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Pest Particulars

PEPS will improve Extension’s ability to update Hawaiʻi farmers

  • 5 October 2021
  • Author: Mark Berthold
  • Number of views: 402
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Pest Particulars

With hundreds of invasive pests in the Hawaiian Islands to keep track of, entomologists have their hands full sorting out which insects constitute the highest-impact threat to local Ag – not to mention, getting this information into the hands of growers.

With a new grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Mark Wright and Joanna Bloese will improve CTAHR Extension’s ability to disseminate the most current data to farmers and other stakeholders statewide. From the Dept. of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, they will continue and expand upon Integrated Pest Management (IPM) implementation programs across the most highly valued crops in Hawaiʻi agriculture.

“The improvements include upgrading our online IPM portal (the old Crop Knowledge Master) to a modernized and more accessible format, with updated information and images for hundreds of pests of numerous crops in Hawaiʻi,” says Mark. “We’re developing an app with Mark Thorne (of the Dept. of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences) for the identification, monitoring, and management of the Two-Lined Spittle Bug, a devastating pest of Hawaiʻi pastures. We’re also collaborating with Angelita Acebes of USDA-ARS to make all our IPM information available through the MyIPM app.”

In addition to delivering IPM Extension materials via Best Management Practice factsheets, online access, and direct interactions with stakeholders, Mark and Joanna will develop predictive forecasts for new, potentially high-impact insect pests. Such preemptive forecasts should help improve surveillance and early detection of pests, and responses to new invasions.

“The grant also supports research on new invasive species,” Mark adds, “such as the Rami moth, a relatively recent arrival that threatens mamaki plants in Hawaiʻi. The grant also supports short-term Extension projects run by Extension agents.”

Read the full grant.

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