Dr. Flinn is a Research Biologist with the USDA-ARS at the Center for Grain and Animal Health Research in Manhattan, Kansas, and an adjunct professor in the Dept. of Entomology at Kansas State University. He received his Ph.D. in Entomology from Pennsylvania State University in 1984. His interests center on the development and analysis of IPM systems through computer simulation of crop-pest agroecosystems. His current research involves developing decision support tools for stored grain management, and computer models that predict the population dynamics of stored-grain insect pests and their natural enemies. He is responsible for the development of Stored Grain Advisor (SGA), an expert system for stored grain management.
Current Research Projects
Flour Conditioning Reduces Red Flour Beetle Cannibalism
The red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) is a common insect pest infesting flour mills and stored grain. Cannibalism of eggs by adult red flour beetles is well known. Eggs can provide a rich source of nutrients and moisture to beetles. After several days of feeding, the flour becomes “conditioned” due to accumulation of fecal material, quinones, molting skins, and depletion of nutrients. We conducted a laboratory study to determine the effects of flour conditioning on cannibalism of eggs by red flour beetle adults and larvae.
The arena consisted of a block of particle board with a 5 x 5 cm depression that was 2 mm deep filled with flour. Adults were 1-2 weeks old. Larvae were 5th to 6th instar. Different levels of conditioned flour were prepared by leaving 500 adults on 100 grams of flour for different amounts of time. One beetle day of conditioned flour was assumed to be one beetle per day feeding on 1 gram of flour.
Larvae had the highest rates of egg cannibalism followed by female adults. Cannibalism of eggs by females was negatively correlated with flour conditioning. Cannibalism by male adults was low and there was no effect of flour conditioning. Egg cannibalism by larvae increased slightly with flour conditioning.
Cannibalism of eggs by adult females may decrease as flour conditioning increases because females may spend less time tunneling in highly conditioned flour and more time trying to disperse to other areas that are better for oviposition. Tunneling increases the chance of finding eggs or pupae that are mixed into the flour. These results will enable scientists to develop an improved computer model for the red flour beetle, which can be used to predict insect outbreaks and develop better insect pest management recommendations (Collaborator: Jim Campbell.)
Movement of Rhyzopertha dominica in response to temperature gradients in stored grain
The lesser grain borer is one of the most common and damaging insect pests of stored wheat in the USA. In the autumn, the periphery of the grain bulk cools faster than the center and this allows grain insects to continue to reproduce in the center. Very little is known about the movement of the lesser grain borer in temperature gradients in stored grain. We studied the movement and temperature preference of the lesser grain borer in a 22-inch diameter cylinder with 3 inch high sides containing 44 lbs of wheat. Two temperature gradients were tested over a 24-hour period. Beetles preferred the moderate temperature region of the cylinder in the 40 to 20°C gradient, but avoided the highest temperature region. In the 24 to 20°C gradient, beetles did not move very much during the 24-hour period. When a 96-hour duration was used for the experiment, there were significantly more beetles in the warmest center region of the gradient compared to the cooler middle or outer regions. Compared to other stored grain beetles, such as the rusty grain beetle, the lesser grain borer appears to move more slowly through the grain into preferred temperature regions. It is possible that adult R. dominica may suffer higher winter mortality in grain bins compared to the rusty grain beetle because the lesser grain borer is not able to move quickly enough into the warmer regions of the grain mass as the periphery of the grain cools during the fall and winter months. This could affect the beetle's ability to overwinter in stored grain bins. (P. W. Flinn, firstname.lastname@example.org, Collaborator: D. W. Hagstrum)
- An Agent-Based Model for Simulating Red Flour Beetle Movement and Population Dynamics
- Red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) is a common insect pest infesting flour mills. Over the last 80 years, dozens of mathematical models have been developed to simulate its population dynamics. However, while these models predict general population trends, they are not able to simulate individual behavior and movement, and most don’t include a spatial dimension. We built an agent-based model to explicitly represent individual beetles, fragmented landscapes, and the interactions between beetles as well as the interactions between beetles and their environment. Our model can be easily adjusted to different flour landscapes and different scales. The population dynamics, age structure, spatial distribution and movement behaviors are investigated in this agent-based model.
- Areawide IPM for commercial wheat storage
- Insect pest management in grain elevators can be done more effectively and at a lower cost when insects are managed throughout a network of elevators. Areawide IPM is particularly important for stored wheat because insects are moved through the marketing system along with the grain. If insects are not controlled at one location, they can be spread to many other locations, which increases the cost of pest management. A sampling-based program was developed for managing insect pests in upright-concrete grain elevators.
Web Page Research Paper Poster
- Augmentative release of parasitoid wasps in stored wheat reduces insect fragments in flour
- Field studies were conducted to assess the effectiveness of the parasitoid wasp, Theocolax elegans, for reducing insect fragments in flour by suppressing populations of Rhyzopertha dominica in six bins, each containing 27 tonnes of wheat.
Research Paper Poster
- Biological Control Of the Indianmeal Moth on Finished Stored Products Using Egg and Larval Parasitoids
- The Indianmeal moth (Plodia interpunctella IMM) is a serious pest of raw and finished stored products and attacks both packaged and bulk commodities as well as spillage. Biological control and insect resistant packaging are two alternative pest management strategies for IMM. In our study, a combination of packaging, T. deion, and H. hebetor provided the best overall IMM suppression leaving the fewest live IMM as a source for future infestation.
Research Paper Poster
- Detection of Stored-Grain Insect Infestation in Wheat Transported in Railroad Hopper-Cars
- The specific objectives of this study were to determine (1) if IDK counts are indicative of insect infestation levels; (2) the age structure of the insect population in the infested railcars; and (3) the spatial distribution of insects and IDK in the grain mass.
Research Paper Poster
- Effects of grain temperature on efficacy of Theocolax elegans to suppress Rhyzopertha dominica in wheat
- Suppression of Rhyzopertha dominica growth by the wasp T. elegans was 10 times greater at 25°C than at 32°C (99% and 55% relative to the control). Cooling the grain shortly after harvest with ambient air should greatly increase the effectiveness of these naturally occuring beneficial insects.
Research Paper Poster
- Effects Of Shelf Architecture And Parasitoid Release Height On Biological Control Of Plodia Interpunctella (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) Eggs By Trichogramma deion (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae)
- The Indianmeal moth is a serious pest of finished stored products of worldwide distribution. Moths can be especially problematic in warehouses and retail stores, where they attack finished commodities and result in consumer complaints. Biological control using egg parasitoids in the genus Trichogramma is one potential alternative pest management strategy. Stored product managers need to take shelving type into consideration if T. deion is to be used as an inundative biological control for Indianmeal moth.
Research Paper Poster
- Host and parasitoid rearing
- This web page offers advice on equipment and techniques for handling and culturing parasitoid wasps, and their host species.
- Insect Populations in Grain Residues from Kansas Elevators
- Most U.S. wheat is stored in large commercial elevators. Elevator silos can quickly become infested with stored-grain insects. Sources of infestation may include old grain, trucks and railcars, and spilled grain in outside areas. Nine elevators in Kansas were visited repeatedly for 2 years, frequency depended on amount of grain stored. Grain residues are likely sources for dispersal and infestation.
Research Paper Poster
- Movement of rusty grain beetle in response to temperature gradients in stored wheat
- Beetle population growth rate is primarily affected by grain temperature. In the fall, the periphery of the grain mass cools more rapidly than the center. Beetles often reach high densities in the center of the grain mass, because warmer temperatures there allow the population to increase during the winter. However, temperature gradients in a grain bin are often small. To predict rusty grain beetle population growth in bins, we need to know if they move towards and remain in warmer regions of a grain mass.
Web Page Research Paper
- Protection of Stored Corn From Insect Pests, Using a Two-Component Biological Control Method Consisting of a Hymenopteran Parasitoid, and Transgenic Avidin Corn Powder
- The combination treatment of avidin corn powder plus the release of parasitoid wasps was superior to either treatment alone when tested against mixed populations of the internal feeder, S. zeamais, and the external feeders, T. castaneum and C. ferrugineus. Normally, multiple beetle species that are both external and internal feeders are found in stored grain. While avidin corn powder is fairly effective as an insecticide against the external feeders, it is not very effective against the internal feeders. By using the combination treatment, stored grain managers would be assured of protection from both internal and external feeders.
Research Paper Poster
- Stored Grain Advisor expert systems
- Stored Grain Advisor and Stored Grain Advisor Pro are decision support systems for farm-stored wheat and commercial elevator storage, respectively. These programs provide advice for managing insect pests in stored grain. Both programs predict the likelihood of insect infestation, and recommend appropriate preventative and remedial action.
Software Research Paper
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) News
- Magazine Articles
- Monitoring System Counts Insects, Identifies Species
- Areawide Pest Management: An Effective Strategy for Many Pests
- Elevating Grain Storage Practices
- Computer Figures Stored-Grain Insect Risk
- News, Miscellaneous
- Wasps Keeping Watch: Some tiny stingers could help guard our groceries
- Special "Sting" Operation Could Guard Grocery Goods from Buggy Pests
- Harvesting and Storing Wheat--Good News, and Bad
- Wee Wasps Vanquish Big Bad Beetles
- Computer Model Aids Grain Managers
||Brabec, D., T. Pearson, and P.W. Flinn. 2012. Detection of lesser grain borer larvae in internally infested kernels of brown rice and wheat using an electrically conductive roller mill. CFW Plexus Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/CPLEX-2012-0316-01R. |
||Brijwani, M., B. Subramanyam, and P.W. Flinn. 2012. Impact of varying levels of sanitation on mortality of Tribolium castaneum eggs and adults during heat treatment of a pilot flour mill. J. Econ. Entomol. 105: 703-708. |
||Brijwani, M., B. Subramanyam, P.W. Flinn, M.R. Langemeier, M. Hartzer, and R. Hulasare. 2012. Susceptibility of Tribolium castaneum life stages exposed to elevated temperatures during heat treatments of a pilot flour mill: Influence of sanitation, temperatures attained among mills, floors, and costs. J. Econ. Entomol. 105: 709-717. |
||Flinn, P.W., and J.F. Campbell. 2012. Effects of flour conditioning on cannibalism of T. castaneum eggs and pupae. Environ. Entomol. 41: 1501-1504. |
||Flinn, P.W., and M. Scholler. 2012. Biological control: Insect pathogens, parasitoid and predators, p. 203-212. In Hagstrum, D.W., T.W. Phillips, and G. Cuperus (eds.). Stored Product Protection. Kansas State University S156, Manhattan, KS. |
||Flinn, P.W., and D.W. Hagstrum. 2011. Movement of Rhyzopertha dominica in response to temperature gradients in stored wheat. J. Stored Prod. Res. 47: 407-410. |
||Khamis, M., B. Subramanyam, H. Dogan, P.W. Flinn and J.A. Gwirtz. 2011. Effects of flameless catalytic infrared radiation on Sitophilus oryzae (L.) life stages. J. Stored Prod. Res. 47: 173-178. |
||Khamis, M., B. Subramanyam, P.W. Flinn, H. Dogan and J.A. Gwirtz. 2011. Susceptibility of Tribolium castaneum (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) life stages to flameless catalytic infrared radiation. J. Econ. Entomol. 104: 325-330. |
||Yu, C., B. Subramanyam, P.W. Flinn, and J.A. Gwirtz. 2011. Susceptibility of Lasioderma serricorne (Coleoptera: Anobiidae) life stages to elevated temperatures used during structural heat treatments. J. Econ. Entomol. 104: 317-324. |
||Adam, B.D., M. Siaplay, P.W. Flinn, B.W. Brorsen, and T.W. Phillips. 2010. Factors influencing economic profitability of sampling-based integrated pest management of wheat in country elevators. J. Stored Prod. Res. 46: 186-196. |
||Atui, M.B., M.J. Castejon, R. Yamashiro, T. DeLucca, and P.W. Flinn. 2010. Assessment of hygienic conditions on ground pepper (Piper nigrum L.) on the market in Sao Paulo city, by means of two methodologies for detecting the light filth. In M.O. Carvalho et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 10th International Working Conference on Stored Product Protection, 27 June to 2 July 2010, Estoril, Portugal. Julius Kühn-Institut, Berlin, Germany. pp. 497-502. (Link to article *)|
||Brabec, D.L., T.C. Pearson, P.W. Flinn, and D. Katzke. 2010. Detection of internal insects in wheat using a conductive roller mill and estimation of insect fragments in the resulting flour. J. Stored Prod. Res. 46: 180-185. |
||Brijwani, M., B. Subramanyam, P.W. Flinn, and M.R. Langemeier. 2010. Structural heat treatments against Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae): effect of flour depth, life stage and floor. In M.O. Carvalho et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 10th International Working Conference on Stored Product Protection, 27 June to 2 July 2010, Estoril, Portugal. Julius Kühn-Institut, Berlin, Germany. pp. 625-630. (Link to article *)|
||Flinn, P.W., D.W. Hagstrum, C. Reed, and T.W. Phillips. 2010. Insect population dynamics in commercial grain elevators. J. Stored Prod. Res. 46: 43-47. |
||Flinn, P.W., J.F. Campbell, J.E. Throne, and B. Subramanyam. 2010. Simulation model of the red flour beetle in flour mills. In M.O. Carvalho et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 10th International Working Conference on Stored Product Protection, 27 June to 2 July 2010, Estoril, Portugal. Julius Kühn-Institut, Berlin, Germany. pp. 953-955. (Link to article *)|
||Grieshop, M.J., P.W. Flinn, and J.R. Nechols. 2010. Effects of intra- and interpatch host density on egg parasitism by three species of Trichogramma. J. Insect Sci. 10(99), 14 pp.|
||Hagstrum, D.W., P.W. Flinn, C.R. Reed, and T.W. Phillips. 2010. Ecology and IPM of insects at grain elevators and flat storages. Biopestic. Int. 6: 1-20. |
||Hartzer, M., B. Subramanyam, W. Chayaprasert, D.E. Maier, S. Savoldelli, J.F. Campbell, and P.W. Flinn. 2010. Methyl bromide and sulfuryl fluoride effectiveness against red flour beetle life stages. In M.O. Carvalho et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 10th International Working Conference on Stored Product Protection, 27 June to 2 July 2010, Estoril, Portugal. Julius Kühn-Institut, Berlin, Germany. pp. 365-370. (Link to article *)|
||Khamis, M., B. Subramanyam, H. Dogan, P.W. Flinn, and J.A. Gwirtz. 2010. Effectiveness of flameless catalytic infrared radiation against life stages of three stored-product insect species in stored wheat. In M.O. Carvalho et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 10th International Working Conference on Stored Product Protection, 27 June to 2 July 2010, Estoril, Portugal. Julius Kühn-Institut, Berlin, Germany. pp. 695-700. (Link to article *)|
||Khamis, M., B. Subramanyam, P.W. Flinn, H. Dogan, A. Jager, and J.A. Gwirtz. 2010. Susceptibility of various life stages of Rhyzopertha dominica (Coleoptera: Bostrichidae) to flameless catalytic infrared radiation. J. Econ. Entomol. 103: 1508-1516. |
||Flinn, P.W., G.P. Opit, and J.E. Throne. 2009. Predicting stored grain insect population densities using an electronic probe trap. J. Econ. Entomol. 102: 1696-1704. |
||Nansen, C., P. Flinn, D. Hagstrum, M.D. Toews, and W.G. Meikle. 2009. Interspecific associations among stored-grain beetles. J. Stored Prod. Res. 45: 254-260. |
||Opit, G.P., J.E. Throne, and P.W. Flinn. 2009. Sampling plans for the psocids Liposcelis entomophila and Liposcelis decolor (Psocoptera: Liposcelididae) in steel bins containing wheat. J. Econ. Entomol. 102: 1714-1722. |
||Opit, G.P., J.E. Throne, and P.W. Flinn. 2009. Evaluation of five sampling methods for the psocids Liposcelis entomophila and L. decolor (Psocoptera: Liposcelididae) in steel bins containing wheat. J. Econ. Entomol. 102: 1377-1382. |
||Opit, G.P., J.E. Throne, and P.W. Flinn. 2009. Temporospatial distribution of the psocids Liposcelis entomophila and L. decolor (Psocoptera: Liposcelididae) in steel bins containing wheat. J. Econ. Entomol. 102: 1369-1376. |
||Casada, M.E., M.S. Ram, and P.W. Flinn. 2008. Thermal design of shipping containers for beneficial insects. Appl. Eng. Agric. 24: 63-70. |
||Flinn, P.W., and C. Reed. 2008. Effects of outside air temperature on movement of phosphine gas in concrete elevator bins, pp. 704-706. In: G. Daolin, S. Navarro, Y. Jian, T. Cheng, J. Zuxun, L. Yue, L. Yang, and W. Haipeng (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Conference on Controlled Atmosphere and Fumigation in Stored Products, Chengdu, China, Sept. 21-26, 2008. Sichuan Publishing Group, Sichuan, China.|
||Flinn, P.W., G.P. Opit, and J.E. Throne. 2008. Automatic monitoring of insect pests in stored grains and rice. Contribution for Integrated Management of Stored Rice Pests (handbook). pp. 158-167. |
||Grieshop, M.J., P.W. Flinn, J.R. Nechols, and J.F. Campbell. 2008. Effects of fine-grain habitat complexity on egg parasitism by three species of Trichogramma. Biol. Control 45: 328-336. |
||Hagstrum, D.W., P.W. Flinn, C.R. Reed, and T.W. Phillips. 2008. Stored-grain insect areawide pest management, p. 226-243. In: O. Koul, G. Cuperus, and N. Elliott (eds.), Areawide Pest Management Theory and Implementation. CAB International, Oxfordshire, UK. |
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