Here are summaries of some of the IPM research, innovations and projects going on in Washington, or benefitting Washington agriculture, communities and natural areas. Projects listed here are not necessarily funded by the Western IPM Center.


Growers Helping Growers Avoid a Devastating Cranberry Disease

It sounds like an ad for a 1950s drive-in horror movie: Zombie plants emerge from New Jersey bogs! Can experts stop their catastrophic cross-county crawl before it’s too late?  But this is not “The Day of the Triffids” meets “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” Instead, it’s the latest Western Integrated Pest Management Center-funded research, a bi-coastal project looking to keep West Coast cranberry farms safe from false blossom disease, an insect-spread pathogen that’s plaguing East Coast cranberry producers.

Work Group Aims to Make New Endangered Species Rules Workable

“If it’s so complex that it’s impossible, then no one wins.”

That was the key takeaway from a recent two-day workshop in Vancouver, Washington about implementing new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pesticide-use rules to protect endangered and threatened species.

Chasing Knotweed on One River: 20 Years of Lessons Learned

Forks, Washington’s sits nestled in North America’s only temperate rainforest. Nearby rivers, fed by melting glaciers high in the Olympic mountains, are home to five species of wild salmon and hundreds of other species of native wildlife. But, like too many other landscapes in too many other places, Forks is threatened by non-native, invasive plants that can fundamentally alter the ecosystem at the expense of the region’s native plants and animals.

Using Giant Hornets' Chemical Communications Against Them

When the Northern Giant Hornet was discovered in Washington state, state and federal officials mobilized quickly to try to eradicate it. Due to the efforts of that team, which included Dr. Jacqueline Serrano, an expert in detecting, decoding and synthesizing insect chemical signals, no nests or hornets have been found in the state since 2021.

Guam hasn't been so fortunate. Invaded in 2016 by a different giant hornet, the Great Banded Hornet, the island is in danger of having the invasive, predatory insect become firmly established, which could damage Guam's apiculture and agricultural industries. So it will be harder to eradicate – but with Western IPM Center funding, Serrano and Christopher Rosaria from the Guam Department of Agriculture’s Biosecurity Division are going to try.

Developing Augmented Biocontrol Recommendations for Tree Fruit Growers

When growers use a pesticide to control insects, they have a lot of information at their fingertips. The product’s label tells them what crops and pests the product can be used for, as well as the rate to apply and any temperature limits to be aware of. Biological control insects, like lacewings, don’t come with such labels.

Research Tests if Warm-Weather Weevils Can Boost Biocontrol of Puncturevine

Call it puncturevine, goatheads, devil’s thorn or whatever creative collection of expletives you mutter after sitting, kneeling or stepping barefoot onto it, Tribulus terrestris is one unpleasant plant. But with funding from the Western Integrated Pest Management Center, a researcher in New Mexico is measuring the cold-hardiness of weevils from different climactic zones to see if biocontrol efforts in cool northern climes could be boosted by importing warm-weather weevils from southern deserts.

Group Educates Health Care Providers about Pesticide-Related Illnesses

Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative-Medical produces educational materials and resources on pesticides,  specifically targeting health care providers so they can recognize, treat and report pesticide-related illnesses.

IPM Experience is Helping Schools Plan for Reopening Amid COVID Concerns

As students return to classrooms in the fall of 2020, coronavirus is very much on people’s minds. In the West, having an IPM program in place seems to be helping schools plan for reopening.

Educating an Urban Public and Land Managers about Invasive Weeds

Having a clear, consistent message and speaking with one voice is helpful when it comes to educating the public about invasive species. Here's how the area around Portland, Oregon did it.

IPM Training Program Targets Young Ag Professionals in the Pacific Northwest

Identification of pests and beneficials is one of the first principles of integrated pest management, and the core of a train-the-trainers program that’s been successfully improving the skills of young ag professionals in rural Oregon, Washington and Idaho since 2009.

Croptime Project Expands Pest-Modeling Website to Include Vegetable-Development Models

Pest managers are familiar with the concept of using degree days to predict pest outbreaks. Plants – at least in part – also develop based on temperature, so a team in Oregon is adapting a degree-day modeling system built for pest management to make a tool for vegetable growers to better plan their planting and harvesting dates.

Dropping the Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine Could Impact the West

The U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has proposed lifting the domestic quarantine designed to slow the spread of emerald ash borer, an action that could speed the destructive insect’s introduction into Western states that have so far kept it at bay.

VIDEO: Wireworms in Western Washington

Wireworms are wrecking havoc in some western Washington farms. This video looks at a trap-cropping experiment designed to lure them away from valuable vegetables. 

Wireworms in Western Washington

For more than two decades, Christine Langley has successfully run Lopez Harvest organic farm on Lopez Island in Washington state’s famed San Juan Islands. But for most of that, she wasn’t fighting wireworms. Now they're her top pest problem.

Can Caging Orchards Protect Apples?

When brown marmorated stink bug hit the Mid-Atlantic region, it wreaked havoc with the tree fruit industry and disrupted effective IPM programs. Elizabeth Beers and her colleagues at Washington State University are working to make sure that doesn’t happen again in Washington’s valuable apple and pear orchards.

Using IPM Techniques to Battle Bed Bugs in Public Housing

Public housing presents unique pest-management challenges, including rapid turnover of residents, language and cultural barriers and even second-hand clothing and furniture. And those pest problems – especially when bedbugs are involved – can lead residents to resort to some pretty drastic and harmful pest control strategies.

Feral Swine Wreak Havoc

As pests go, wild pigs are huge – and hugely effective.

Pest or Beneficial: Earwigs in Apples

For growers, a fundamental element of integrated pest management is knowing what pest and beneficial species are in your fields. But what if there’s an insect and no one knows if it’s good or bad? That was the question for apple growers about earwigs.

What's Plaguing that Peony?

Proper identification of a disease is the critical first step for growers to apply the correct treatment. In peonies, proper disease identification was a problem. If a plant was diseased, growers assumed that their plants were sick with Botrytis gray mold. The reality was more complex.

Grassland Restoration Effects on Native Bees and Spiders

Throughout the West, many native grasslands have been degraded – overgrazed, overtilled, burned or overrun by invasive weeds like Medusahead or cheatgrass. While many restoration efforts only look at plant communities or endangered species, this research looked at native spider and bee communities.