Published December 6, 2022 | Version v1
Dataset Open

Pest population dynamics are related to a continental overwintering gradient

  • 1. North Carolina State University
  • 2. University of Minnesota
  • 3. National Forage Seed Production Research Center
  • 4. US Forest Service
  • 5. University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • 6. Agricultural Research Service
  • 7. University of Florida
  • 8. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture*
  • 9. University of Tennessee at Knoxville
  • 10. Iowa State University
  • 11. University of Maryland, College Park
  • 12. Virginia Tech
  • 13. Pennsylvania State University
  • 14. Oregon State University
  • 15. Clemson University
  • 16. Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection*
  • 17. University of Nebraska - Lincoln
  • 18. Texas A&M University
  • 19. Louisiana State University Agricultural Center
  • 20. Mississippi State University
  • 21. University of Delaware
  • 22. University of Arizona
  • 23. Cornell University
  • 24. Utah State University
  • 25. University of Tennessee at Martin
  • 26. Louisiana State University
  • 27. The Ohio State University


Overwintering success is an important determinant of arthropod populations that must be considered as climate change continues to influence the spatiotemporal population dynamics of agricultural pests. Using a long-term monitoring database and biologically relevant overwintering zones, we modeled the annual and seasonal population dynamics of a common pest, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), based on three overwintering suitability zones throughout North America using four decades of soil temperatures: the southern range (able to persist through winter), transitional zone (uncertain overwintering survivorship), and northern limits (unable to survive winter). Our model indicates H. zea population dynamics are hierarchically structured with continental-level effects that are partitioned into three geographic zones. Seasonal populations were initially detected in the southern range, where they experienced multiple large population peaks. All three zones experienced a final peak between late July (southern range) and mid-August to mid-September (transitional zone and northern limits). The southern range expanded by 3% since 1981 and is projected to increase by twofold by 2099 but the areas of other zones are expected to decrease in the future. These changes suggest larger populations may persist at higher latitudes in the future due to reduced low-temperature lethal events during winter. Because H. zea is a highly migratory pest, predicting when populations accumulate in one region can inform synchronous or lagged population development in other regions. We show the value of combining long-term datasets, remotely sensed data, and laboratory findings to inform forecasting of insect pests.


Funding provided by: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Crossref Funder Registry ID:
Award Number: 2017-70006-27205

Funding provided by: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Crossref Funder Registry ID:
Award Number: 2020-33522-32272



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Additional details

Related works

Is cited by
10.1073/pnas.2203230119 (DOI)
Is derived from
10.5281/zenodo.6498928 (DOI)