Addressing Western IPM Issues Grants

Funded Projects


2005: Western IPM Center Funds Nine “Addressing Western IPM Issues” Grants Totaling $485,644


Tunnels made by wireworms are round and are usually lined with skin.Determination of Alternatives to Current Pesticides for Controlling Wireworms (2 years)
Principal Investigator: Juan Alvarez, University of Idaho
Wireworms (Cloeptera: Elateridae) are the most important soil-dwelling pest of potatoes in the U.S. In the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and Mid-Atlantic regions, significant potato crop losses of 5-25 percent from wireworm damage are common, with losses resulting in millions of dollars annually from insecticide costs, yield loss, yield quality downgrades, and whole shopping load rejections. Growers rely on preventative soil insecticide treatments for wireworm control. The few registered insecticides are all organophosphates or carbamates, and are only moderately effective. EPA is in the process of re-registering pesticides and could eventually cancel some or all organophosphate and carbamate pesticides on potatoes. Therefore, a new IPM program for wireworms that includes improved monitoring technologies and alternative control tactics that can be economically and practically integrated into existing potato crop production system is needed.Objectives: The long-range goal is to develop an improved IPM program for wireworms in potatoes in the U.S. Also, because wireworms are pests of many other crops (including sweet potato, corn, and small grain), much of the knowledge gained will be applicable to a broad audience. This project also will examine the economics of the new wireworm management tools in comparison to traditional management practices.Final Report (PDF*, MS Word)

Identification of a Sex Pheromone of Prionus californicus, and its Potential Use in Management of Hop (2 years)
P.I.: James Barbour, University of Idaho

Prionus californicus is a serious root-feeding pest of hop in the Pacific Northwest. The only currently recommended method for P. californicaus management is for growers to remove all hop rootstock from infested fields. No insecticides are currently registered for P. californicus management. No effective host-plant resistance or biological control alternatives exist. Recent research has confirmed the existence of a female-produced mating pheromone in P. californicus.Objectives: The objectives of this proposal are to isolate and identify active pheromone components and to test their effectiveness at disrupting communication between male and female beetles, and the potential for use of pheromone components for managing P. californicus in hop.

Progress Report (PDF*, MS Word)


Microbial Biopesticides for Small Grain and Potato Wireworm Control (2 years)
P.I.: Sue Blodgett, Montana State University
Wireworms are one of the most difficult insects for producers to manage because of their soil-dwelling habitat, multiple-year life cycle, and variation in seasonal activity. Typically managed preventatively by applying insecticide seed treatments, the PNW Small Grains Strategic Plan concludes that high wireworm populations can overwhelm two widely used insecticide treatments, thiamethoxam and lindane, and while a third, imidacloprid, is effective, its cost restricts its use. Two Metarhizium strains are registered with USEPA and a third, F52, was recently discovered to have wireworm activity under lab conditions.Objectives: This project evaluates the efficacy, formulation, and soil persistence of Metarhizium strain F52 in small grain and potato field plots. There is interest in developing biopesticides as replacements and alternatives of insecticides. The soil persistence of F52 may offer benefits for improved wireworm and soil arthropod management in the western region.

Progress Report (PDF*, MS Word)


Potato IPM Scouting Manual (A Pocket Guide in English and Spanish) (2 years)
P.I.: Ronda Hirnyck, University of Idaho
The Potato IPM Scouting Manual Pocket Guide will outline a scouting plan for potatoes according to crop stage, and will target economically damaging pests at each crop stage. Included will be a photo identifying the pest and the damage it causes, and a brief explanation of how to determine whether the pest has reached economically damaging levels. Also included will be photos of beneficial insects common in potato fields, blank pages for inventory notes, and a scouting map.Objectives: This manual is designed to be one tool in an overall IPM strategy. Currently, there are no IPM manuals specifically directed for field scouting, nor are there any such manuals in Spanish.

Progress Report (PDF*, MS Word)


OnePlan IPM Planner (1 year)
P.I.: Ronda Hirnyck, University of Idaho
This project will continue to work on the OnePlan IPM Planner, an IPM tool that is part of a Web-based suite of conservation planning tools for use by farmers. This project is a multi-state and multi-agency effort to provide voluntary interactive IPM decision tools that allow producers to compare the relative risks that pest management may pose to resource areas of concern. A PNW Design Team, with a contracted programming design company, began building the first prototype for an IPM Planner that allows for voluntary pest management planning as a component of a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Farm Plan.Objective: The objective is to continue enhancing the prototype by implementing crop data input for potatoes produced in the PNW and mapping programs in order to �build� field maps containing selected geospatial information.

Final Report (PDF*, MS Word)


Regionalized IPM Outreach: Buffers, Drift Management, and Best Management Practices (BMP) to Protect Water Quality (2 years)
P.I.: Paul Jepson, Oregon State University
An urgent need exists to adopt IPM practices that protect and restore water quality in the Pacific Northwest. This outreach and implementation project will produce an IPM and water resource protection educational program designed specifically for farmers and other land mangers. Regional needs assessment and the gathering of current research on BMPs for IPM and water quality are both key to the success of this project.Objective: This collaborative PNW project builds on existing partnerships to deliver innovative and locally adapted, in-person, and web-based training.

Progress Report 2005 (PDF*, MS Word)
iSNAP Resource Assessment Report (PDF*, MS Word)
Progress Report 2006 (PDF*, MS Word)


Walnut Pest Management Alliance: A Research and Implementation Project (2 years)
P.I.: Carolyn Pickel, University of California
The Walnut Pest Management Alliance (PMA) has completed five years of research and field demonstration and is currently in its sixth year. The focus of this project, initially funded by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), is to continue current efforts to develop and demonstrate reduced-risk management strategies with emphasis on reducing pesticides commonly used on walnuts that effect water quality and to improve communication and cooperation among different groups involved in developing economical reduced-risk walnut production.

Objectives: The work plan concentrates on a broad-based implementation project designed to encourage large-scale adoption of reduced-risk pest management in walnuts with an emphasis on the education and participation of the DPR, growers, industry personnel, and pest control advisors. Specifically, with statewide standardized treatments using reduced risk techniques, results can be statistically analyzed over multiple growing regions and several years.

Progress Report (PDF *, MS Word)


IYS Risk Index to Predict Virus and Thrips Responses to Management Inputs in Western-Grown Onions (2 years)
P.I.: Howard Schwartz, Colorado State University
Iris yellow spot virus and its thrips vector are ranked as numbers 1 and 3 research priorities, respectively, in the PNW Pest Management Strategic Plan developed for dry bulb storage onions. Disease management strategies have not been developed, but growers have implemented intensive thrips insecticide programs with unknown impacts on disease incidence or severity.

Objectives: This project will generate initial data for future collaborative proposals with other western U.S. scientists to reduce grower reliance upon high-risk pesticides, while at the same time improve productivity, sustainability, and food safety through:

  • Determination of the relationship of Iris yellow spot (IYS) to soil properties, plant stress, and management practices
  • Development of an IYS Risk Index for use by growers and crop consultants to avoid high risk situations in onion cropping systems in the western U.S.

2006 Progress Report (PDF*, MS Word)
2007 Progress Report (PDF*, MS Word)


Monitoring and Mass Trapping Olive Fruit Fly in California (2 years)
P.I.: Paul Vossen, University of California

The olive fruit fly is a potentially devastating pest for California�s table olive and olive oil industries. This pest also affects non-commercial landscape trees by ruining the fruit and creating a reservoir of insects that can infest commercial orchards. Control methods need to be developed that are safe for the environment, effective, and economical. Reliable monitoring and practical threshold levels are required to guide control efforts and minimize pesticide use.Objectives: This project will develop specific economic thresholds based on trap catches from monitoring traps, evaluate various mass trapping techniques as an alternative control method, correlate fruit damage with oil quality, evaluate alternative sprayable pesticides, and disseminate this information to both commercial and non-commercial olive growers.

2006 Progress Report (PDF*, MS Word)
2007 Progress Report (PDF*, MS Word)


2006: Western IPM Center Funds Four “Addressing Western IPM Issues” Grants Totaling $93,475


Predator Control of Rodent Pests (1 year)
Principal Investigator: Jacki Hastings, Polk Soil and Water Conservation District

The project implements an IPM program that uses natural predator populations as a control mechanism for rodents. Rodent damage to agricultural crops has been identified as a significant resource problem. Project cooperators will conduct outreach for agricultural producers, private landowners, and other natural resource managers; visit sites to discuss pest issues; and make recommendations for locations of perches and nest boxes. They will provide stakeholders with predator perches and nest boxes, who will be required to install, monitor, and maintain them. The project goal is to stimulate a growing acceptance for alternative forms of pest control and reduce participants’ use of rodenticides.

Objectives: 1) To promote the widespread acceptance and implementation of biological control to manage rodent pests; 2) to cooperate with stakeholders to design a biological control system for rodent pests by utilizing and augmenting natural rodent predators; and 3) to reduce rodent pest damage and commercial rodenticide use.Progress Report (PDF*)


Research and Extension on Integrated Biological and Cultural Management of Canada Thistle (2 years)
P.I.s: Fabian Menalled and Perry Miller, Montana State University; Sue Blodgett, South Dakota State University

Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) is an aggressive, creeping perennial weed that infests crops, pastures, rangelands, roadsides, and non-crop areas throughout the northern and western United States. Several stakeholders, including organic growers and alfalfa seed growers, have expressed their concern about the lack of viable management options for Canada thistle. This project’s main goal is to evaluate if the joint usage of pathogens, insects, and cultural practices can provide efficient, economically durable, and environmentally benign management of Canada thistle. To achieve this goal, investigators have formed a multidisciplinary team composed of a cropping system specialist, an entomologist, and a weed scientist. They will complement field and greenhouse experiments with extension material for on- and off-farm presentations to illustrate the effect of synergistic interactions between biological and cultural practices on Canada thistle management.

Objectives: 1) To assess the individual and combined effect of stand density and two biological control agents (Pseudomonas syringae pv. tagetis and the stem gall fly, Urophora cardui) on the growth and reproductive output of Canada thistle; 2) to evaluate if infestation of Canada thistle plants by P. syringae and the use of herbicides modifies the behavior and performance of the stem gall fly; and 3) to develop and deliver extension material on the integrated management of Canada thistle.

Progress Report (PDF*, MS Word)


Development of a Yellow Starthistle Management Guide for the Western United States (1 year)
P.I.: Joseph DiTomaso, University of California, Davis

Yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis) is the second most widespread invasive plant species in the western United States, occupying an estimated 14.8 million acres. Numerous control strategies, particularly integrated approaches, now exist for managing this noxious weed. Joe DiTomaso, Guy Kyser, and Mike Pitcairn wrote a comprehensive “Yellow Starthistle Management Guide,” which reviews more than 240 references and is a valuable educational and decision-making tool for land managers. This grant provides funds to produce a high-quality, glossy manual for distribution at no cost to land owners throughout the West. The publication will help to develop effective, economical, and safe strategies for managing this serious invasive weed using IPM approaches that maintain the function and integrity of ecosystems.

Objectives: 1) To provide an easy means of accessing information on the history, distribution, biology, ecology, and management of yellow starthistle; 2) to assist landowners and applicators throughout the western United States in developing a long-term, effective, integrated strategy for the control of yellow starthistle; and 3) to facilitate access to information that should assist others in developing educational or training programs on the adoption of IPM strategies for yellow starthistle management.


A New IPM Delivery Method to Increase Adoption Rates (1 year)
P.I.s: Ronda Hirnyck, Edward Bechinski, and Steven Reddy, University of Idaho

A matrix of data containing crops, key pests, and various pest management practices for controlling each pest will be developed. Pesticide options will be linked to the NRCS WIN-PST database. A compilation of accepted IPM practices for each crop and crop/pest combination will be formatted into a user-friendly design on the OnePlan Web page that will allow users to develop a basic IPM plan for each crop of interest. The proposed matrix will deliver IPM information to producers and provide a tool for NRCS to use with producers for program enrollment and for including Conservation Security Program enrollment. It also provides a mechanism to work collaboratively with NRCS to provide incentives for producers’ adoption of IPM practices. The results of the matrix will be usable for other states in the PNW region with similar pests and growing conditions.

Objectives: 1) to develop a Crop/Pest/IPM Practices Matrix to assist NRCS with IPM outreach and cropland program enrollment for major commercial commodities in Idaho; 2) to deliver the Matrix in an electronic format with links to additional resources; 3) to provide the Matrix to producers and NRCS staff for 2006 NRCS programs; and 4) to measure the utility of the Matrix and the level of IPM practice adoption.


2007: Western IPM Center Funds Five “Addressing Western IPM Issues” Grants Totaling $214,075


Developing a Monitoring Strategy for Voles in Agriculture (5 months)
Principal Investigator: Jennifer Gervais, Oregon State University

Gray-tailed voles (Microtus canicaudus) are endemic to the Willamette Valley and have adapted to its agricultural landscape. They are capable of achieving very high densities at irregular intervals of roughly five to eight years. At peak densities, they inflict considerable economic damage upon producers, particularly those in the grass seed industry. Control has relied heavily on the use of zinc phosphide, which is extremely effective but may pose unacceptably high risks to nontarget wildlife and breaks down rapidly when exposed to moisture. Voles typically exist at densities that do not cause unacceptable damage, but recognizing populations that are beginning to grow beyond background levels is highly desirable. The best method of preventing accidental zinc phosphide exposures to nontarget organisms is to avoid the need to use the pesticide in the first place. The purpose of this project is to develop a monitoring method that growers and other interested parties can use to evaluate vole populations within their fields to more effectively implement control strategies.

Objectives: Development of a monitoring technique that will be easy for growers to use to scout their own fields to determine when vole populations are reaching densities that are cause for concern. Methods to be evaluated will use transects and quadrats, as these methods are easily implemented with materials found on the farm. The sampling effort will be systematically varied in enclosures with various populations of voles so that an efficient and effective design can be developed and tested.


Effective IPM Strategies for Parks Maintenance Staff in the Pacific Northwest (1.5 years)
PIs: Megan Kemple, Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides; Tim Stock, Oregon State University
The project’s goal is to reduce human health risks and environmental effects from pesticides used by parks maintenance staff throughout the Pacific Northwest. These staff will be provided with the resources they need to implement effective IPM practices that reduce reliance on pesticides. Stakeholders at parks departments throughout the Pacific Northwest will identify top weed control challenges and will be asked to explain their techniques in detail in order to document them. This information will be compiled into reports and trainings and distributed to parks maintenance staff throughout the region using existing networks and avenues.

Objectives: 1) Thirty parks maintenance staff from Oregon, Washington, Montana, and California identify their top weed control challenges by June 2007. By July 2007, select five top weed control challenges based on overlap and priorities identified by parks maintenance staff; 2) identify and document at least ten effective IPM strategies employed by collaborating parks maintenance staff that address these top five weed control challenges by the end of September 2007; 3) beginning in October 2007, distribute the practices and techniques in user-friendly electronic documents to parks staff throughout the Pacific Northwest via the Oregon Recreation and Park Association (ORPA) listserve, on the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides Web site, and directly to stakeholders. Present finalized documents to all stakeholders in June 2008; 4) hold three courses for a total of 125 parks maintenance staff in the state of Oregon in January�June 2008 in collaboration with ORPA and OSU Extension. Courses may be transmitted through Webcast regionally via a Web-based training program currently being considered by ORPA.


Best Practices for Local Government IPM Contracting Toolkit (1 year)
PI: Jennifer Krebs, Association of Bay Area Governments/San Francisco Estuary ProjectResearchers have found evidence that pyrethroid insecticides are the cause of significant, widespread toxicity in sediment in Northern California urban creeks. Professional applications for insect control are estimated to involve more than 70% of the toxic units of pyrethroid insecticides applied in the Bay Area, making it essential that professionals be part of the solution to the pyrethroids toxicity problem. Building on its EcoWise Certified program (which certifies pest management companies that implement IPM), the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)/San Francisco Estuary Project (SFEP) proposes to develop a Toolkit for local governments that will include guidance on how to be responsible IPM customers and help with how to contract with EcoWise Certified pest control companies. With increasing need for more environmentally sustainable practices, this Toolkit will be useful for government agencies in many western states as well as universities, schools and other institutions, companies with multiple buildings or campuses, and commercial, retail, and residential property management companies who wish to implement IPM.

Objectives: 1) Ensure effective local government IPM policies by providing guidance on what should be included in an IPM policy; 2) create a Primer on How to Conduct an IPM Bid Process; 3) develop guidance on and provide sample language for municipal IPM contracts for structural pest control services; 4) develop guidance on local government/customer responsibilities to make an IPM contract achieve cost-effective, long-lasting pest control; 5) obtain Western IPM Center review of materials developed in objectives 1 through 6 prior to production and publication; 6) produce web and print materials from objectives 1 through 4; 7) conduct outreach to encourage the adoption of the Toolkit; 8) evaluate the success of the Toolkit project; 9) present on-time reports and invoices to Western IPM Center.


Development of a Monitoring Program for Root Weevils in Blueberries and Strawberries (1.5 years)
PIs: Thomas Peerbolt, Peerbolt Crop Management; Denny Bruck, USDA-Agricultural Research Service
Root weevils are the most destructive pest in many small fruit crops in the northwest. This project focuses on strawberries and blueberries, but a successful outcome would also significantly impact weevil management in other crops such as raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries. A critical obstacle to the effective control of weevils in northwest small fruits is the absence of a cost effective and accurate scouting protocol. Investigators propose a monitoring program field testing two adult weevil trap designs while comparing their efficacy to the traditional time-consuming and labor-intensive method of larval digging. Investigators will also use HOBO data loggers to monitor soil and air temperatures and will chart weevil development with soil and air temperature data. These data will be used to determine if a developmental model can be developed to predict weevil emergence based on soil and/or air temperature.Objectives: 1) to determine the efficiency of two weevil traps under varying field conditions in a wide range of geographic regions for signaling weevil activity in the spring; 2) to determine the weevil population of the trialed fields and the location of the weevil population within the fields; 3) to precisely time insecticide applications to be most effective in controlling adult weevils before they begin to lay eggs and determine the efficacy of the control measures; 4) to develop weevil monitoring protocols in blueberries and adjust weevil monitoring protocols in strawberries as needed.Progress Report (PDF*, MS Word)


Walnut Pest Management Alliance: Outreach and Implementation of Pheromone Mating Disruption (1.5 years)PI: Carolyn Pickel, UC Cooperative Extension; Joe Grant, UC Cooperative ExtensionInitially funded by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the Walnut Pest Management Alliance (PMA) is finishing the eighth year. The goal of the PMA was to move walnuts from a chemical-based IPM program to a pheromone IPM program. After 8 years of research and field validation, the PMA is ready to implement a pheromone-based IPM program for codling moth (CM). The PMA has demonstrated several new pheromone application techniques that are efficacious and economical. The PMA implementation project emphasizes reducing pesticides commonly used on walnuts that affect water quality and outreach and implementation of economical reduced-risk walnut production.A primary goal is to demonstrate the benefits of long-term, �areawide� pheromone mating disruption (PMD) programs continuing for five years and covering several hundred acres. After only 2 years, results have been very positive, with reduced CM populations, reduced insecticide inputs, and increased crop quality. The next steps are expansion of the pheromone-treated acreage and continued reduction of insecticide use. Several PMD application technologies will be implemented in smaller, field-scale demonstrations to build familiarity and confidence in these programs, resulting in a higher rate of adoption by growers.Objectives: 1) to implement pheromone application technology required for control of codling moth with an emphasis on �area-wide� control using aerosol puffers at the rate of one puffer unit per 2 acres; 2) to demonstrate pheromone application technologies that have a high potential for use in walnuts; 3) to assist with and demonstrate the use of monitoring for CM damage for growers who are interested in implementation of pheromone mating disruption; 4) to continue the Walnut Pest Management Alliance Team structure and momentum for implementation and outreach of research-based IPM strategies.