Pests and Progress Webinars

Pests and Progress Webinar banner

Check out these monthly webinars to keep up with the latest research related to integrated pest management (IPM). Webinars will be held virtually the third Wednesday of each month at 1:30 pm Eastern/12:30 pm Central time and will be delivered via Zoom. Click the "Register" below each presentation to sign up.

Wednesday, August 18

Bob Wright

Name: Bob Wright

Title: Professor and IPM Coordinator

Organization: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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

Abstract: The Nebraska Extension Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program is a statewide program involving multiple extension specialists and educators with expertise in entomology, plant pathology, weed science and agronomy.  The current EIP project addresses the following areas: IPM implementation in agronomic crops, IPM for pollinator health, IPM training and implementation in housing, IPM training and implementation in schools and coordination.

These areas were chosen based on stakeholder feedback and the existence of faculty expertise within Nebraska Extension. The webinar will provide an overview of recent programming and impacts of this project.


Robert (Bob) Wright is Professor of Entomology and Extension IPM Coordinator at the Department of Entomology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  He joined the department in 1988.  His research and extension program focuses on insect pest management in agronomic crops, including corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and grain sorghum.  Additionally, he contributes to the UNL online M.S degree program in Entomology by teaching ENTO 825, Management of Agronomic Insects and co-teaches ENTO 899, the Entomology Project required of all online students.

He has been active in several regional committees, including serving twice as chair of NCERA 222, the USDA Multistate committee on IPM in the North Central region. He currently serves as a member of the Advisory and Steering Committees for the North Central IPM Center.

Wright received a B. A. in Zoology from University of California, Santa Barbara in 1975, M. S. in Entomology from University of Arizona, 1977, and Ph. D. in Entomology, Ecology minor, from North Carolina State University in 1981.  From 1981-1988 he was a Research Associate in Entomology at Cornell University, Long Island Horticultural Research Lab, Riverhead NY, where he worked on insect management in potato, and turf and ornamental crops.



Wednesday, July 21

Damon SmithSpeaker:  Damon Smith, Associate Professor, Field Crops Pathology; Faculty Director, Nutrient and Pest Management Program

Organization: University of Wisconsin-Madison

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

Abstract: White mold, caused by the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is one of the most important diseases of soybean in the Midwest U.S. In the last five seasons, white mold has resulted in more than 36 million bushels of yield loss in the North Central IPM Center states alone. Management of white mold is complicated and requires a multi-pronged approach. Researchers in the Midwest U.S. have been working to refine the integrated management strategy for white mold, which includes using resistant varieties, modifying row spacing and planting population, crop rotation, biological controls, and fungicide applications. To assist in making fungicide application decisions, researchers have also developed innovative smartphone prediction tools. The smartphone application (app) Sporecaster is freely available and can be used specifically to predict white mold at a specific location. This presentation will outline the latest white mold research-based tools and showcase how these tools have been integrated together to improve white mold management of soybeans.   

Biography: Damon Smith is an Associate Professor and Extension Plant Pathologist at UW-Madison. Damon is also the Director of the Nutrient and Pest Management Program at UW-Madison. Damon’s responsibilities include research efforts that focus on improving our understanding of the epidemiology of plant pathogens in order to develop better control recommendations for the sustainable management of field and forage crop diseases.  Damon is a native of Western New York State.  He earned his B.S. in Biological Sciences at the State University of New York, College at Geneseo, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from North Carolina State University.  Prior to Damon’s appointment at UW he was an assistant professor and extension specialist at Oklahoma State University for five years.


Wednesday, May 19

Gary BrewerSpeaker:  Gary Brewer, Professor of Insect Pest Management

Organization: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Title: A Push-Pull Strategy to Manage Stable Flies

Abstract: Stable flies are global pests of cattle and in the U.S. are estimated to cause economic losses of 2.2 B USD annually. Although early researchers designed and tested various stable fly trap designs relying on visual attraction to panels, cloths, or cylinders of various materials they have not been widely used. Instead, stable fly management has largely relied on insecticides in a few modes of action classes. Because of concerns about developing or potential development of insecticide resistance there is a need for alternative control products. This study investigated the use of a biopesticide with repellent and contact toxicity to stable flies as a push tactic coupled with stable fly traps that are visually and olfactorily attractive as a pull tactic. In two years of field testing, the Push-Pull strategy was compared to positive (permethrin) and negative (untreated) control treatments using a six-week, repeated measures design. We found that the Push-Pull treatment performed the same as the permethrin treatment when measured seasonally, by study weeks, and by days in a week and in all cases differed from the untreated control. Stable fly trap improvements have also been tested by varying attractant concentration, release methods, and placements. Results have been inconsistent and additional trap trials will be done in the 2021 fly season. The Push-Pull strategy offers cattle producers a low-impact, alternative to standard insecticides to control stable flies in large pasture systems common to the Great Plains and elsewhere.

Biography: Dr. Gary Brewer is a professor of insect management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is currently involved in several projects, including evaluation of biopesticides and new IPM tactics and strategies; sunflower IPM with goals of reducing input costs and improving yield through trap copping and bee conservation; conservation biology with efforts to rear and reintroduce the Salt Creek tiger beetle; and IPM of flies on pasture cattle in central Nebraska. Dr. Brewer has 22 years experience as department head or chair (North Dakota State University and University of Nebraska-Lincoln). Throughout his career, Dr. Brewer has published 49 peer reviewed papers, co-authored 6 books/chapters, has been a PI or collaborator on 68 funded grants, and has taught 12 courses. 

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Wednesday, April 21

Dr. Rufus IsaacsSpeaker: Rufus Isaacs, Professor and Extension Specialist

Organization: Michigan State University

Title: When invasive pests disrupt IPM - responding to gall wasp outbreak in highbush blueberries

Abstract: The western region of Michigan is a prime location for production of highbush blueberries, with over 22,000 acres of this crop being produced for the fresh, frozen, and processed food markets. Due to the market expectation for perfect fruit, growers employ intensive IPM programs to prevent economic loss from insects, with primary focus on those that directly reduce yields and contaminate harvested fruit. High quality blueberries are achieved through a combination of cultural controls, monitoring, biological control, and insecticides. Implementation of blueberry IPM programs focused on blueberry maggot, fruitworms, and Japanese beetle led to a significant reduction in insecticide use during the early part of this century, but arrival of spotted-wing Drosophila caused a disruption of established IPM programs with many unintended consequences. This presentation will discuss some of those changes that happened to berry IPM programs over the last decade, and how research, extension, and grower communities have responded. As an example, I will highlight our work to address blueberry stem gall wasp, a native insect that has become more abundant over the past decade and the multi-disciplinary team that has been seeking solutions to this pest.

Biography:  Dr. Isaacs is a Professor and Extension Specialist at Michigan State University where he leads the Berry Crops Entomology laboratory in the Department of Entomology (College of Agriculture & Natural Resources). His research and extension program develops information on how to manage insects that influence berry farms and vineyards. Michigan is a major producer of berry crops and grapes and the entomological issues that affect these industries have been addressed by Dr. Isaacs and his team for the past two decades, with a focus on insect pest management and pollinator management to support farm profitability. In recent years, they have focused on blueberry stem gall wasp and spotted wing Drosophila to identify the most effective chemical controls, and to explore biological and cultural controls.

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Wednesday, March 17

Rob MorrisonSpeaker: Rob Morrison, Research Entomologist

Organization:  USDA-ARS Center for Grain and Animal Health Research

Title: Diversifying IPM after harvest: The promise of implementing insecticide netting to protect stored product

Abstract: Globally, $100 billion USD in postharvest commodities are lost due to insect feeding and damage. Control of these insects has historically relied on fumigation, but there are increasing regulatory, consumer, and biological constraints on the use of fumigants. As a result, there has been a push to diversify integrated pest management (IPM) after harvest. In our project, we have quickly assessed and supported adoption of long-lasting insecticide-incorporated netting (LLIN) in stored product IPM programs. We have found that exposure to deltamethrin netting results in a 2–3-fold reduction in movement and 95–100% reduction in dispersal after contact by multiple species and life stages of stored product insects compared to controls. Moreover, we have found that direct mortality ranged from 73–98% for 5 of 8 stored product species after brief 5-minute exposures to the insecticide netting. Further, deployment of insecticide netting via one of three methods in pilot-scale warehouses resulted in a 93% reduction in infestation and 99% fewer progreny produced in commodities after releasing thousands of insects compared to control warehouses containing netting with no insecticide. We found the netting can be successfully incorporated into an attract-and-kill trap to intercept stored product insects on the perimeter of facilities. Importantly, we found that multiple brief exposures to the net result in the same effects on stored product insects as longer, continuous exposures. We have worked with the producer of LLIN label it for use in postharvest settings in the US. Finally, there has been robust interest by stakeholders in adopting netting at food facilities across the Great Plains. Taken together, our project has successfully demonstrated the ability for insecticide netting to act as an effective novel tactic, while diversifying IPM programs at food facilities across the US to protect our commodities as they make their way to the end consumer.  

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