Archive for the ‘IPM’ Category

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Research Associate, IPM Innovation Lab


Working Title: Research Associate, IPM Innovation Lab

Department: OIRED – International Education

Location: Blacksburg, VA + travel

Employee Category: Research Faculty


Position Summary:

The Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab (IPM IL) is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and conducts applied IPM research on selected crops. The IPM IL is managed by the Virginia Tech Office of International Research, Education, and Development (OIRED), which currently oversees a portfolio of approximately $46 million in international research and development projects.

A Research Associate is being sought to provide assistance and expertise to the IPM IL Management Entity (ME) in Entomology/Plant Pathology for development of various components of IPM packages for tropical vegetables and other crops in project countries. The position reports to the IPM Innovation Lab Director within OIRED at Virginia Tech.

Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting in the preparation of proposals for associate awards and other Request for Applications (from the donor agency).
  • Reviewing and participating in research programs in the IP IL host countries.
  • Contributing to scholarly publications based on project research.
  • Preparing Pesticide Evaluation Reports and Safe Use Action Plans (PERSUAPs) for the IPM IL projects.
  • Planning and participating in field days, workshops, country and regional meetings and conferences related to plant protection.
  • Coordinating with Virginia Tech, U.S. and host-country participating scientists
  • Performing other project–related responsibilities as assigned including helping prepare work plans, semi-annual reports, success stories, newsletters and other IP IL related publications as well as doing background research on program technical issues.


Required Qualifications:

  • PhD in Plant Pathology, Entomology, or Plant Protection related fields.
  • Experience in Integrated Pest Management.
  • Proficiency in technical writing and preparing reports and documents in a professional manner.
  • Good organizational, skills and an ability to complete assignments according to a deadline.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of computer software such as Word, Excel, Access and other data management software.
  • Ability to interact professionally with individuals from diverse, multi-cultural environments.
  • Willingness to travel overseas.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • International experience in agricultural research and development
  • Foreign language skills


To apply: http://listings.jobs.vt.edu:80/postings/66394

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Over the next three months Louise Labuschagne, Joint MD of Real IPM Kenya, will be attempting a world record. You are invited to watch the progress of her attempt to produce  #ZeroResidue roses and later tomatoes, on the Equator, where there are all year round growing conditions for pests and diseases – WITHOUT having to rely on chemical pesticides.  She will be bringing all the Real IPM biological control agents to bear on this formidable task.  Will she win – or will she lose? The rose greenhouse chosen for the attempt has been previously used for efficacy trials for chemical pesticides – so it has even had pests and diseases applied to the plants. As a result – the crop is very badly damaged and has high levels of pests and diseases.  The variety, Upper Class, is a beautiful rose but is susceptible to pests and diseases.  This is a very difficult scenario – but she is confident of success. Join us on Facebook and share her successes and failures.  Give us your advice as she struggles to keep pace with the pests and diseases.  How would you solve this problem biologically?

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Quebec pilot project uses chemical emitted by female insects to stave off pests’ procreation

By Alison Northcott, CBC News Posted: May 17, 2016 5:20 PM ETLast Updated: May 17, 2016 5:20 PM ET

Stéphane Cataphard is among a growing number of Quebec apple growers turning to insect pheromones to stave off infestations and cutting back on harmful pesticides.

Stéphane Cataphard is among a growing number of Quebec apple growers turning to insect pheromones to stave off infestations and cutting back on harmful pesticides. (Jessica Rubinger/CBC)

Related stories

Stéphane Cataphard, an apple producer in Quebec’s lower Laurentians, used to spray his orchards with insecticides to protect the fruit from the codling moth five, even six, times a year.

But not any more.

Codling moth larvae

The codling moth’s larvae burrow into untreated apples, damaging the fruit. (CBC)

“Last year we just sprayed once,” he said while sorting Macintosh apples at his warehouse in St-Joseph-du-Lac, 50 kilometres northwest of Montreal. “This year we hope to reduce it to zero.”

Cataphard is among a growing number of apple producers in the province turning to insect pheromones – the chemicals females emit to attract their mates – to protect their crops from infestation by the moth’s larvae, which burrow into apples and can ravage crops.

More growers signing on

The provincial government is backing the pilot project with financial incentives to apple growers, and that money is proving persuasive: Last year 30 growers tried the pheremone treatment. This year, there are 100.

‘It sexually frustrates the insects because they can’t find each other and mate.’ – Acadia University biology professor Kirk Hillier

“Since we reduce the pesticides, it’s beneficial for the environment, it’s beneficial for the workers in the orchards because they are less exposed to the pesticides,” said Maryline Courchesne, a consultant with the group Agropomme, which is encouraging producers to adopt the technology.

Courchesne has been visiting Quebec apple orchards, installing thin plastic rings containing pheromones onto tree branches, in a process called mating disruption, to target the codling moth.

Codling moth

Pheromones released into apple orchards act as ‘mating disruptors,’ preventing the male codling moth from finding the female moth. (CBC)

“We will create a cloud of pheromone on top of the orchard so the male will not be able to find the female to mate and reproduce,” said Courchesne. 

Or, as Kirk Hillier, a biology professor at Acadia University in Wolfeville, N.S., puts it: “It sexually frustrates the insects because they can’t find each other and mate.”

‘Not actually killing anything’

Hillier has studied insect pheromones for years and says their use in pest control is growing.

“The real benefit is that this is not insecticidal at all, you’re not actually killing anything,” he said.

“Effectively you’re modifying the behaviour of the insect to prevent a second generation, the damaging generation, from coming along.”

Courchesne says one of the barriers is the cost of the pheromones.

Maryline Courchesne

Maryline Courchesne, a consultant with the group Agropomme, installs a thin plastic ring containing pheromones onto tree branches, in a process called mating disruption. (CBC)


They cost up to $500 per hectare –program, apple growers are eligible for up to $10,000 a year in  five times more than the insecticide for codling moth under the provincial subsidies.

Cataphard is convinced he may be able to save money in the long run, if he can further cut down on spraying.

Pheromones are also used in some orchards in Atlantic Canada, Ontario and British Columbia, and they’ve seen great success in outside of Canada, including in the state Washington and in Italy.

Hillier believes it will be adopted by an increasing number of producers.

“Over time, I think the market for these things is only going to grow, because of the greater need from the public to have chemical free fruits and vegetables,” Hillier said.


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Gill’s mealybug in pistachio– does the spray pay?

The adult female Gill’s mealybug, Ferrisia gilli, has a pink body and is covered in white wax. Photo by David Haviland.


To spray or not – that’s a question that often plagues pistachio growers faced with pests including Gill’s mealybug, which may or may not wreak economic havoc on their crop.

And that’s where David Haviland, University of California integrated pest management advisor for Kern County, comes in.

Haviland has published a paper with the Journal of Economic Entomology which presents a formula for determining the economic injury level that might or might not be tolerated by a grower.

The paper is based on several factors, including the treatment cost, the expected price per pound for the crop, and the anticipated yield.

It’s a matter of “does the spray pay?” Haviland said.

It could be that if an infestation is just beginning and a grower is trying to prevent spread, it might be best to be more aggressive, he adds.

The economic injury level formula adds the cost per acre for control with the anticipated yield in pounds per acre and the anticipated price, and then divides it by 0.094.

The result will be the economic injury level per cluster in May. As the cost goes up and the price and yield drops, there may be a greater tolerance for the number of mealybugs per cluster.

Haviland says a higher payment per pound of around $4 means the threshold for treating the pest “is really low.”

The ideal treatment timing is around June 1, or 10 days or so earlier when temperatures are higher.

Haviland said adult females emerge in late April or May, “and that’s when you monitor the number of mealybugs per cluster.” They can be found when the old wood connects with new growth – basically where the bud was.

Among the pesticides effective on the pest are Centaur (Buprofezin), Movento (Spirotetramat), Assail (Acetamiprid), and Admire (Imidacloprid).

Haviland said Admire is not as effective as the others but it is inexpensive and has no application costs when used in drip systems. Admire, he says, might not be the best choice in a bad infestation, but if the level is creeping back it can be used for suppression.

Haviland said Centaur, Assail, and Movento are all “extremely good.” Another good product he shared is Closer, which has been re-named Sequoia, a Dow AgroSciences product where the registration was pulled. Dow is seeking product re-registration.

Movento is costly, Haviland said, but researchers have learned it can be used at lower rates, six ounces rather than nine ounces, shaving one-third off the cost.

The pest was introduced into Tulare County in the mid-to-late 1990s. It spread slowly initially, reaching 2,000 acres in 2004 in at least five counties and was also found in almonds and wine grapes.

By 2005, 3,000 acres were infested. There were 6,000 aces infested by 2007. And pesticide reports indicate treatment on 80,000 acres in California by 2013.

Gill’s mealybugs are roughly ½ to 1/5 inch in length and pinkish grey in color. The pest is often covered with white wax secreted from a pore.“They muck up the clusters,” Haviland said.

He explained that they “intercept carbohydrates intended for kernel development.”

Smaller kernels mean less weight and less splitting.

“The small kernel is never big enough to push them open,” Haviland said, “and the biggest problem is closed shell nuts.”

The pest can cause shell staining and an increase in adhering hulls with later harvests. But it has no association with aflatoxin.

Pistachio growers should be cautious not to confuse Gill’s mealybug with grape mealybug.

Grape mealybug is sometimes found on pistachios, but does not cause economic damage but requires treatment. Grape mealybug has four slender white tails. The female Gill’s mealybug has two broad white tails.

When poked, adult females of grape mealybug extrude a bright red liquid through structures called ostioles towards both the rear and front of the top of the body. Gill’s mealybug does not extrude such a liquid.

Mealybug feeding produces large amounts of honeydew that results in black sooty mold that can reduce photosynthesis.

The most common predators of mealybugs in pistachios are brown lacewing and lady beetle whose larva resembles a mealybug.

One way to peg problem areas is to check trees before dormancy in the fall and look for sooty mold and leaves and for mealybugs within clusters. Note those locations for further evaluation the following spring.

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Exclusive to Western Farm Press

What is in this article?:

  • There has never been a better time to implement integrated pest management for spider mites in almonds, says entomologist David Haviland of the University of California.
  • UC researchers have developed presence-absence monitoring thresholds to help almond growers understand exactly when they need to pull the trigger on treatment.

Feeding damage by spider mites to almond leaves. Photo by David Haviland.


There has never been a better time to implement integrated pest management (IPM)) for spider mites in almonds, according to entomology farm advisor David Haviland, University of California Cooperative Extension, Kern County.

A bevy of new reduced-risk, selective miticides have come on the market in recent years, and UC researchers have developed presence-absence monitoring thresholds to help almond growers understand exactly when they need to pull the trigger on treatment.

Haviland told a packed house at The Almond Conference last December that these new products have different modes of action, are easy on beneficial insects, and all are effective in the control of spider mites.

Despite this fact, pesticide use reports in recent years show a distinct trend toward preventive, prophylactic mite treatments in almonds. Perhaps growers are piggybacking onto early-season applications for other pests, or perhaps they are trying to stay ahead of mites to prevent flare-ups later in the season.

But Haviland said growers who spray at the first sign of mites might, in fact, be setting themselves up for problems later.

Food source

It is important for some mites to be present in the orchard early season to provide a food source for beneficials including six-spotted thrips, which, if allowed to thrive in the orchard, are an excellent natural biological control for spider mites. Allowing biocontrol organisms to get established, in fact, can reduce the risk of spider mite explosions later in the season.

Products containing abamectin, while inexpensive and effective on mites, are also known to kill six-spotted thrips and should be used cautiously if this predator is present in the orchard. In addition, pyrethroids and other broad-spectrum insecticides should be avoided until hull split unless they are absolutely necessary for leaffooted bug or other sporadic pests when no alternatives exist.

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Orlando Florida, USA/ September 25-30, 2016

Pest Integrated Management and Sustainable Agriculture Section
Session title: Integrated Pest Management Components and Packages for Tropical Crops
Organizers: Rangaswamy Muniappan and E. A. Heinrichs
Session date: Monday, September 26, 2016
Session Time: 1:30PM – 5:00 PM

Session schedule:
1:30 – 1:45: The role of IPM in USAID’s feed the Future Initiative – J. Bowman

1:45—2:00: Integrated Pest management of chickpea Leaf miner, Liriomyza cicerina (Rondani) . L. Ali, M. El Bouhssini and A. Sabraoui

2:00—2:15 Integrated Pest Management Strategy of Red Palm Weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Olivier in the Near East and North African Region. S. AlDobai and J. R. Faleiro

2:15 – 2:30: Towards development of a parasitoid cottage industry in the Sahel for biological control of the millet head miner . N. M. BA, L. Baoua, A. Kabore, L. Amadou, L. Karimoune, H. Salha, L. C. Dabire, R. R. Muniappan and G. Norton

2:30—2:45 Management of Eriophyes dimocarpi on Longan in Vietnam using safe and biological approaches . T. T. M. Hanh, N. T. K. Thoa, and N. V. Hoa

2:45—3:00 An integrated pest management (IPM) strategy to manage bean pod borer (Maruca vitrata) on yard-long bean in Southeast Asia . S. Yule, R. Srinivasan, Vu Hai, and K. Soukhavong

3:00—3:15 Break

3:15—3:30 Biological control: a non-obvious option for managing insect pests in cowpea. R. Srinivasan, E. Dannon, B. Datinon, J. Toffa, D. Arodokoun, B. R. Pittendrigh, and M. Tamo

3:30—3:45 IPM as a strategic approach for management of virus diseases in vegetable crops in the tropics . N. Rayapati

3:45—4:00 Pest management in rain fed crops in the semi-arid tropics: Prospects and problems . S. Vashisth, J. Jagdish, and H. C. Sharma

4:00—4:15 Reducing insect pest vulnerabilities in rice value chain using ecologically-based IPM strategy.  B. Hadi, J. L. Catindig, S. Villareal, and C. P. F. Garcia

4:15 – 4:30 The Integrated Pest Management Program for Cotton in Egypt . A. H. El-Heneidy

4:30 – 4:45: Development and dissemination of vegetable integrated pest management (IPM) practices and packages in Nepal . S. Paudel, R. R. Muniappan, and E. G. Rajotte

4:45 – 5:00 Discussion


Late Breaking Symposium Section
Session title: Global Spread and Management of the South American Tomato Leafminer, Tuta absoluta
Organizers: E. A. Heinrichs and Amer Fayad
Session date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Session Time: 9:15 AM – 12:00 PM

Goals:To present information on the expanding geographical distribution of T. absoluta, modeling its potential to spread globally, and available management options and to recruit additional members to the “International Tuta absoluta Working Group.”

Session schedule:
09:15 – 09:30: Tuta absoluta programs in IPM Innovation Lab – E. A. Heinrichs and R. Muniappan

09:30 – 09:45: Biology and and worldwide spread of T. absoluta – Antonio Biondia, Nicolas Desneux

09.45 – 10.00: Monitoring spread of T. absoluta using a multi-layered network based modeling framework – Abhijin Adiga

10:00 – 10:15: The role of human mobility and infrastructures in pest and disease modeling
– Madhav Marathe

10.15 – 10.30: Status of current and proposed regulatory responses by USDA/APHIS to the threat of tomato leaf miner (Tuta absoluta Meyrick) invasion into the United States – Joseph Vorgetts, Julieta Brambila, Devaiah A. Muruvanda, Amy L. Roda

10:30 – 10.45: Tuta absoluta in Afghanistan and Central Asia– Harry Bottenberg

10.45 – 11.00: Occurrence of South American tomato moth, Tuta absoluta (Meyrick, 1917) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in India – R. Asokan, V. Sridhar, Y. G. Prasad, S. Venugopalan

11:00 – 11.15: Tuta absoluta challenge and management in the Near East and North Africa Region – Shoki Al-Dhobi, Homam Bekheet Homam

11:15 – 11.30: Invasion of the tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta in West Africa: spatial dynamics, ecological niche and potential for biological control –Serigne Sylla, Karamoko Diarra, Thierry Brevault

11:30 – 11:45: Management of T. absoluta – Shakir Al-Zaidi

11:45 – 12:00: Discussion and recommendations



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Copied from: PestNet

The “big rust’s” impact on coffee disease management Coffee rust has made significant headlines in recent years for its devastating effect on coffee crops. According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), losses in Latin America and the Caribbean alone have totaled well over $1 billion, causing hardship to coffee plantations, their labourers, coffee retailers, and the consumers who pay more for their morning coffee.

But this fungal disease, also known as “the big rust,” has a much longer and more encompassing history that goes all the way back to its discovery in 1869. This history is reviewed in detail through a new Phytopathology article entitled, “The Big Rust and the Red Queen: Long-Term Perspectives on Coffee Rust Research,” written by Stuart McCook, historian at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and John Vandermeer, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan, USA.

In this essay, the authors discuss the big rust in a broader historical context, chronicling coffee rust epidemics, the social and ecological conditions that produced them, and the evolving scientific responses to this threat. The article highlights the many innovations used to combat coffee disease outbreaks, such as the efforts to develop disease-resistant plants, chemical and agroecological control, and even a network of international coffee research institutes. It also incorporates the broader social and economic histories of coffee production into particular stories of rust epidemics and rust research. The article also points out examples of the current research and disease mitigation challenges in developing nations versus affluent parts of the world.

By taking this broad perspective, the authors suggest we are entering a new phase in the global history of the coffee rust.

“Up until the mid-1980s, the story of the coffee rust was largely the story of invasions, as the disease spread into regions where it was not previously present,” McCook said. “By the mid-1980s, however, the disease had reached almost every coffee-producing region in the world.”

“For a brief while, in the 1980s and 1990s, it looked as if coffee farmers-with the help of scientists-had adapted to the disease, making it ‘just another disease’ on the farm. But we suggest that this fragile equilibrium has begun to break down, both because of broader ecological changes that we are only beginning to understand, and also because of increasing volatility in the global coffee economy,” he said.

Read this paper in the September 2015 issue of Phytopathology.

(Phytopathology News, November 2015)




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