Webinar: Illinois IPM Program Highlights and Future Directions

Diane Plewa, Plant Clinic Director and State IPM Coordinator, will share updates from the University of Illinois IPM program on Wednesday, November 17 during the next Pests and Progress webinar.

Diane Plewa, University of Illinois Plant Clinic Director and State IPM Coordinator 
Diane Plewa, University of Illinois Plant Clinic Director and State IPM Coordinator 

The IPM Program at the University of Illinois conducts surveys, demonstrations, and education focused on invasive species, pest management, and pollinator protection in Illinois. Surveys include the University of Illinois Extension Survey, the the Natural History Survey and the Illinois Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey. Results are used to direct outreach efforts, and the Illinois Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey is distributed annually to monitor the presence and numbers of invasive pests in agronomic and specialty crops. Educational materials about these pests are created and shared, including identification aids and management recommendations. Field crop scouting schools focused on pest identification and damage and threshold evaluations were postponed due to the pandemic but are planned for the future, along with new and updated agronomic pest factsheets. 

Efforts related to pollinator protection compared bee numbers and species diversity across nature preserves and former farmland to get a better idea of what species are present in Illinois and in what numbers, and to determine if conservation habitats support similar bee populations as native ecosystems. A youth pollinator education program was also developed from this project with a dedicated website in progress.

Bee on mint flower.
Bee on mint flower.

The IPM program also supports the University of Illinois Plant Clinic, which processes samples from across Illinois and the United States, identifying pests and pathogens and providing research-based management recommendations for these issues. Plant Clinic personnel also provide education about plant health management for invasive and endemic pests and pathogens to the general public, agronomic producers, and green industry professionals. The IPM program uses newsletters, social media, field days, presentations, and workshops to broadcast information about effective, economical, and environmentally-friendly pest management.

This Pests and Progress webinar will be held on Wednesday, November 17 at 1:30 pm ET (12:30 pm CT). You must register to receive the link to this free online presentation.

The October Pests and Progress webinar featured Lee Miller and Xi Xiong, both from the University of Missouri. Dr. Miller shared updates from the Missouri IPM program, and Dr. Xiong shared research updates related to billbug pests, from basic biology to a new management strategy. The recordings are available on the North Central IPM Center YouTube Channel.

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Funding Opportunity: AFRI Critical Agricultural Research and Extension Program

The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Critical Agricultural Research and Extension (CARE) program is designed to address urgent challenges affecting the nation’s food system by promoting partnerships among researchers, extension experts and practitioners in food and ag enterprises. Ideally, efforts in an AFRI CARE grant will lead to practices or solutions that can be used in the field.

The AFRI CARE program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The 2022 AFRI CARE available funding is increasing to $7 million, which is $2 million higher than last year.

The AFRI CARE grant funds integrated (research + extension) projects that meet any of the six Farm Bill priorities:

  • Plant health and production and plant products;
  • Animal health and production and animal products;
  • Food safety, nutrition, and health;
  • Bioenergy, natural resources, and environment;
  • Agriculture systems and technology; or
  • Agriculture economics and rural communities.

Projects may request up to $300,000, which can be spread over 1 to 3 years. The next submission deadline is September 15, 2022. More details are available on the NIFA website and in the AFRI RFA.

The AFRI CARE funding opportunity was established in 2013.

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Pests and Progress Webinar Duo in October

The October Pests and Progress webinar will be held on Wednesday, October 13 at 1:30 pm ET, 12:30 pm CT. This webinar will feature two speakers from the University of Missouri. Be sure to register to receive the link.

Lee Miller
Lee Miller

Lee Miller, Associate Professor & IPM Coordinator, will share, “Missouri IPM Highlights.” Missouri’s central location makes it vulnerable to pests from all directions. MU Extension works to develop and share pest management resources, especially related to weeds, diseases and insects in agriculture. Miller will also talk about research related to drift issues from synthetic auxin and research about the use of impregnated netting for insect control. Details about MU Extension’s outreach efforts will also be discussed, from social media to publications and the Scouting Schools program.

MU Extension and outreach field demonstration.
Xi Xiong
Xi Xiong

Xi Xiong, Associate Professor, will share, “Developing a Novel Mechanical Strategy for Control of Billbug.” As a variety of billbug species spread throughout the United States, damage to turf is increasing, and novel species interactions have created complicated pest complexes. Without a dependable decision-making tool, there has been a heavy reliance on prophylactic and often misguided insecticide applications. These applications result in poor control of billbug populations as well as increased risk of environmental safety to humans, natural enemies, and beneficial species like pollinators, as well as an elevated economic burden for professional turfgrass managers.

Xiong will provide updates from collaboration of turf specialists and entomologists from three states, who are all working to develop innovative and sustainable approaches for the management of billbug in the urban environment using a mechanical tactic.

Bluegrass billbug and hunting billbug

Their work has three objectives:

1. Develop a Degree-Day model that predicts the biofix of billbug adults;

2. Validate and utilize a genetic tool that allow identification of billbug larvae; and

3. Develop innovative and sustainable integrated pest management (IPM) tactics by using a turf sweeper, which was initially designed for synthetic turf surfaces.  

The September Pests and Progress webinar featured Cliff Sadof from Purdue University. Sadof described updates and highlights of Indiana EIP Project, and the recording is available on the North Central IPM Center YouTube Channel.

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The North Central IPM Center Announces 2022 Request for Applications

Funding to support integrated pest management (IPM) efforts for 2022 is available through the North Central Integrated Pest Management Center. Awards are available for efforts to increase partnerships and outreach activities through the Working Group program. Approximately $200,000 is available for Working Group projects, with a maximum of $20,000 per award. Research efforts related to important pest concerns and/or management of these pests may receive funding through the Critical Issues program. Approximately $100,000 is available for Critical Issues projects, with a maximum of $50,000 per award.

Previous award recipients may apply, especially if additional funding will be used to expand efforts. Applications for working group projects and critical issues projects should support the Center’s priorities. These priorities are based upon the Center’s Signature programs and are evaluated annually by regional stakeholders. 

Providing funds for Working Group projects and Critical Issues projects supports the North Central IPM Center’s mission of improving health, environmental and economic conditions in the North Central region through leadership and cooperation with diverse stakeholders to increase use of IPM solutions. This mission directly accomplishes the goals of the National IPM Roadmap.

All applications must be submitted online. The application deadline is Friday, November 19, 2021, at 5:00 EST. Download the 2022 RFAs from the North Central IPM Center website, where there are video tutorials to help you get started. Follow the RFA instructions for submission and direct questions to Lynnae Jess at jess@msu.edu.

The North Central IPM Center is funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Crop Protection and Pest Management Program (2018-70006-28883).

2022 RFA Summary
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Virtual Crop Scouting School Success

The first year of the Virtual Crop Scouting School was a huge international success! Over 620 people registered from 34 US states and 20 different countries. All together, participants spent 336 hours watching the training videos. The most popular presentation was “General Scouting Tips and Safety,” by Mikaela Breunig. Organized by the Crop Protection Network, this free Virtual School included 22 webinars that featured crop protection specialists at 11 Midwest universities. Participants registered online and were able to choose webinars and watch at their convenience. 

Mikaela Breunig sharing crop scouting resources.
General Scouting Tips and Safety webinar by Mikaela Breunig.

Watch for the 2022 Virtual Crop School sign up in April 2022!

Funding for this free training was provided by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Crop Protection and Pest Management Program through the North Central IPM Center (2018-70006-28883).

Travis Legleiter presenting about how to scout for herbicide resistance.
Travis Legleiter presenting about how to scout for weeds with herbicide resistance (weedy patch is in the top of the field photo).

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Webinar: Indiana EIP Project Highlights

Cliff Sadof, Professor and IPM Coordinator at Purdue University, will share updates from Indiana’s Extension Implementation Program (EIP) on September 15 during the next Pests and Progress webinar. Sadof is one of several Extension specialists from across Indiana who collaborates with state and national stakeholder groups as part of this EIP program. The goals of this program are to promote integrated pest management (IPM) implementation in agronomic crops and specialty crops, to increase IPM use in communities (such as schools), to help control invasive species and increase pollinator health. Sadof will share recent EIP efforts, including details about recent events and presentations, apps, and blogs, along with assessments of these outreach efforts.

Hands on training to look for corn pests.
Caption: Hands-on training remains at the core of Indiana’s EIP program despite increased virtual programming in response to the pandemic.

This Pests and Progress webinar featuring Sadof will be held on Wednesday, September 15 at 1:30 pm ET (12:30 pm CT). You must register to receive the link to this free online presentation.

The August Pests and Progress webinar featured Bob Wright from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Wight described updates and highlights of Nebraska EIP Project, and the recording is available on the North Central IPM Center YouTube Channel.

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Webinar: Nebraska EIP Project Highlights (Crops, Pollinators, Housing and School IPM)

The next Pests and Progress webinar will be held on Wednesday, August 18, and will feature Bob Wright, Professor and IPM Coordinator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Wright will share updates from the Nebraska Extension Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. Topics will include IPM for large-scale crop production, pollinator health, training and education in housing and implementation in schools and will highlight recent impacts. 

corn rootworm beetle
Corn rootworm beetle.

To learn more, join us on August 18 at 1:30 ET (12:30 CT). You must register to receive the link to this free online presentation.

Bob Wright
Bob Wright, Professor and IPM Coordinator, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The July Pests and Progress webinar featured Damon Smith from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Smith discussed the latest strategies for managing white mold, and the recording is available on the North Central IPM Center YouTube Channel.

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Webinar: Using Research-Based Solutions for Integrated Management of White Mold in Soybeans

White mold in soybeans

On Wednesday, July 21, the next Pests and Progress webinar will feature Damon Smith, Associate Professor, Field Crops Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Smith will share his research on control options for managing white mold in soybeans. In the past five growing seasons, white mold has caused 36 million bushels of yield loss in the North Central states alone. Smith will discuss use of resistant soybean varieties, modification of row spacing and plant population, crop rotation, biological controls, and fungicide applications—along with recommendations for improving management by combining several of these techniques.

In addition, you will hear about an innovative smartphone prediction tool called Sporecaster, which was developed to help predict white mold infestations. This app is now available for free to help improve mold management in soybeans.

Damon Smith, Associate Professor, Field Crops Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

To learn more, join us on July 21 at 1:30 EDT (12:30 CDT). You must register to receive the link to this free online presentation.

The May Pests and Progress webinar featured Gary Brewer with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Brewer discussed stable fly management, and the recording is available on the North Central IPM YouTube Channel.

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The Tick App: Your On-the-Go Tick Expert

tick app logo

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Columbia University, and Michigan State University have developed the TickApp, a mobile smartphone application for Android and iOS to help you to learn how to protect yourself, your family and your pets from ticks.

With this app, you join a team of citizen scientists helping researchers better understand ticks and tick-borne disease risks. It’s useful to share your tick data from anywhere in the continental United States, but the current research focus is the Midwest and the Northeast regions, where tick diseases are rapidly increasing.

After an initial five to seven minute survey to gather information about your environment, you will be invited to tell researchers about your daily activities and tick encounters (or lack thereof) during the tick season in the “Daily Log” feature of the app. When you start making logs, you have the option of receiving daily reminders to help you remember to check for ticks.  

tick

When you encounter a tick, the app has a “Report-A-Tick” function so you can share information about where the tick was found, on whom it was found, and what kind of tick you think it is. You also have the ability to send in a photo of the tick to receive an expert opinion on what tick species it is.

The Tick App provides information about how to identify different kinds of ticks, good ways to prevent tick exposure, and facts about ticks and the diseases they transmit. The Tick Activity function also provides information on the local activity level of blacklegged ticks throughout the year.  

The TickApp is available for free for Android via the Google Play and iOS via the App Store. Online access and additional information is available on the app website. Questions about the TickApp can be sent to tickapp@wisc.edu.

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New Asian Longhorned Tick Pest Alert Available

Asian longhorned tick
Asian longhorned tick. Photo by James Gathany.

A new Pest Alert from the North Central IPM Center focuses on the Asian longhorned tick, which is native to East Asia. This tick targets livestock and can reproduce even in the absence of male ticks.

“A single individual tick has the potential to establish entire new populations almost anywhere in the US, but if we are vigilant, we may be able to eradicate this tick from new locations,” said Scott Larson, co-leader for the Public Tick IPM Working Group and assistant entomologist for the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District.

The Asian longhorned tick pest alert includes details about the tick’s life cycle, identification, and management options. These ticks are a threat to livestock because large tick infestations on one animal can lead to stress, blood loss and even death. There is also concern that these ticks may be able to spread disease as they feed on multiple hosts throughout their lives.

“We felt this pest alert was needed to increase awareness of the Asian longhorned tick” said Leah McSherry, community IPM coordinator at the IPM Institute of North America, Inc and member of the Public Tick IPM Working Group. “We are optimistic that increased awareness of the Asian longhorned tick will lead to increased management and better control.”

The Tick IPM Working Group formed in 2013 and works to support a network of experts and interested partners that cooperate to reduce tick populations and reduce tick-borne disease risk. More details about this team can be found on the Public Tick IPM Working Group website.

The Public Tick IPM Working Group produced this pest alert with support from the IPM Institute and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Crop Protection and Pest Management Program through the North Central IPM Center (2018-70006-28883).

Pest Alerts are published by the North Central IPM Center as new species arrive in the United States and create new management challenges. They are often written by working groups or by interested researchers or Extension personnel.  A list of Pest Alerts created by the North Central IPM Center and instructions for starting a new one are available here.

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