SIPMC funds 15 IPM Enhancement Grants

This year, SIPMC is funding unique projects that are addressing some of the region’s highest priorities. The following are the 15 proposals that have been funded through the IPM Enhancement Grant:

A Dual Recombinant Vaccine for Brucellosis and Immunocontraception in Feral Swine, Nammalwar Sriranganathan (Virginia Tech) $29,402

This innovative project investigates curbing populations of feral swine while also preventing them from transmitting brucellosis. Feral swine cause $1.5 billion each year in crop and land damage, and they harbor Brucella suis, the bacterium that causes brucellosis, a deadly cattle disease. Dr. Sriranganathan will test a newly developed vaccine on mice.

A Low-cost, IPM Curriculum for the Public Schools and Municipalities, Janet Hurley (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service) $30,000

School IPM coordinators and practitioners will benefit from this project that will make IPM materials more readily available at little or no cost via the Internet. Many school districts face the daunting challenge of establishing and maintaining an IPM program with little or no money to buy training materials for staff. This new IPM curriculum will coordinate websites, handbooks, fact sheets, workbooks, videos and pest ID guides into one self-directed training module for schools, municipalities and others.

Assessing the scope of an emerging threat: The insecticide resistant bait averse German cockroach, Jules Silverman & Coby Schal (North Carolina State University) $30,000

Not only are German cockroaches capable of transmitting bacteria to food products, but they are also a prime source of allergens that can trigger asthma. Typically baits are used to control cockroaches, but for the last 20 years, cockroaches have evolved; some are resistant and avoiding the baits. This project will examine cockroaches with this “dual averse” characteristic, establish a profile, determine the scope of the population and suggest alternative controls.

Bed Bugs and Book Bags Prevention and Education Program, Rebecca Baldwin (University of Florida) $28,961

Although they don’t typically transmit disease, bed bugs are probably one of the most feared public health insect in the United States. In 2012, the Jacksonville Bed Bug Task Force created the Bed Bugs and Book Bags curriculum for third through fifth graders, and educators showed an overwhelming interest in the materials. Within the first three months of the curriculum’s creation 194 people had downloaded the curriculum and indicated that they would impact over 19,000 people. Dr. Baldwin seeks to use funding for this project to complete pilot testing and evaluation of the curriculum.

Developing spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) integrated pest management program in blueberry and strawberry crops: Monitoring, management and outreach, Oscar Liburd (University of Florida) $29,895

Those packages of strawberries and blueberries that shoppers see in the grocery store in December and January may have come from Florida, the primary U.S. producer of winter strawberries and early-season blueberries. In 2009 Florida berry growers faced a new threat, the spotted wing drosophila, which deposits its eggs inside ripening fruit and renders it unmarketable. This project builds on previous research and extension activities with respect to management of SWD in Florida’s berry crops,  including SWD surveys for blueberry and strawberry growers, management option identification and farmer training.

eFly: Southern Spotted Wing Drosophila Working Group, Hannah Burrack (North Carolina State University) $29,321

Another project focusing on spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) will formalize a southern SWD working group that began with funding from a SIPMC Critical Issues grant. The working group began in order to coordinate research and extension efforts in the states where SWD has been found. The group now wants to develop a web page that will communicate research breakthroughs and extension activities, and to continue the priority setting and impact statements that began during the first meeting.

Insecticide susceptibility and esterase activity in the redbanded stink bug, Raul Medina (Texas A&M AgriLife Research) $29,925

Like stink bug pests of cotton, the redbanded stink bug (Piezodorus guildinii) has become the primary pest of soybeans in the Delta region, especially in Texas and Louisiana. Losses in 2011 were at least $100 million in Louisiana and $11.5 million in Texas. Growers now treat stink bugs with acephate, but as the pest requires more frequent applications, scientists fear resistance is starting. This project will test for resistance to current insecticides, determine methods of resistance monitoring and test possible alternative products for control.

Extent of Multiple Herbicide-Resistant Weeds and Predicting Risk of Further Herbicide Resistance in Georgia, William Vencill (University of Georgia) $23,005

Experts have identified 217 species of herbicide-resistant weeds worldwide. In the southeastern U.S. one of the primary herbicide resistant species is Palmer amaranth, which affects more than 2 million hectares of agricultural land in the South. While many scientists are studying ways to combat herbicide resistance for existing weeds, Dr. Vencill wants to predict what other weeds might become herbicide resistant. With this project he will survey 20 fields in Georgia and determine the likelihood of resistance in some of the most common weed species in Georgia agriculture.

Genetic structure of cotton stink bug parasitoids associated with different host plant species, Raul Medina (Texas A&M AgriLife Research) $29,946

Stink bug species are some of the primary pests of cotton, infesting millions of acres every year. Most cotton growers use chemical control against stink bugs, but the resulting eradication of natural enemies invites other pests to take the place of the stink bugs. This project will investigate the possibility of using parasitoids to control stink bugs and examine the host specificity of three species of sucking bug parasitoids.

IPM for Shrubs in Southeastern U.S. Nursery Production (Vol. I), a SNIPM Working Group Effort, Sarah White (Clemson University) $29,983

This project involves compiling information for and publishing the first volume of a four volume series on IPM in southeastern shrubs. It will also involve a grower needs assessment, assess short term and long terms goals and develop priority projects. The working group previously compiled and published an I-book on deciduous trees.

Preliminary assessment of indigenous pecan germplasm for insect and pathogen resistance, Julio Bernal & Marvin Harris (Texas AgriLife) $29,996

Pecan IPM in Texas and other states emphasizes direct control of nut-feeding pests while emphasizing tolerance of other pests. Researchers have begun work on host plant resistance to lessen both the intensity of damage and the need for sprays. In this project, Drs. Bernal and Harris will evaluate pecan seedlings at the National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Pecans and Hickories for their resistance against various pest insects and diseases.

Strengthening Extension Leadership and Stakeholder Training on the Megacopta cribraria Invasion Front, Xing Ping Hu (Auburn University) $30,000

Since its initial detection in Georgia in October 2009, the kudzu bug has become one of the most serious agricultural and residential pest of the Southeast. Researchers have already made several discoveries about the biology and ecology of the pest. Now Extension personnel and public stakeholders need training to learn the best ways to manage the pest using IPM methods. This project will develop a comprehensive educational program for state and regional leadership to develop educational materials for agricultural and urban stakeholders.

Sustainability in Turfgrass Systems: Assessment of New Strategies for Weed Control and Species Selection, Travis Gannon (NC State University) $29,969

Most people expect turfgrass to be lush, green and uniform, but those who have to make sure it looks that way don’t have an easy job. Weeds are the main pest problem for turfgrass. Typically landowners use herbicides to kill weeds, but repeated use breeds resistance. With this project, Dr. Gannon plans to compare non-pesticidal weed control options to synthetic herbicides.

Towards managing target spot, caused by Corynespora cassiicola, in cotton, Austin Hagan (Auburn University) $30,000

In the past two years target spot has caused widespread defoliation in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Because the disease is relatively new and until recently was localized to irrigated cotton in southwest Georgia, very little is known about the disease or its effective control. Lint decline is estimated at 5 percent for tolerant varieties, a percentage that would cost producers in Georgia and Alabama alone $65 million. This project will examine the disease and its impact on cotton lint yield and quality, as well as fungicide options.

Integrated Weed Management Options for Southern Vegetable Production, Nathan Boyd (University of Florida) $29,683

In light of the loss of methyl bromide, land-grant extension personnel have been working with southern vegetable growers on viable IPM alternatives. This project will evaluate new herbicide options for tomato growers and determine priorities in weed management during the crop cycle. Dr. Boyd and his team will compare different treatment options to see which ones maximize economic return and minimize environmental effects.

Assuring Adoption of Previous and New IPM Farmscaping Practices, Robert Hochmuth (University of Florida) $29,938

Many beginning farmers and ranchers have little experience in pest prevention outside of pesticide applications but want to know how to incorporate other IPM practices into their farmscaping. The University of Florida Living Extension IPM Field Laboratory in Live Oak, Florida, provides hands-on demonstration of whole farm IPM and year round training programs for farmers and other interested clientele. This grant will build on this program and allow the Farmscaping Working Group to reach additional farmers and ranchers and increase adoption of whole-farm IPM in Florida.

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