bionomy of the large pine weevil and their importance in forest protection
The large pine weevil is a significant pest of coniferous plantations in the Czech Republic. Adults live up to five years, while life expectancy, fertility and rate of development depend on the species of host tree in which adults developed. The aim of the project is to provide the above-mentioned characteristics for the most important domestic species of conifers, as well as gain information on the mechanisms of overwintering and cold resistance of larvae and adults. Special attention will be given to the effectiveness of various mechanical methods of seedling protection available on the market. Based on the results, protective measures against this pest and the species composition of seedlings planted on clearcuts will be adjusted. Project supported by Grant Agency of the Forests of the Czech Republic, state enterprises, 08/2017; PI: Petr Doležal.
Bionomy of cambioxylophagous insects on Scots pines in the Czech Republic – unknown aspects and practical importance
High temperatures and lack of precipitation in recent years resulted in local outbreaks of insect pests of pines at numerous localities in the Czech Republic. The aim of the project is to obtain information on the composition of the cambioxylophagous fauna of Scots pine at selected localities in central Bohemia, Vysočina region and south Moravia. For the most important species, basic knowledge about their bionomy will be obtained. Field tests of the efficiency of protective measures based on commercially available pheromone dispensers as well as trap trees will be performed. Based on the results, suitable management options shall be proposed. Project supported by Grant Agency of the Forests of the Czech Republic, state enterprises, 00002-2019-99-48; PI: Petr Doležal.