A network approach to modeling population aggregation and genetic control of pest insects.
Yakob L., Kiss IZ., Bonsall MB.
Historically, models of the invasion and biological control of insect pests have omitted heterogeneities in the spatial structure of the targeted populations. In this study, we use stochastic network simulations to examine explicitly population heterogeneity as a function of landscape structure and insect behavior. We show that when insects are distributed non-randomly across a heterogeneous landscape, control can be significantly hindered. However, when insect populations are clustered as a result of limited dispersal, genetic control efficiency can be enhanced. In developing the model, we relax a key assumption of previous theoretical studies of genetic control: that released genetic control insects remain homogenously distributed irrespective of the spatial structure of the wild type populations. Here, this behavior (termed the 'coverage proportion') is parameterized and its properties are explored. We show that landscape heterogeneity and limited dispersal have little effect on the critical coverage proportion necessary for control.