Recent Projects


For more details about a project, or to find one not listed here, use the search function on the IPM Projects Interagency Database.


2023 Grants


Implementing Electrical Mulch for Weed Control in Vineyards and Blueberries

Center Priority Areas: IPM and Ecosystem Services, New Technologies to Manage Pests

Project Director: Dr. Erik Lehnhoff, New Mexico State University 

Cooperating States: New Mexico, Oregon

Project Summary: Weed control in crops such as wine grapes and blueberries is a significant expense. In these crops, weed management often consists of herbicide application and the use of plastic mulch. Herbicides may have off-target impacts, including the potential to negatively impact human health and the environment, and their overuse can lead to the evolution of herbicide-resistant weeds. Plastic mulches may be temporarily effective in preventing weed growth, but they have limited lifespans, are generally not biodegradable, and require landfill disposal. We have developed a novel weed control technique using low doses of electricity to prevent weed growth safely and effectively. While this technique has been demonstrated in xeriscaping and more recently in an annual crop, this will be the first implementation in perennial crops. The research objective is to evaluate electrical preemergent weed control efficacy in vineyards and blueberry, with research conducted in a vineyard in New Mexico and a blueberry field in Oregon, thereby evaluating the technology in two crops and two different eco-regions. 


Diversity and Seed Transmission of High Plains Wheat Mosaic Virus in Corn in the Pacific Northwest

Center Priority Area: Invasive Species

Project Director:  Dr. Lindsey du Toit, Washington State University

Cooperating States: Washington, Ohio

Project Summary: High Plains wheat mosaic virus is an emerging problem for the corn seed industry.  Recent evidence that the disease might have been introduced into several countries on sweet corn seed, and evidence that the risk of seed transmission might be greater on some corn genotypes, has led to implementation of phytosanitary restrictions on corn seed imported from the United States. In this grant, we will assess the diversity of High Plains wheat mosaic virus isolates affecting corn crops in the Pacific Northwest and evaluate the influence of corn genotype on seed transmission rates of the virus using susceptible and resistant cultivars. Understanding nucleotide sequence diversity of the isolates will aid seed-testing efforts by the U.S. National Seed Health System to develop a standardized protocol for High Plains wheat mosaic virus detection in corn seed. The protocol could also be used for harmonization of seed testing with regulatory agencies in other countries. The project is expected to generate foundational knowledge for developing IPM strategies to manage this emerging viral disease in corn and reduce the risk of seed transmission. 


The Development of an Effective Trapping System for the Invasive Greater Banded Hornet, Vespa tropica, in Guam

Center Priority Areas: IPM and Ecosystem Services; IPM for Indigenous, Insular and Isolated 

Project Director: Dr. Jacqueline Serrano, USDA-Agricultural Research Service

Cooperating States and Territories: Washington, Guam

Project Summary: Over the past decade, several hornet species have been introduced outside their native range from Europe and Asia and in 2016, the greater banded hornet, Vespa tropica, was detected in Guam. This newly invasive hornet poses threats to Guam’s agriculture and apiculture industries, as well as human health due to the stinging attacks. There have been numerous reports from island beekeepers that the hornets attack honeybees in large numbers, which has resulted in losses of multiple colonies. Due to the current distribution and a lack of effective resources to combat the invasive insects, greater banded hornet could become permanently established in Guam with significant negative consequences. The goal of this one-year project is to jumpstart this development of greater banded hornet trapping tools by conducting field tests of known and experimental traps and attractants, and beginning research into greater banded hornet pheromones. 


Optimizing Pheromone-based Monitoring Systems to Improve Corn Earworm Pest Management Practices in Hemp

Center Priority Areas: Biological Control of Pests; IPM and Ecosystem Services; New Technologies to Manage Pests

Project Director: Dr. Govinda Shrestha, Oregon State University

Cooperating States: Oregon, California

Project Summary: Corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea, injures a wide range of crops and has turned out to be one of the most important pests of outdoor-grown hemp in all places where production occurs. Larval feeding damages flower buds, the marketable portion of cannabinoid-type hemp, and can lead to significant economic loss to hemp flower bud and biomass yields. Monitoring is an important aspect to managing this pest, but little guidance exists to inform best management practices. This project will apply our understanding of the existing corn earworm pheromone trapping program in other commodities to improve scouting and economic-threshold development for hemp.  In this project, we will evaluate the relationships of corn earworm moths caught in pheromone-baited traps to corn earworm egg and larval populations on plants and to flower yield loss throughout the growing season; survey natural enemies of corn earworm eggs and larvae and determine their presence and natural role in aiding management of corn earworm populations; and develop corn earworm monitoring and scouting video tutorials to improve grower capacity to manage this pest.


Unlocking the Potential of Targeted Grazing for Management of Invasive Weeds on America’s National Forests with Behavioral Science and Adaptive Governance

Center Priority Areas: IPM Culture and Capacity; Invasive Species; IPM in Changing Landscapes

Project Director: Dr. Kelly Hopping, Boise State University

Project State: Idaho

Project Summary: Targeted grazing is an untapped vegetation-management tool to control invasive weeds in the American West. Research has found the practice is broadly effective for short-term reduction of invasive weeds and in promoting plant-community richness and diversity. Yet despite enthusiasm about its potential, implementation of targeted grazing is patchy. Uncertainties about the potential of the tool persist due to ecological variability, trade-offs with other conservation values and social and institutional obstacles. This project seeks to understand the potential of targeted grazing as part of an integrated pest management toolbox on America’s National Forests by utilizing behavioral science and adaptive governance frameworks. Through semi-structured interviews of U.S. Forest Service staff, we will investigate controls on individual agency staff behaviors that in turn influence the agency’s willingness and capacity to implement management practices such as targeted grazing. We have developed an integrated framework that combines existing knowledge of adaptive governance of the Forest Service with the Theory of Planned Behavior framework that has been used extensively within conservation social science. We will use this framework to develop an interview protocol and analyze the relationships between psycho-social factors, governance context and biophysical variables to not only better understand the controls on adaptive governance potential, but also to identify high leverage points for adoption of targeted grazing as a weed management tool.



Klamath Alliance for Regional Invasive Species Management

Center Priority Areas: IPM and Ecosystem Services; IPM for Indigenous, Insular and Isolated People; Invasive Species

Project Director: Tanya Chapple, Mid Klamath Watershed Council

Project State: California

Project Summary: This project will maintain capacity of the Klamath Alliance for Regional Invasive Species Management. The Alliance includes the Mid Klamath Watershed Council, Salmon River Restoration Council, Six Rivers National Forest, Klamath National Forest, Karuk Tribe, Yurok Tribe, Hoopa Tribe, California Department of Transportation, Siskiyou Resource Conservation District, Quartz Valley Indian Reservation, Scott River Watershed Council and the Cultural Fire Management Council. The work group addresses invasive species concerns crossing political boundaries of Humboldt and Siskiyou counties, National Forests, and the ancestral territories of the Karuk, Yurok, Hoopa and Shasta Tribes. The work group will continue to build partnerships and work towards a common goal to conserve native plant species and communities through the management of invasive species in the Klamath Region of California. Upcoming objectives for the Alliance include developing collaborative projects that adhere to our Regional Invasive Plants Management Strategy, increasing local capacity for native plant revegetation, developing shared protocols and providing learning opportunities to the people of the Klamath River watershed in California.


American Pacific Island Work Group Continuation

Center Priority Areas: IPM Culture and Capacity; IPM for Indigenous, Insular and Isolated People; Invasive Species

Project Director: Dr. Zhiqiang Cheng, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Cooperating States and Territories: Hawaii, American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam

Project Summary: This project will support the American Pacific Island Collaboration Team to meet and work collaboratively to fulfill priorities outlined in a needs assessment completed in 2019. Membership in the work group has expanded significantly to include extension educators and other industry representatives and our goal is to expand participation to include growers and other pesticide applicators. This project will support face-to-face and virtual meetings to address priorities identified by the needs assessment and subsequent planning meetings; deliver outreach education programs to stakeholders based on training provided during pesticide safety education Train-The Trainer sessions; develop educational materials and identify needs for future trainings meetings. A facilitator will ensure coordination of these efforts, maintain timelines, continued access to materials, facilitate collaboration and streamline communication. 


Western Invasive Plant Risk Evaluation Network

Center Priority Area: Invasive Species

Project Director:  Dr. Jutta Burger, California Invasive Plant Council

Cooperating States: California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington

Project Summary: This project supports the Western Invasive Plant Risk Evaluation Network, a work group aimed at preventing new invasive plants from getting a foothold in Western states. The Network generates risk assessments for plants that may become invasive and provides a forum for sharing information on new plants of potential concern. Key stakeholders include conservation land managers, the nursery industry, academia and public agencies. Because many plants have an extensive lag phase before becoming invasive, prevention can be strengthened by predicting which plant species pose the highest risk for becoming invasive in a given region. The Network broadens the use of the PRE assessment tool, which evaluates the invasive risk of horticultural and non-horticultural plants that have not yet established broadly. For 2023, we will conduct trainings and provide oversight for evaluations of 30 additional species;  continue meetings and communicating among partners; design and hold a half-day virtual workshop on ways to use PRE assessments to reduce introduction of invasive ornamentals through the nursery trade; and ensure the PRE tool’s longevity through continued enhancements of its web platform.



Assessing Educator Needs for Content, Format and Delivery of Educational Resources for Integrated Management of Vertebrate Pests

Center Priority Areas: IPM Culture and Capacity; IPM for Indigenous, Insular and Isolated People; Urban Pest Management

Project Director: Stephen Vantassel, Montana Department of Agriculture

Cooperating States: Montana, Oregon, Wyoming

Project Summary: Vertebrate pests include wildlife, non-native rodents, reptiles and birds. Management of these pests is generally overlooked as an IPM discipline due to the variable and isolated nature of pest infestations and a scarcity of expertise in the land-grant system. However, with an increase in conflicts between vertebrate pest and humans, vertebrate IPM strategies are needed now more than ever. Our team will assess the needs and desires of Extension Educators in the West for integrated vertebrate pest management material. We will compile and review current IPM educational materials for vertebrate pest management, including fact sheets, videos and other materials, to determine their merit for wider use or for revision or enhancement to address resource shortfalls. The assessment will include a specific focus on the Pacific Island Territories in collaboration with the Pacific Island Collaboration Team. Work group members and stakeholders will create an outline for an online course on integrated management of vertebrate pests and conduct a preliminary assessment of its utility with educators. 


Adopting Integrated Pest Management for Mosquito Suppression at a Newly Operational State Correctional Facility within Wetland Habitats Surrounding the Great Salt Lake

Center Priority Areas: Biological Control of Pests; IPM for Indigenous, Insular and Isolated People; IPM in New Places

Project Director: Dr. Michele Rehbein, Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District

Project State: Utah

Project Summary: This project will focus on the incarcerated population located at the newly built Utah State Correctional Facility, which is surrounded by remote wetland habitats near the Great Salt Lake in Utah. The facility opened in 2022 and concerns regarding mosquitoes quickly became apparent. Mosquitos are a nuisance and health concern to inmates and correctional staff, who lack the proper preventive and protection measures. Through this project, the Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District will target mosquitos and other biting insects by educating inmates and correctional staff in IPM. We will create educational programs for inmates and staff about mosquitoes, mosquito-borne pathogens, IPM and the wetland habitats surrounding the prison. We will initiate a fish-rearing program for the biological control of mosquitoes around the correctional facility using the least chub, Iotichthys phlegethontis, a small, native fish species endemic only to Utah. Vocational skills and supplemental training will be given to inmates through this project to attempt to increase their career opportunities post-release. We will also develop IPM Best Management Practices that can be used nationally at other locations with similar problems.


Controlled Trials with Chicken Tractors to Manage Invasive Terrestrial Plants

Center Priority Areas: IPM Culture and Capacity; IPM for Indigenous, Insular and Isolated People; New Technologies to Manage Pests

Project Director: Casey Greenstein, Homer Soil & Water Conservation District

Project State: Alaska

Project Summary: This project will attempt to determine if chickens can provide effective weed management in an isolated, Arctic environment by measuring the diversity and abundance of non-native plants before and after the application of chickens to weed-infested plots. Previous observations have shown that two summers of free-ranging chickens successfully eliminated a dense stand of invasive orange hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum), while leaving a native meadow community intact. This project will use controlled trials of chickens confined to a smaller space and for shorter duration to see if similar results can be achieved. In Alaska, the cost of feeding and housing goats for nine months so they can be utilized for vegetation management for three summer months is a barrier to widespread adoption. By contrast, chickens can be used in the summer months for vegetation control, then meat birds slaughtered for food and hens moved into coops for the winter to provide eggs. If successful, this “chicken tractor” technique could be used within integrated pest management plans and provide a viable alternative to chemical treatments of difficult-to-control weed species in similar environments. 


2022 Grants

Project Initiation

Use of Whole Genome Sequencing in Disease Diagnostic Laboratories Can Enhance Risk Mitigation

Project Director: Melodie Putnam, Oregon State University Plant Clinic

Center Priority Areas: New Technologies to Manage Pests; Soil-Borne Pest Management

Project Summary: Global movement of plant materials has dramatically increased risks of introducing and spreading plant diseases, which is exacerbated by cryptic species of pathogens that are morphologically identical to known pathogens yet are epidemiologically important. Our long-term goal is building a network of disease diagnostic clinics that use whole genome sequencing to transform the rate, scale and manner in which production-limiting microbes and pests are managed. Our short-term goal is to help key laboratories within the National Plant Diagnostic Network implement use of this technology. This project develops a public archive of genomic data of significant bacterial pathogens while extracting actionable information from the genomes to mitigate disease risk for stakeholders.  Specifically, we will solicit samples of problematic bacterial diseases from growers throughout the Western Region for isolation and whole genome sequencing; develop high-quality bacterial pathogen genomes to be archived in local and public databases; characterize genome sequences and mine for information relevant to tracking of specific genotypes, monitoring novel pathogen lineage development. We will use insights gained to develop better management practices.


Enhancing Biological Control of Puncturevine in the Western United States

Project Director: Kristen Bowers, New Mexico State University

Center Priority Areas: Biological Control of Pests; Invasive Species

Project Summary: This project seeks to enhance the biological control of puncturevine, a Western region-wide invasive weed. Currently, puncturevine biological control is limited by the availability of puncturevine weevils, and improved establishment of puncturevine biological control agents Microlarinus lareynii and Microlarinus lypriformis across a wider geographic region would improve biological control of puncturevine. The three goals of this project are to delineate the current field distribution of the puncturevine weevils, to compare the current cold hardiness limits of the Microlarinus weevil populations, and finally to determine the potential phenotypic plasticity of Microlarinus weevils in the West.  We will use field surveys to establish the current northern limit of Microlarinus weevils. During this regional survey, we will also collect weevils from across the climatic gradient of puncturevine populations. Using these field-collected weevils, we will establish the cold tolerance threshold in laboratory experiments and test overwintering survival in field trials at three different latitudes from Colorado to southern New Mexico.


Optimizing Survey and Identification Methods for Anguina Species in Oregon Grasses Grown for Seed

Project Director: Hannah Rivedal, USDA-ARS

Center Priority Area: Soil-Borne Pest Management

Project Summary: Anguina nematodes are critically important agricultural pests that can lead to significant export rejections for the Oregon grass seed industry. In 2019 and 2020, over 490,000 kilograms of seed were rejected at Asian ports due to the presence of these nematodes. In addition, Anguina nematodes can vector Rathayibacter species that cause animal toxicity when grazed. Survey and testing methods at proper timing throughout the growing season need to be determined to protect growers. This project seeks to better understand the Anguina spp. lifecycle to improve survey and identification methods for the nematode vectors in this disease system. To meet this goal, we will utilize the following objectives: 1) Evaluate survey timing (spring or fall) and collection (soil, seed, tillers) for the most accurate detection of A. funesta and other Anguina spp. associated with annual ryegrass, bentgrass, and orchardgrass grown for seed in Oregon. 2) Develop a video-based nematode identification tutorial to build capacity among other diagnosticians and laboratories and extend training on survey methods to grower stakeholders at meetings and field days. 


Outreach and Implementation

EcoRestore: Creating an Online Portal of State-Specific IPM Information for Arizona and Utah

Project Director: Elise Gornish, University of Arizona

Center Priority Areas: IPM and Ecosystem Services; Invasive Species

Project Summary: This project will expand an existing and widely-used web based tool, EcoRestore, to include invasive species management support for decision makers in both Arizona and Utah. Students at both the University of Arizona and Utah State University will gather information relevant to invasive species management for both states and compile them together on the EcoRestore portal. We will expand EcoRestore into two separate online portals, one targeted to Arizona stakeholders and one to Utah. By providing comprehensive and regionally-specific weed management information, decision makers will be able to easily access the best available science relevant to managing their natural and working lands. The EcoRestore portals will also allow stakeholders to cultivate networks and share information across the Southwest. Invasive species management is a pressing concern across the southwest, the work presented here will provide outreach tools to meet that need in Arizona and Utah, and eventually the larger Southwest region.


Management of the Invasive Aedes aegypti Mosquito in Moab, Utah through an Integrated Pest Management Approach Highlighting Educational Campaigns and Citizen Science Involvement

Project Director: Michele Rehbein, Moab Mosquito Abatement District

Center Priority Area: Invasive Species

Project Summary: The Aedes aegypti mosquito is capable of transmitting Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever viruses. This project will address the introduction of the invasive mosquito in Moab, Utah through educational outreach and citizen-science involvement using integrated pest management efforts spearheaded by the Moab Mosquito Abatement District.

This project will increase public awareness and education on mosquitoes and prevention through surveillance and source reduction of containers and standing water. It will also  include citizen-science involvement to engage, empower and educate the community to better understand mosquitoes and IPM practices. Additionally, this project will create an internship opportunity for a student from a local college campus or involved with the local multicultural center. Grand County High School students will also be involved through collaboration with Science Moab’s School to Science program that will offer a mentorship initiative with the Moab Mosquito Abatement District.


Analysis of Distribution, Expansion and Management of Invasive Knotweed Over Two Decades on an Unregulated River

Project Director: Jill Silver, 10,000 Years Institute

Center Priority Areas: IPM Culture and Capacity; IPM and Ecosystem Services; Invasive Species

Project Summary: This project will analyze a comprehensive 20-year monitoring and treatment dataset for invasive knotweed along the Hoh River in western Washington. Survey and treatment records for knotweed have been collected and systematically maintained since an eradication program was initiated by the Hoh Tribe in 2002, four years after the initial detection of knotweed in the river. Because the timing and point of introduction of knotweed is precisely known, and the dataset encompasses information on treatment as well as georeferenced survey data, it represents a unique opportunity for an environmental analysis and synthesis of best practices for researchers and managers working on invasive knotweed and other invasive riparian plants. Results will be shared through multiple channels to ensure broad reach to researchers, land and natural resource managers, invasive species managers, and private landowners, including publications, at conferences and through a half-day workshop. 


Seed Project for Increasing Tribal Knowledge in Food Safety and IPM

Project Director: Lucy Li, University of Arizona

Center Priority Areas: IPM Culture and Capacity; IPM for Indigenous, Insular and Isolated People; IPM in New Places

Project Summary: This project will connect IPM with food safety, promote IPM in tribal communities, enhance the acceptance of IPM, strengthen networks and develop new scientists. Food safety is effectively integrated pest management as it relates to societal requirements for safe food production, processing and preparation. We will collaborate with stakeholder groups in at least three tribal nations to identify education needs related to food safety including human health and hygiene and water quality, IPM and other public health issues. We will work with tribal environmental health professionals and expert collaborators to implement education to build capacity and improve conditions. We will focus on training and providing materials to tribal educators and agencies who can enhance the credibility and sustainability of our efforts. We will also provide opportunities to mentor tribal students in the University of Arizona SaferFoodCats program. 


Spreading Information not Invasive Species: Transforming a State List into a Dynamic Web-Based Regional Information Hub

Project Director: Troy Abercrombie, Oregon Invasive Species Council

Center Priority Areas: IPM Culture and Capacity; Invasive Species; IPM in Changing Landscapes

Project Summary: Invasive species are a consistent challenge for natural resource managers and landowners. Managers tackle the environmental, economic and cultural challenges of invasive species in different ways and at different scales to address their specific mission priorities. Unfortunately, this can result in fragmented information streams and siloed knowledge bases. This project will strategically build out an online information resource, the Northwest Invasive Species Digital Information Hub, to support both big-picture planning decisions and day-to-day management activities. Collaborators will engage natural resource managers and researchers in Oregon, Washington and area Tribal Nations on topics of climate change, impacts on First Foods, and IPM lessons learned for some 40 species or pathways of interest. Supporting case studies and summary reports will be published online with a ‘how-to’ guide for using and informing future iterations of the digital information hub.


Residual Toxicity of Insecticides to Bees and Correspondence to Information on Pesticide Labels

Project Director:  Andony Melathopoulos, Oregon State University

Center Priority Areas: IPM and Ecosystem Services

Project Summary: Residual toxicity statements on pesticide labels are informed by tests where treated foliage is harvested at specified intervals of weathering to determine whether honey bee contact with this foliage results in mortality. The information is important to determine whether toxic products sprayed at dusk would dissipate by the following morning. Residual toxicity is estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in terms of RT25, or the weathering time needed for honey bee mortality to decline below 25%. Although RT25 values are prominent on pesticide labels, EPA has expressed concerns around the variability of these estimates. This project will analyze the sources of variability in RT25 for over 130 pesticide active ingredients to generate RT25 estimates for these pesticides as well as estimates of variability. The culmination of this work will be to revise the estimates of RT25 listed in the Extension publication “How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides” (PNW-591), as well as slides outlining how to use residual toxicity in pesticide training. The project will provide feedback to EPA and state regulators on labels that inaccurately convey residual toxicity.    


Work Groups

Expanding Continuity and Capacity in Invasive Plant Risk Assessments across Western States

Project Director: Doug Johnson, California Invasive Plant Council

Center Priority Area: Invasive Species

Project Summary: This project involves collaboration among five states and the Yurok tribal nation. Key stakeholder groups are land managers needing advance notice of potential new invasive plants and nurseries needing guidance to avoid introducing risky plants through horticulture. The Plant Risk Evaluator (PRE) tool is an online assessment tool designed by researchers at UC Davis and University of Washington to predict the risk of plants becoming invasive in a given region. This project will expand and strengthen adoption of the PRE tool across Western states by: (1) Working with Washington, Oregon, and Arizona partners to evaluate five more species per state; (2) adding new partners Nevada and the Yurok Tribe of the Klamath River region of California, training them on PRE, and supporting evaluation of five species for each; (3) continuing quarterly collaboration meetings for all partners to share information; and (4) maintaining the PRE web tool and preparing to move it to a newer web content management system.


Klamath Alliance for Regional Invasive Species Management

Project Director: Tanya Chapple, Mid Klamath Watershed Council

Center Priority Areas: IPM and Ecosystem Services; IPM for Indigenous, Insular and Isolated People; Invasive Species

Project Summary: This project will maintain capacity of the Klamath Alliance for Regional Invasive Species Management. The Alliance includes: the Mid Klamath Watershed Council, Salmon River Restoration Council, Six Rivers National Forest, Klamath National Forest, Karuk Tribe, Yurok Tribe, Hoopa Tribe, California Department of Transportation, Siskiyou Resource Conservation District, Quartz Valley Indian Reservation, Scott River Watershed Council, and the Cultural Fire Management Council. The work group addresses invasive species concerns crossing political boundaries of Humboldt and Siskiyou counties, national forests, and the ancestral territories of the Karuk, Yurok, Hoopa, and Shasta Tribes. The Mid Klamath region warrants its own invasive species management area due to considerations unique to the Klamath Mountains such as remote location, rugged terrain, tribal sovereignty and committed community opposition to herbicide use. The work group will continue to build partnerships and work towards our common goal to conserve native plant species and communities through the management of invasive species in the Klamath Region of California.


2021 Grants

Project Initiation

Being Selective in IPM: Novel Research to Reduce Risk and Advance Integration of Chemical and Biological Control

Isadora Bordini, University of Arizona

This proposal will develop new scientific information about the effects of numerous available cotton insecticides on non-target arthropods, including key predators critical to biological control in Arizona and California cotton. In addition, we will compile information on other non-target risks of these insecticides from available toxicological and risk assessment data, including risks to aquatic invertebrates, fish, birds, mammals, pollinators, and humans. After completion of this project, results will be used to update pest management guidelines for cotton in Arizona and California. This information will empower growers to choose insecticides based on safety to natural enemies, avoiding options that are disruptive to biological control and that result in additional sprays and economic losses. Our evidence suggests a high probability of future grower adoption of revised guidelines, and we estimate potential economic gains to cotton growers across both states at around $9 to $16 million per year.


Enhancing Biological Control of Citrus Sooty Mold Complex with Novel Ant Control Technology Using Entomopathogenic Nematode Water-Storing Hydrogels in an IPM Approach

Jia-Wei Tay, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Big-headed ants, Pheidole megacephala, are invasive ants that form a mutualistic relationship with phloem-feeding insect pests, which increases the probability of sooty mold disease affecting a wide range of agricultural crops. Broad-spectrum insecticide or fungicide applications provide poor control and result in negative impacts on human and environmental health. This project proposes a reduced-risk or biological-based integrated pest management approach utilizing entomopathogenic nematodes, natural enemies of many soil insects. We propose using a biodegradable alginate hydrogel to deliver high-moisture liquid sucrose bait by lacing it with entomopathogenic nematodes or boric acid as an “attract and kill” system to manage ant populations and reduce sooty mold.


Powdery Mildew Risk Associated with Hemp Production in the Pacific Northwest

Cynthia Ocamb, Oregon State University

This project will collect critical baseline data to understand the risk of powdery mildew occurrence on hemp and the IPM implications for both hemp and hop. Both hop and hemp can develop powdery mildew but the two fungi responsible have been thought to be uniquely pathogenic on their respective hosts: Golovinomyces spp.  in hemp and Podosphaera macularis in hop. However, in 2019 and 2020 we found natural infection of hemp by P. macularis in western Oregon. Given the expansion of hemp production in the Pacific Northwest, also the center of U.S. hop production, the occurrence of the hop powdery mildew fungus on hemp has profound management implications for both crops. This project will:

  • Quantify when, where, and to what extent powdery mildew occurs on hemp;
  • Characterize the virulence and putative origin of the hop powdery mildew fungus on hemp to inform disease risk assessment and quarantine policies;
  • Evaluate hemp lines for susceptibility to powdery mildew; and
  • Broadly communicate results to stakeholders


Developing Augmentative Biocontrol Programs for Northwest Tree Fruit

Rebecca Schmidt-Jeffris, USDA-ARS Wapato, Washington

Apple and pear growers in the Pacific Northwest are experimenting with releasing natural enemies purchased from commercial insectaries. These releases typically target aphids, mealybugs, and pear psylla. Organic control options for these pests is limited and conventional orchardists struggle with pesticide resistance and obtaining adequate chemical coverage. Unfortunately, release recommendations are typically based on greenhouse use, in crops with small canopies, or in environments with higher humidity and lower temperatures than the unique arid tree fruit growing region of the PNW. Therefore, there is a need for scientifically based recommendations on best natural enemy choices, release rates, timings, and methods of delivery that are appropriate for these crop systems. This will need to be the work of a large-scale, multiyear project. The goal of the proposed project is to gather preliminary data with the long-term goal of increasing adoption and success of natural enemy releases for pest management in tree fruit.


Exploration of Native Entomopathogenic Nematodes Associated with Sod Webworm in Oregon Grass Seed Production 

Navneet Kaur, Oregon State University

Oregon is the leading grass-seed-producing state in the nation, with over 400,000 acres in production annually. Grass seed growers have identified the sod webworm, also known as cranberry girdler, as the most problematic insect pest issue. This pest has a relatively wide host range, is persistent and inflicts damage across multiple grass seed species.  A limited number of insecticides are currently available, so alternative methods, including biological control agents such as entomopathogenic nematodes are needed. The objectives of this project are to conduct area-wide surveys in the commercial grass seed production systems to determine the occurrence and distribution of entomopathogenic nematode species in western Oregon, identify the isolated entomopathogenic nematodes using molecular techniques and maintain lab cultures for infectivity tests, and conduct infectivity trials using species identified during the survey and comparing their efficacy to the commercially available entomopathogenic nematode-based products against sod webworm under laboratory conditions.


Developing Effective Control Strategies for Rat-Tail Fescue in Pacific Northwest Prairies

Sarah Hamman, Ecostudies Institute, Olympia Washington

Rat-tail fescue (Vulpia myuros) is a non-native, cool-season annual grass that poses an increasing threat to native grasslands along the Pacific Coast. Similar to other early season annual grasses, V. myuros thrives on disturbance (including fire) and can displace native species through direct competition, allelopathic compounds and by forming a dense thatch layer which impedes the establishment of native plants. Grass-specific herbicides have not been effective in controlling V. myuros but preliminary trials suggest that vinegar may be a viable alternative, particularly in post-burn areas where thatch is limited. Pre-emergent herbicides have also demonstrated efficacy in controlling V. myuros and may be used in combination with post-emergent agents. We will collate existing data from a suite of small-scale, site-specific trials conducted over the last five years in western Washington and Oregon to develop best management practice guidelines for treating V. myuros. We will also complete an herbicide application experiment testing both pre- and post-emergent herbicides on V. myuros infestations across four sites.


Work Groups

American Pacific Islands Collaboration Team/Work Group Meeting and Pesticide Safety Train-the-Trainer Workshop

Zhiqiang Cheng, University of Hawaii

This project will continue the efforts of the American Pacific Islands Collaboration Team/Work Group to fulfill priorities identified in a needs assessment previously funded by the Western IPM Center. Specifically, we will hold a face-to-face train-the-trainer workshop to address priority areas previously identified; support face-to-face, virtual meetings and online communication; and collaborate in efforts to develop educational materials and needs for future trainings.


Developing an IPM Multi-Stakeholder Group for California Rice

Whitney Brim-DeForest, University of California

California rice systems have more herbicide-resistant weed species than any other crop or region in the United States. Although crop rotations are one of the most effective IPM tools for managing resistance, rotations are rarely practiced in California rice. One of the biggest impediments to adoption is the unknown economic impacts (both positive and negative) of changing to a new crop or cropping system. Many rice growers lack the information and tools necessary to make this decision. This project will develop a stakeholder work group focused on understanding the feasibility and impact of crop rotation as an IPM tool in rice, with a focus on economics, and to plan for long-term research projects that address the specifics of weed management and weed population dynamics.


Building Continuity Across State Invasive Plant Lists: Predicting Invasion Risk of Horticultural Plants

Doug Johnson, California Invasive Plant Council

Prevention is a key IPM approach for stopping the spread of invasive plants. Because many plants have an extensive lag phase before becoming invasive, prevention can be strengthened by predicting which plants may become invasive in the future in a given region. The Plant Risk Evaluator is an online assessment tool designed to predict the risk of plants becoming invasive. A primary focus of the tool has been on ornamental plants since horticulture has been a top pathway for introduction of non-native plants that later become invasive. This project will form a multi-state work group to expand the use of the Plant Risk Evaluator tool to guide listing of invasive plants and help prevent them from being introduced through horticulture and possibly expand the use of the tool to rate and “green light” ornamentals that do not pose a high risk of becoming invasive.


Outreach and Implementation

IPM for Western Managed Pollinator Protection Plans

Andony Melathopoulos, Oregon State University

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandates that states develop Managed Pollinator Protection Plans (MP3s) in order to improve pollinator health. In response, a number of states have come together under a national MP3 Working Group, including Western states included in this proposal, to develop common educational material to increase adoption of MP3s and develop uniform assessment tools. By working together we have identified two priorities for the Western Region: 1) education targeting right-of-way vegetation management and 2) better integration of MP3 practices with IPM. This project will develop a training module for licensed pesticide applicators on how to manage rights-of-way to encourage pollinator habitat and a series of four case studies in Oregon and New Mexico to help land managers better conceptualize how IPM and MP3s could be integrated in practice.  


South American Palm Weevil Outreach and Extension

Sonia Rios, University of California

The South American palm weevil, Rhynchophorus palmarum, has the potential to cause significant damage to native and non-native palms in California. Not only are urban, beach and desert landscapes throughout California changing as a result of this pest, the estimated $70 million ornamental palm growing areas may be under additional regulatory scrutiny as it spreads. In addition, the insect has the potential to impact the commercial date industry in counties adjacent to heavily infested San Diego, as the weevil is known to attack the agriculturally important date palm that produces Deglet Noor and Medjool dates. This project will provide training to mitigate the South American palm weevil’s deleterious impacts to three target audiences: native habitat managers from public and private lands, urban ornamental tree growing and management sectors, including homeowners, and date producers. 


2020 Grants

Project Initiation

Varroa Mite Tolerance in Hawaii's Honeybees: Field and Laboratory Testing of a Dynamic System

Ethel Villalobos, University of Hawaii, $28,819

The Varroa mite is a deadly pest of honeybees and linked to a viral disease known as deformed wing virus. The development of resistant bees through selective breeding has been ongoing in the United States and Europe for decades. Natural behaviors, called hygienic behaviors, which are based on the inspection and removal of dead capped brood, are being used to reduce the mite load of bee colonies. This study will investigate the presence of mite-resistant populations in Hawaii and examine whether recapping behavior is a reliable proxy for mite resistance and if it is linked to reduced mite reproduction.


Identification of Environmental and Agronomic Factors Influencing Potato Powdery Scab Disease in the San Luis Valley, Colorado

Ana Cristina Fulladolsa, Colorado State University, $23,000

Spongospora subterranea (Ss) is a soil-borne pathogen that causes powdery scab in potato and can transmit the Potato mop-top virus (PMTV). Farmers try to predict powdery scab disease risk based on soil tests for Ss sporosori inoculum, but the disease is also influenced by production practices and environmental factors.

The objectives of this research are to identify environmental and management inputs that correlate with Ss soil inoculum level changes and the development of powdery scab and PMTV in field-grown potatoes; and to construct a mathematical model using those factors to aid agronomists and potato farmers in the San Luis Valley in making management decisions.


Habitat Management in Alfalfa Irrigation Ditches: Evaluating the Potential for Conservation Biological Control of Aphid Pests

Elizabeth Pringle, University of Nevada, $29,996

Aphids cause serious yield losses in Western alfalfa. The broad-spectrum insecticides typically used for aphid control can harm beneficial insects and lead to insecticide resistance. This project will investigate habitat management as a means to augment biological control by aphid predators in irrigated desert alfalfa. Weedy plants that occur naturally in irrigation ditches may act as sources of indigenous predators, and this project will investigate whether engineering this habitat would be effective as a management strategy to control alfalfa aphid pests.


Developing a New Method for Controlling Weeds Using Electricity: An Environmentally Friendly, Non-Herbicidal, Tree and Weed Killing Technique

Erik Lehnhoff, New Mexico State University, $29,999

Urban weed management in the United States costs billions of dollars and uses millions of pounds of herbicide annually, yet weeds remain abundant and problematic. Many cities, seeking to alleviate concerns about the health impacts of herbicides, have banned the use of some herbicides, which further exacerbates management difficulties.

This project will test, refine and showcase a new technology the project team previously developed to manage weeds safely and effectively using electricity, in suburban and urban environments. The project team previously demonstrated the system’s effectiveness, but refinements and advancements are needed to make it applicable for more situations and weed species, and to increase user friendliness.


Work Groups

Western IPM Kochia Work Group

Todd Gaines, Colorado State University, $29,993

This renewal of the 2019 Western IPM Kochia Work Group will focus on implementing and coordinating research and educational objectives for the widespread weed Kochia scoparia.

This effort will address three priorities identified during the 2019 work group meeting. The first is to establish long-term soil seedbank studies at multiple locations. The second is to develop standardized herbicide resistance testing and reporting protocols for kochia, including production and distribution of standard reference seed lines. The third is to continue the research and education coordination network to share results and develop new funding proposals to address additional work group priorities.


Mid Klamath Invasive Species Management Collaboration

Tanya Chapple, Mid Klamath Watershed Council, CA, $30,000

This project seeks to strengthen and build capacity of a long-established work group that includes the Karuk, Yurok and Hoopa tribes, the Quartz Valley Indian Reservation, two national forests and multiple resource conservation districts and watershed councils (among others.)

The work group will address invasive species concerns across political boundaries of Humboldt and Siskiyou counties, national forests, and the ancestral territories of the Karuk, Yurok and Hoopa tribes. The Mid Klamath region warrants its own invasive species management area due to considerations unique to the Klamath Mountains, such as their remote location, rugged terrain, tribal sovereignty, and committed community opposition to herbicide use.


Western Hemp IPM Work Group

Amanda Skidmore, New Mexico State University, $29,690

While production of industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) is rapidly expanding, development of IPM plans for the industry is a challenge because of a lack of science-based research available due to the crop being banned from production for more than 60 years. Also, because industrial hemp can be grown for fiber, food and forage, or medical uses, producers are essentially looking at three separate cropping systems. Although pests are similar across those systems, IPM practices need to be adapted for each based on product end-use.

This work group will address regional management challenges and stakeholder education. It will hold a workshop and produce educational materials for industrial hemp production (management guides, extension videos and a website) for the Western United States.


Outreach and Implementation

Demonstration and Outreach for Control of Stable Flies and Cattle Bunching on California Dairies

Sharif Aly, University of California, $23,000

Each spring, California dairy cows suffer stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans) season. Stable flies are one of most serious pests of dairy cattle in the United States. High stable fly numbers will reduce weight gain, feed efficiency and milk production of dairy cows. The project team recently completed research on the epidemiology, risk factors and management of stable flies. Now it is important to extend this information to the dairy industry.

This effort will provide dairy producers, herd managers, dairy nutritionist and veterinarians in California outreach knowledge about stable fly biology and behavior, risk factors for cattle bunching and IPM-focused methods for fly control on dairies.


Planning Documents

Development of an Integrated Pest Management Strategic Plan for Dairy Cattle in California

Alec Gerry, University of California, $14,986

To capture the current state of pest management in the California dairy industry, this project will produce a Pest Management Strategic Plan following the general guidance outlined by Oregon State University Extension for an IPM Strategic Planning Process. The resulting document will describe the modern dairy industry in California as well as the major pests, challenges to pest management, and critical needs for future research and regulatory action to support the dairy industry. Major pests and strategies to manage these pests will be identified by producers, veterinarians, and extension personnel and ranked by their economic importance.


IPM Strategic Planning for Organic and Conventional Brassicaceae Vegetable Crops in Oregon and Washington

Katie Murray, Oregon State University, $14,999

The Pacific Northwest is a premier production area for both conventional and organically grown vegetable Brassicaceae crops, including broccoli, Brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, greens, horseradish, radish and turnip. Many pests of these crops have lengthy and overlapping population peaks which makes spray programs alone unsuccessful; instead, integrated approaches with cultural management and biocontrol are needed.

This project will develop an IPM Strategic Plan for brassica vegetable crops that documents the current practices and priorities of both organic and conventional farmers. The process will enable the industry to discuss and identify current and emerging pest management concerns and needs.



2019 grants

Project Initiation

Aerobiology and IPM of Bacterial Blight in Carrot Seed Crops

Jeremiah Dung, Oregon State University

Starting the season with pest-free seed is a cornerstone of IPM in annual crop production systems. Central Oregon produces approximately 60% of the hybrid carrot seed used for carrot production in the United States and 40% of the hybrid carrot seed planted globally. The pathogen Xanthomonas hortorum pv. carotae commonly infects carrot seed and is a major concern to carrot growers in several states.

This project will develop a forecasting model for bacterial blight affecting hybrid carrot seed production in Oregon. The project team will study how airborne bacterial blight propogules vary through the season and correlate dispersal events to weather patterns. The weather-based forecasting model can then predict periods of high disease risk and improve management through better timing of bactericide applications and modified cultural practices. 

Integrated Pest Management Strategies for Phragmites-Invaded Wetlands in the Western United States

Karin Kettenring, Utah State University

One of the biggest threats to wetlands in the Western U.S. is the invasive grass Phragmites australis. This plant – which is a noxious weed in many Western states and is on the Western Governors’ Association invasive species list – is extremely tall, dense, and aggressive and has taken over vast areas of wetlands. While herbicides are effective at killing Phragmites, native plants slowly or never return following Phragmites control.

The broad goal of this research is to restore native plant-dominated wetlands in the Western United States following invasive Phragmites control. Our objectives are to determine the most effective seeding techniques to maximize seedling survival, develop a systems model that predicts seedling survival across a range of abiotic conditions, and disseminate the research findings broadly throughout the West. 

Sex in the Orchard: Determining Mating Success of Sterile Codling Moth with Molecular Markers

William Cooper, USDA-Agricultural Research Service Washington State

Despite decades of research progress in pheromone mating disruption, the codling moth is still the highest research priority of Washington pome fruit growers and there is interest in supplementing mating disruption programs with the release of sterile codling moths.

This project will develop a molecular technique to determine mating success of wild females with wild vs. sterile males using molecular characterization of the spermatophore to help understand the compatibility of these two techniques before large-scale implementation of sterile insect release.


Work Groups

Agroecosystem Impacts and Integrated Management of Kochia in North America

Todd Gaines, Colorado State University

Kochia, commonly called tumbleweed, has colonized virtually all arid and semi-arid ecosystems in North America. In fall- or spring-sown annual crops, uncontrolled kochia can cause 50 to 75% yield reductions. This working group creates and industry, government and university collaboration to build IPM programs for kochia control that include all management tools and herbicide stewardship.

The group will produce a coordinated plan for the management of kochia, including research and extension efforts. It will also collect baseline data on current costs and impacts of kochia and continue to build collaborations and facilitate the communication of research findings.

Pacific Islands Pesticide Safety Education Work Group

Zhiqiang Cheng, University of Hawaii

Pesticide applicator training supports traditional agriculture and the needs of regulatory agencies. Recent changes to Worker Protection Standard and federal pesticide applicator certification and training rules, as well as changes to pesticide product use patterns, increased educational requirements, concerns regarding pollinators and pesticide misuse issues have created significant educational needs in Hawaii and the American-affiliated Pacific islands including Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and the Federated States of Micronesia.

This work group will identify the needs and priorities for educational materials for applicators in Hawaii and the American-affiliated Pacific Islands. The working group will outline EPA’s Pacific Island pesticide training objectives, the availability of on-line training and the future sustainability of pesticide safety training programs in Hawaii and the American-affiliated Pacific Islands.

Rodent Management Work Group

Niamh Quinn, University of California

Rodents are among the most economically significant pests in the world, causing billions of dollars’ worth of damage to agricultural crops and structures, as well as being vectors of disease that can cause death in humans. Best management practices for rodents are long overdue. Integrated pest management was created primarily for the management of invertebrates, and practices inherent to traditional IPM  have to be adapted and altered to be effective for vertebrate pest management.

This work group will collaborate on modifying current rodent control practices for agricultural and urban sites with the goals of improving the effectiveness of rodent management and reducing rodenticide exposure to non-target species. Subgroups will focus on rodent management in agriculture, in urban areas, rodenticide exposure in wildlife, regulatory affairs and education of professional pest managers. 

Critical Research and Extension Needs for Alfalfa Weevil and Forage Insect Pests in the Western Region

Kevin W Wanner, Montana State University

Alfalfa and alfalfa mixes account for more than half of all forage crop production in the United States. Alfalfa weevil management has remained static for several decades, but now producers and agriculturalists have observed increasing damage and poor control in the West. There is widespread agreement among extension specialists that this pest has increased in importance and research-based management recommendations need to be updated. 

The objective of this work group is to provide a framework for collaborative research and extension to maximize science-based management recommendations relevant to production systems and local climate conditions across the Western Region.


Outreach and Implementation

Training on Developing an Invasive Plant Management Plan

Jutta Burger, California Invasive Plant Council

The California Invasive Plant Council and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recently produced a “Guide to Developing an Invasive Plant Management Plan” to support organizations trying to strengthen their land stewardship activities and develop IPM programs.

This outreach project will develop and deliver hands-on training based on the guide. The training will occur at the 2019 California Invasive Plant Council Symposium in October in Riverside, California, with the expectation of reaching 40 land managers from diverse organizations. Participants will receive all supporting training material and will be surveyed before and after the training to measure their gain in knowledge and understanding of the key elements to invasive plant management planning.


Planning Documents

Pest Management Strategic Plan for Processing Tomato in California

Amber Vinchesi, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources

Processing tomatoes are a high-value vegetable crop used to make tomato paste, diced tomatoes and whole-peel tomatoes. California contributes 35% of the global production and over 95% of the national processing tomato production.

This project with develop an initial Pest Management Strategic Plan for processing tomatoes to document baseline information on current pest management practices and identify processing tomato pest management research, regulatory and extension needs and priorities.

Pest Management Strategic Plan for Rice in California

Tunyalee Martin, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources

California is ranked as a top rice producing state with over half a million acres in production with a value around $650 million. It differs from other U.S. rice-producing states due to climate, regulations and proximity to urban areas.

This pest management strategic plan, a first for  California rice production, will identify rice pest management research, regulatory, and extension needs and priorities, record information on current pest management practices. It will serve as a baseline in the future to document changes in practices over time, as a catalyst for change, and as a way to evaluate extension products and tools.


2018 Projects

Outreach and Implementation

The Identification and Control of Invasive Plants in Arizona

Elise Gornish and  Larry Howery, University of Arizona

As a result of the invasion and subsequent negative impacts of non-native plant species across Arizona, many groups have developed noxious plant lists, including state agencies and non-profit organizations. Despite the abundance of these invasive species lists, missing from all of these resources is an equivalent or associated resource guide for managing high-priority weeds based on the results of field trials and published as agency reports or peer-reviewed studies. A comprehensive management guide that enumerates promising IPM strategies to control high-priority weeds is needed to address the demand of Arizona’s diverse stakeholder group. We propose to update an existing guide of invasive plants in Arizona, which has not been significantly updated since 2009. Like all outreach products listing invasive plant names and characteristics in Arizona, the existing guide does not currently provide IPM information for any species.

To update the guide, we plan to (1) ensure that the current listing is up-to-date and includes emerging invasives, (2) identify and organize all of the peer-reviewed and grey literature that describes weed-control experiments on the species highlighted in our guide and, (3) summarize this data in the guide to provide management recommendations. Although targeted for individuals who live and work in Arizona, the guide will also be useful for Western stakeholders in general because many of the plant species that prove to be particularly invasive in Arizona ecosystems are problematic elsewhere. We will deliver guide to agency offices and make it available on multiple websites online. 

Low-Cost IPM for Medusahead and a Cost-Benefit Framework to Support Adoption

Jeremy James and Josh Davey, University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources;  Matt Rinella, USDA-ARS Montana

Rangelands represent the largest agroecosystem in the West, serving a critical role in the U.S. livestock industry and providing society a suite of essential ecosystem services. Medusahead, one of most serious rangeland plant pests, has progressively spread across a six state area, drastically reducing forage production and biodiversity while greatly increasing the frequency of catastrophic fires. Over the last five years our project team has focused on developing a novel low-cost IPM strategy for medusahead and quantifying economic relationships between pest abundance and livestock production. The goal of this proposal is to build off of these advances and develop an outreach program that catalyzes adoption of IPM programs for medusahead.

To address this goal we will partner with a team of potential early-adopters and (1) establish management-scale demonstrations of our low-cost tools involving timed grazing and a novel application of a growth regulating herbicide to sterilize medusahead seed (2) develop an online calculator that allows producers to enter ranch-specific information to estimate medusahead impacts on revenues and identify when adoption of our low-cost IPM tools will allow ranchers to break even or increase profits and (3) have our early-adopter team evaluate our demonstration results and cost-benefit framework supported by the online calculator to identify regional opportunities to initiate adoption. High treatment costs and uncertainty around treatment benefits has prevented IPM from being adopted on rangeland at any measurable scale. This project overcomes these barriers providing a major opportunity to recover essential ecological an economic function of rangeland across the West. 


Project Initiation

Enhancing IPM by Integration of Chemical and Biological Controls through Assessment of Selectivity of Chemistries and Function of Biocontrol

Isadora Bordini, Peter Ellsworth and Al Fournier, University of Arizona;  Steven Naranjo, USDA-ARS Arizona

In this project initiation project, we will develop better information about effects of currently registered and experimental whitefly, Bemisia tabaci, and Lygus bug insecticides on natural enemies, and investigate the effect of plot size in this type of study. We will conduct a non-target organism trial at Maricopa Agricultural Center, and we will examine selectivity of candidate insecticides (obj. 1) and effects of plot size on population dynamics and predation rates of whitefly natural enemies in cotton (obj. 2). We will conduct outreach to growers, pest managers and the scientific community. We will sample pests and natural enemies using established methods, and examine predation rates.

Data from this project will inform grower insecticide selection to minimize disruption of natural enemies, preserve biocontrol, and maintain chemical options for resistance management. Also, the information provided on plot size will help in determining the validity of conclusions from field trials of this type, and may improve interpretation of ecological data for mobile insects by IPM scientists. This project addresses stakeholder needs identified by the scientific community and growers, addressing Western IPM PMSP priorities of maintaining a variety of chemical controls, including selective insecticides, to preserve effective biological control and for resistance management for key pests. We will directly engage tribal pest managers from Gila River Indian Community and Ak Chin Indian Community. This project will advance IPM by directly promoting integration of chemical and biological control as well as the conservation of natural enemies, which are priorities expressed by the scientific and practitioner community. 

Testing Community Functional Composition of Vegetation Buffers to Improve Post-Fire Invasion Resistance of Coastal Sage Scrub

Loralee Larios, Travis Bean and  Noah Teller, University of California, Riverside; Elise Gornish, University of Arizona

Disturbances to ecosystems often provide opportunities for invasive species to establish and spread. The Canyon fires of 2017 burned over 11,800 acres in Chino Hills State Park, including threatened Coastal Sage Scrub (CSS) habitat that is home to numerous endemic species. Mediterranean annual grasses are present and spreading in patches nearby, and due to their prolific forage production their presence on the landscape threatens to further accelerate and intensify wildfires in the future and competitively exclude native vegetation. Reestablishing native vegetation may provide invasion resistance and prevent type conversion of CSS to annual grassland.

We propose to study how functional composition of species mixes used for seeding in bulldozer lines may constrain invasion, allowing interior portions of CSS habitat to regenerate sufficiently to reestablish natural invasion resistance. A greenhouse experiment will characterize traits of 20 native and five invasive species across multiple individuals and life stages. Traits include specific leaf area, specific root area, relative growth rate, seed mass, and phenology. We will create two distinct seed mixes, one with low functional diversity and traits as similar as possible to invaders, and the other with maximum functional diversity. We will measure relative abundance of plant species in bulldozer lines and colonizing nearby. We hypothesize that the low-dispersion community will more effectively suppress invasive species in the first year due to similar resource needs and reproductive strategies, but that the high-dispersion community will be more effective in the second year due to increased two-year survival of native species. 

Utilizing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Technology to Assess Pest and Disease Pressure in Berry Crops

Jason Myer, Northwest Berry Foundation;  David Bryla, USDA-ARS Oregon

Commercial UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) technology has opened many opportunities for growers. Employing high-resolution and multispectral cameras, it is now possible to see fields in unprecedented detail. This project aims to utilize UAV-derived field imagery to assess pests and diseases in berry crops. Working with Northwest berry growers, fields with a known presence of pests likely to be visible in aerial imagery will be mapped. These pests include blueberry shock virus (BlShV), Silver Leaf (Chondrostereum purpureum), Phytophthora and Armillaria (Armillaria mellea) in blueberries; in red raspberries- Phytophthora root rots, yellow rust (Phragmidium rubi-idaei), raspberry bushy dwarf virus (RBDV) and spider mites; in black raspberries-- Verticillium (Verticillium dahlia) and black raspberry necrosis virus (BRNV); in strawberries-- spider mites, strawberry crown moth, and root weevils; in blackberries--raspberry bushy dwarf virus (RBDV) and blackberry rust (Phragmidium violaceum). Flights will be timed when symptoms are most evident. Imagery will be taken in RGB, red-edge, near-infrared, and infrared spectrums. Ground observation data will be overlaid onto aerial imagery to determine what pests and diseases can be identified and quantified from the imagery. The results will be disseminated through industry newsletters, grower workshops, and field demonstrations. Results will also be used to develop future projects aimed at further refining and implementing UAV technologies into standard IPM programs for berry crops. 

An Integrated Weed Management Approach for Controlling Kochia in Wheat Using Physical and Cultural Tactics

Steve Young, Earl Creech and Corey Ransom, Utah State University

Weeds affect production systems by reducing yields, impeding harvest operations, and increasing the soil weed seed bank. In conventional systems, herbicides are most commonly used to control weeds, yet efficacy is declining for some of the most challenging weeds, such as kochia. Therefore, finding alternative ways to enhance the competitive ability of crops is critical in limiting the growth of kochia and its detrimental effects on production systems.

In this one-year preliminary study, field experiments will be conducted using 1) cover crops and mulches to suppress kochia, 2) planting dates to avoid kochia emergence and 3) seeding rates to provide wheat with a competitive advantage. Grower farms and university land with moderate-to-heavy infestations of kochia will be used as sites. Non-destructive measurements (e.g., efficacy) will be taken during active crop growth and destructive samples (e.g., biomass) will be taken at the end of the season. Through this study, a combination of physical tactics that are matched with a set of cultural tactics will be identified specifically for controlling kochia in the wheat-growing regions of Utah and southern Idaho. As an outcome, growers will be surveyed at a late summer field day to determine the value of the approach and to develop follow-up studies. The goals of the project align well with the missions of the Western IPM Center, which is to foster the development and adoption of integrated pest management, the center’s “Invasive Species in the West" Signature Program, and the WERA-77 "Managing Invasive Weeds in Wheat” Working Group. 

Novel Control of the Potato Zebra Chip Pathogen and its Psyllid Vector Using FANA Antisense Oligonucleotide Gene Silencing

William Cooper and Kylie Swisher, USDA-ARS Washington;  Wayne Hunter, USDA-ARS Florida

Zebra chip disease causes yield losses to potato production in the Western United States. The pathogen that causes zebra chip, "Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum", is transmitted to potato by the potato psyllid. There are no methods to directly control zebra chip, so growers rely on calendar-day based insecticide applications to reduce populations of the vector. The overall goal of our proposal is to demonstrate that FANA-based gene silencing therapy can provide a novel approach for managing the zebra chip pathogen and its psyllid vector. FANA gene silencing does not involve genetically modified organisms like other gene-silencing therapies, and is highly specific to target organisms.

Specific objectives are to use laboratory and greenhouse assays to determine if FANA products can 1) reduce pathogen titers and development of zebra chip symptoms in potato, 2) reduce pathogen titers in psyllids, and 3) decrease vector performance. Results will provide proof-of-concept for the use of FANA technology to control insect pests and pathogens of crops. Completion of this one-year project initiation study will lead to future trials examining the efficacy of treatments under field-management conditions, and to the development of this technology against related pathogens and psyllids occurring on other crops or other pests and pathogens of potato. Further development of FANA technology  beyond this 1-year project could lead to development of novel tools to manage plant pests and pathogens, and substantially reduce or eliminate the use of calendar-based pesticide applications used to manage challenging pests and pathogens such as potato psyllid and zebra chip. 

Informed Risks and Information-Driven Decision Making for Spider Mites

Ann George, Washington Hop Commission;  Doug Walsh and Jennifer Sherman, Washington State University; David Gent, USDA-ARS Oregon

The twospotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae Koch, is pest of numerous plants worldwide. Hop is a preferred host of spider mites, and spider mites are an annual problem in most commercial growing regions worldwide. Management of this pest is increasingly difficult due to widespread resistance to multiple miticides. A central component of a successful IPM system is the ability to make crop management decisions with relative certainty that the management actions will avoid crop damage and minimize economic risk. However, action thresholds for spider mites supported by empirical data do not exist.

Drawing from extensive historical data sets, we proposed to: 1. Identify risk factors for spider mite damage to hop cones and formalize risk factors into a decision aid to estimate the likelihood of crop damage. 2. Develop and deliver a stakeholder-driven outreach program that explains, integrates, and demonstrates new concepts for spider mite management to producers and their advisers. The association of key predator species and cost of management errors will be considered explicitly in a decision theoretic framework to make this information fully transparent to users and considered in setting treatment thresholds. This initiating project aligns perfectly with stakeholder priorities articulated in the 2015 Pest Management Strategic Plan for U.S. Hops, priority areas for the Western IPM Center, and the National Road Map for IPM. Successful completion of this project will provide the foundation for future work to finally develop and implement a decision aid for this important pest.