Insect Production Services
The Insect Production Services (IPS) team at the Great Lakes Forestry Centre produces laboratory-reared insects to facilitate research on forest insect outbreaks and on environmentally responsible protection tools.
IPS mission: Insect Production Services is a dedicated team supplying quality insects in support of forest insect research aimed at the sustainable management of our forests for the economic and social well being of Canadians. We aspire to become a world leader by using the highest possible Quality Assurance/Quality Control standards and developing new rearing technologies to ensure an efficient reliable source of insects for researchers, managers and educators.
The IPS insectarium is the only facility in North America that rears multiple forest insect species and the only one in the world that mass-produces spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana). The insects are produced for use in research and education, and are available for purchase. IPS also maintains an extensive international database of producers and distributors of live insects, mites and nematodes.
IPS has an extensive quality assurance program to ensure the continued availability of insects for its clients. Ongoing research is aimed at developing methods for mass producing insects and techniques for detecting pathogens. IPS researchers also provide contract services, such as establishing new colonies and rearing quarantined insect pests. A separate quarantine facility supports Canadian Forest Service invasive alien species research activities.
Established in 1963, IPS comprises four separate facilities:
The Insect Production Services (IPS) insectarium is the only facility in North America that rears multiple forest insect species and the only one in the world that mass-produces spruce budworm.
The insects produced are for use in pest management and related research at the Great Lakes Forestry Centre, other CFS establishments, provincial/state agencies and numerous universities across Canada and the U.S. They are also used for teaching purposes at a range of educational institutions and for public education at high-profile establishments.
The majority of the insectarium’s resources are dedicated to the production of diapause and non-diapause strains of spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana), with an annual production of approximately 3.5 million larvae.
Insect Production Services (IPS) is able to respond to the pest management research community’s changing needs by varying the inventory of species reared. New colonies can be established when required by Canadian Forest Service priorities and if needed by multiple clients.
Maintaining client satisfaction and the continued availability of insects requires healthy colonies. The Insect Production Services (IPS) quality assurance program involves production, process and product control for all insect colonies.
Production control procedures allow IPS to manage the consistency, reliability and timeliness of production output for each insect colony. Diet ingredients, equipment, environments, schedules and personnel are monitored throughout production so that any performance deviations can be corrected immediately.
Process control procedures ensure that unacceptable deviations do not occur in product quality. Colonies are monitored at multiple stages during production, using defined indicators to assess quality and minimize variance from predetermined standards. Continuous analysis of process control data allows IPS to identify causes of variability and to implement immediate corrective action before deviations cause problems in colonies. The rearing methods used allow IPS to eliminate poor performers or developers at multiple stages of development, to ensure the health and vigour of the colonies. Process control records also allow IPS to predict future performance of every cohort of each colony maintained.
Product control procedures allow IPS to ensure that each insect colony conforms to high quality standards that meet client requirements. Unique among multi-species rearing facilities, IPS conducts routine microbial screening for every mating chamber of all cohorts of the colonies. At minimum, each lot is screened for the presence of cytoplasmic polyhedrosis virus, nucleopolyhedrosis virus and multiple species of microsporidia to ensure that disease does not become established in IPS colonies. Each shipment of insects includes lot identification so that client feedback can be tracked against quality control records, enabling IPS to identify areas for product refinement or improvement.
Quality control facility
Production, process and product controls for all insect colonies are monitored in the IPS quality control facility. Separate from the insectarium, the quality control facility consists of an analytical laboratory and office space.
The analytical laboratory contains a broad array of sophisticated equipment. The IPS team can also access numerous other types of equipment and services within the Great Lakes Forestry Centre research complex, including electron microscopy (both TEM and scanning), fluorescence microscopy, and spectrophotometry. This allows the IPS team to undertake a wide range of activities, including:
- pathogen production and purification
- histological preparation, staining and microscopic examination
- PCR detection
- REN analysis
- DNA hybridization assay.
The quality control office space contains computers used for quality control records, including electronic monitoring and tracking of environmental conditions within the rearing rooms and chambers.
New insect colonies and mass production methods are developed in a rearing facility that is isolated from the insectarium. This isolation ensures that the quality or health of existing colonies is not compromised as IPS is developing new methods or introducing new species and screening them for the presence of pathogens.
Techniques for detecting insect pathogens are developed or modified in the quality control facility, which is also isolated from the insectarium to ensure the integrity of the insect colonies.
Contract research services
The IPS methods development facility is also where the IPS team performs contract research services for clients.
IPS personnel have vast experience in rearing insect species. IPS can also draw on the expertise of numerous forest insect researchers from within the Great Lakes Forestry Centre research complex.
IPS can provide the following services on contract:
- establishing new insect colonies
- developing specialized rearing methods
- maintaining unique colonies to support individual needs
- rearing quarantined insect pests.
For more information on IPS contract services, please contact Peter Ebling.
The Insect Production Services insect quarantine program supports invasive alien species research activities conducted by the Canadian Forest Service.
The quarantine facility is independent from the insectarium and is equipped with multiple climate-controlled rearing rooms, environmental chambers and laboratories outfitted for entomological research.
Support is provided both for scientific personnel conducting experiments within the quarantine facility and for insectarium personnel who are developing rearing methodology to establish laboratory colonies of invasive alien species.