Date of this Version
Plant Disease /Vol. 103 No. 2 338-344
The wheat curl mite (WCM), Aceria tosichella Keifer, transmits three potentially devastating viruses to winter wheat. An increased understanding of mite movement and subsequent virus spread through the landscape is necessary to estimate the risk of epidemics by the virus in winter wheat. Owing to the small size of WCMs, their dispersal via wind is hard to monitor; however, the viruses they transmit produce symptoms that can be detected with remote sensing. The objective of this study was to characterize the spatial dispersal of the virus from a central mite-virus source. Virus infection gradients were measured spatially by using aerial remote sensing, ground measurements, geostatistics, and a geographic information system between 2006 and 2009. The red edge position vegetation index as measured via aerial imagery was significantly correlated with in-field biophysical measurements. The occurrence of virus symptoms extended differentially in all directions from mite-virus source plots, and predictions from cokriging revealed an oval pattern surrounding the source but displaced to the southeast. The variable dispersal in different directions appeared to be influenced by the mite source density and wind direction and speed, but temperature also seemed likely to have affected mite spread. The spatial spread revealed in this study may be used to estimate the potential sphere of influence of mite-infested volunteer wheat in production fields. These risk parameter estimates require further validation, but they may potentially aid growers in making better virus management decisions regarding differential virus spread potential away from a central source.