Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Invasives Disrupting Established IPM Strategies around the West

by Jim Farrar
Western IPM Center

As different as the Western states are, many face similar challenges of invasive pest species disrupting effective IPM programs.

That was a key point shared by the Western state IPM coordinators when they met last month at Montana State University in Bozeman to discuss regional IPM research and extension activities.

Most states reported on the challenges invasive pests pose to existing IPM programs and the related threats to agricultural production and natural landscapes. Several states noted new and expanding infestations to spotted winged Drosophila, emerald ash borer, and Bagrada bug.

Colorado reported recent problems with crucifer flea beetle, wheat stem sawfly and apple maggot, while Guam noted recent finds of eggplant mealybug, a gall-inducing wasp on ironwood trees, and a species of cucumber beetle. Hawaii reported recent finds of macadamia felted cocid and ongoing issues with coqui frogs on the big island.

In forest and natural areas, several states have invasive plants species and introduced insect pests transported in firewood. The Pacific Northwest states have flowering rush in some river and lake systems, New Mexico has several Diorhabda beetle species on salt cedar, and Guam has ironwood decline.

On the positive side, New Mexico has not had a pink bollworm reported since 2009 and Hawaii is having success with areawide insecticide rotations for diamondback moth.

Each state reported on progress in IPM programs in agriculture. The diversity of agriculture in the West was evident in the individual state reports. Continuing progress in IPM research and extension programs was reported for cotton and lettuce in Arizona, onion and dry bean in Colorado, basil in Hawaii, pulse crops and sugarbeets in Idaho, wheat in Montana, small vegetable farms in New Mexico, tree fruit in Oregon, and winegrapes and hops in Washington.

Interesting new agriculture topics included herbicide resistance in Colorado, diagnostic lab support in Montana, hoop house vegetable production in Nevada, grasshopper swarms large enough to be seen on weather radar in New Mexico, and reduced organophosphate use in tree fruit in Oregon. Perhaps most interesting is use of hot showers to rid potted ornamental plants of coqui frogs before shipment in Hawaii.

In urban IPM, the states of Washington, Utah, New Mexico, and Oregon reported on school IPM programs.   This effort is part of the EPA’s School Integrated Pest Management Plan.  Currently, three percent of school districts in Washington have achieved the IPM STAR certification.  In Utah, school IPM will be mandated in the future.  New Mexico reported that when specific school districts dropped their IPM programs and hired the services of a pest management professionals, regular pesticide treatments resumed. 

Oregon reported an increase in adoption of school IPM programs.  The state recently passed new IPM legislation, and the Oregon State Vector Control Board is now using climate-based models to predict spread of West Nile Virus.   Montana is reinvigorating its urban IPM program. Several states are using their Master Gardeners programs to reach homeowners with lawn and garden IPM information.

Some states mentioned moving IPM outreach materials into the social media realm, including YouTube videos. Social media can also be used to track impact as the number of views of a video or hits on a websites.