News and Events

«July 2024»

Twoline Spittlebug

Twoline Spittlebug 9 August 2021

Twoline Spittlebug

Mark T. of Extension is interviewed on Hawaiʻi News Now

Since 2016, Mark Thorne and Mark Wright have waged war on the invasive Twoline Spittlebug. The invasive pest is devasting rangelands on the Big Island, which is a concern for both the Dept. of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences and the Dept. of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences. Recently, Mark T. was interviewed for a Hawaiʻi News Now segment featuring CTAHR’s efforts to contain the pest. A separate KHON2 report also showed images of the CTAHR research team doing field work. “The best we can do to manage the spread, at this point, is to find ways to reduce the Twolined Spittlebug populations to levels below thresholds that inflict catastrophic damage on rangeland resources,” he says. “This should also help slow the spread of the pest into other areas that not yet affected by the pest.”

He adds, “Currently, our research has focused on understanding the biology and ecology of the pest on pastureland, carrying out host-plant resistance experiments on an array of forage grasses to determine which are susceptible or resistant to Twolined Spittlebug adult feeding. We’re also developing integrated Pest Management strategies, including intensive grazing management to reduce suitable feeding and egg laying habitat for adults and nymphs, coupled with strategic use of pesticides and revegetation with grasses resistant to Twolined Spittlebug feeding.”

Mark T. and Mark W. are also investigating an “entomopathogenic” fungus – indigenous to Hawaii – that may affect the spittlebugs. A few years back, they observed dead Twolined Spittlebug adults that had been infected by the fungus. They collected samples and sent them in for analysis.

“Since that time, we have observed an increased rate and a wider spatial occurrence of infection of Twolined Spittlebug adults from this fungus,” he says. “We are hopeful this naturally occurring biocontrol can help throttle down the population growth of the pest. Additionally, we are investigating ways that we may harvest and potentially domesticate the fungus for use as a commercial biocontrol.”

Ahaolelo and Aliʻi

Ahaolelo and Aliʻi 20 July 2021

Ahaolelo and Aliʻi

Hawaiʻi 4-H adapts to continue its traditions

‘Ahaolelo’ means “to come together for a meeting” in Hawaiian, and the Hawaiʻi 4-H Ahaolelo Leadership Conference is rich in that tradition, playing an important role in the development of our 4-H members.

Held at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa campus, the Ahaolelo provides local youths who’ve completed 8th to 12th grade with an excellent opportunity to meet other 4-H members, make new friends, exchange ideas, develop communication and leadership skills – and learn more about UH and college life.

Last year, the Ahaolelo switched to a virtual Aliʻi Ceremony due to COVID-19, and merged with a 3-day online conference with Idaho and Washington 4-H’s STAC (State Teen Association Conference) to allow more teen participants.

This year, Hawaiʻi 4-H formed an Ahaolelo Planning Team, with the theme “Overcoming Challenges, Shaping the Future.” The events included a community service project with the ceremony in the evening. 

“Although this was a very difficult year, we used our 4-H skills to overcome challenges and shape the future,” said Kaitlin Kitagawa of Maui, who was an emcee at the Aliʻi Ceremony. In all, 40 teen delegates, adult volunteers, and 4-H Agents and Staff were able to attend. The delegates joined virtual workshops and were inspired by the special presenters:

  • Dr. Lauren Tamamoto, 4-H alumni from the Teddy Bears 4-H Club and Kapiʻolani Community College Food Scientist and Research Chef who collaborates with CTAHR.
  • Myself, presenting on “Head” life skills such as solving problems, making decisions, and practicing creativity.
  • Rebecca Kanenaka, past 4-H Club Leader of the Golden Ripples 4-H Club, retired microbiologist, and currently a 4-H Volunteer Resource Leader.
  • Hallie Cristobal, Kauaʻi 4-H and Intergenerational Junior Extension Agent, presenting on foods and nutrition.
  • Carli Yamamoto, 4-H alumni from the Aloha Kids 4-H Club and athletic trainer at Konawaena High School, presenting on empathy, determination, and resiliency.

The speakers shared engaging and hands-on learning, referencing their 4-H experiences, the challenges they faced, and how they overcame and moved forward. They also shared about their careers and how they got to where they are today.

“It kept the attention of the audience well and the workshops were fun!” wrote one 4-H participant.


Aliʻi Ceremony

To gracefully end the 4-H Ahaolelo, we also held an Aliʻi Ceremony in the evening at the UHM campus, with virtual links for participants on the Neighbor Islands. The ceremony is another 4-H tradition, called “Gifts to the Aliʻi.” in which we recognize and honor guests who exemplify the 4-H values of leadership and community service. 

This year, Hawaiʻi 4-H was fortunate to have as our guest State Senator Lynn DeCoite, who we thanked and honored for her support and dedication to 4-H programs, not just in her Maui County district but throughout the whole state. 

“It’s a badge of honor from each and one of you,” shared Sen. DeCoite. “I love this conference, and I love the fact that you folks have 4-H Ahaolelo …(which) means ‘to come together’ … As I learned all my life in farming and ranching, we all need to come together to make a difference.”

Past Aliʻi date back to the&

Laulima in Action

Laulima in Action 20 July 2021

Laulima in Action

Kauaʻi Extension builds a new greenhouse for its Ag Station

The greenhouses at the Kauaʻi Agricultural Research and Extension Station (KARES) were in need of complete replacement, so in early 2021, thanks to the support of CTAHR leadership, we were able to have our two failing greenhouses removed, and approval to purchase two replacement greenhouse kits. Sandra Cabral (Kauaʻi County secretary) worked diligently to process this large purchase and get the new greenhouse kits on the boat and headed our way. Once the old greenhouses were demolished, and the pads were clear, the challenge of installing the new houses (each 35’ wide by 84’ long) began. The Kauaʻi team rose to the challenge! The talented farm team of Frank Matsuno (farm manager), Michael Carle (agricultural technician), Lou Nishida (mechanic), Michael Zins (seasonal volunteer), and myself worked through the many steps of putting the structure together.

We started with carefully setting the concrete footings, then installing the frame and hardware, fastening screening on the sides, rebuilding greenhouse benches, and, redoing the water lines.  The tricky last step was placing a single large sheet of plastic to cover the roof of the house.

Extension agents Emilie Kirk, Roshan Manandhar, James Keach, Amjad Ahmad, and others were on hand to make fine work of this. Please enjoy these photos, which show the demo and construction process over time. Now, it’s on to Greenhouse Number Two!

National Clean Plant Network

National Clean Plant Network 20 July 2021

National Clean Plant Network

Extension will use a new APHIS grant to study sweet potato

When a virus or virus-like agent infects a vegetatively propagated crop, the negative consequences can go far beyond a disappointing yield, appearance, taste, and plant longevity. If the difficult-to-find disease goes undetected inside the propagation material, the problem could be passed on to a new farm, establish itself, and spread even further. Since 2008, the National Clean Plant Network has brought together growers, scientists, and government agencies with the shared goal of safeguarding clean plants and ensuring a sustainable source of disease-free, vegetative propagation materials (such as cuttings, slips, scionwood, etc.). No less than the long-term viability of farmers and feeding a hungry planet are at stake. With a new grant from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, a group of CTAHR Extension agents and researchers on Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Maui, and the Big Island have joined the network’s sweet potato group. For their first project, Amjad Ahmad, Rosemary Gutierrez, Roshan Manandhar, Susan Miyasaka, Sharon Motomura-Wages, and Jensen Uyeda, along with Dr. Jon Suzuki from the USDA ARS, DKI US Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (PBARC) in Hilo, will focus on ‘Okinawan,’ the purple-fleshed sweet potato variety that is a primary commercial cultivar in Hawaiʻi.

“During the first year, we hope to produce a total of 100 virus-tested ‘Okinawan’ plantlets in the tissue-culture laboratory of the Komohana Research and Extension Center, then distribute to Extension agents across the state,” Susan says.

The plan calls for these Extension agents to multiply the clean material to produce 500 cuttings, and distribute them to growers. The agents will use either pot or hydroponic cultures under conditions that will minimize any re-introduction of disease, while Dr. Suzuki will test for major sweet potato viruses in order to ensure that the propagating materials are clean. If all goes well, by the second year of funding, the agents will be able to ramp up production to distribute 2,500 clean cuttings to growers.

Read more about the National Clean Plant Network.

Rainfall and Wildfires

Rainfall and Wildfires 20 July 2021

Rainfall and Wildfires

NREM Extension is interviewed for KHON2 newscast

“My research has found that… higher rainfall events can contribute more to fire risk down the road than real-time drought conditions,” Clay Trauernicht told KHON2 newscasters on Monday. The Extension Specialist in Ecosystems and Fire in the Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Management was interviewed about recent brushfires occurring throughout the Islands. Another contributing factor, he says, is that former agricultural lands are abandoned and overrun with invasive species. Twenty-five percent of Hawaiʻi’s landmass, about 1,000,000 acres, is dominated by these grasses and shrubs.

On the other hand, fuel breaks would allow firefighters to come in and provide a safe environment for them to work.

“More importantly than fuel break stopping it is the fuel breaks that allow the firefighters to come in and provide a safe environment for the firefighters to work,” Clay said.

Read the full KHON2 story.

Combating CLR

Combating CLR 22 June 2021

Combating CLR

PEPS’ IR-4 team is part of multi-agency response to Coffee Leaf Rust

Wherever coffee is produced, the discovery of ‘coffee leaf rust’ can be devastating news for growers. With its detection in Hawaiʻi late last year, CLR quickly became a serious threat to the second highest-valued crop in our state. “In other coffee-growing areas worldwide, CLR is managed by maintaining plant health, planting resistant varieties, and applying systemic fungicides – but in Hawai‘i, resistant varieties and systemic fungicides are not yet available,” explains Zhiqiang Cheng of the Dept. of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences. “Local growers,” he continues, “currently have copper products and a few biological products available for use, but these products mainly work as preventative or contact protectants, and mainly when infection levels are low. Systemic fungicides typically provide longer-term control through penetration and  movement in the leaf tissue.” But since 2017, the Hawai‘i IR-4 Program has been preparing for the day when CLR might reach our Islands. Then-PI Michael Kawate (now emeritus), Zhiqiang (current PI), Julia Coughlin, and James Kam have been working to generate the data required to register Quadris®Xtra, a systemic fungicide, to control CLR. “Although Hawai‘i didn’t have CLR at that time, this was a pre-emptive strategy – we wanted to have a systemic product available, if and when CLR arrived,” says Julia. “This hasnʻt been labeled yet, but we are continuing efforts on this project.”

When CLR was first detected in Hawai‘i, Julia immediately contacted the national headquarters of IR-4. Since 1963, this federally funded program has been a primary resource for helping specialty crop growers with their pest-control needs by developing data to support the registration of pest-management products.

IR-4’s plant pathologist quickly reached out to product registrants, hoping to identify an effective fungicide with data on international residue, efficacy, and crop safety – data needed to support an emergency registration.

A potential product was identified, and a multi-agency team (Hawaiʻi Coffee Growers, Hawaiʻi Dept. of Agriculture, BASF, and others) took it from there, successfully obtaining an emergency exemption for the use of BASF’s fungicide product Priaxor® Xemium®. IR-4 supported this effort by preparing the residue data summary needed for EPA’s dietary risk assessment. IR-4 will also prepare the Sec. 3 petition to EPA to add coffee to the Priaxor® label. This will count as progress toward registration, a requirement to renew the Sec. 18 emergency exemption for Priaxor® next year.

While the Sec. 18 submission was in preparation, BASF requested crop safety data. In response, the Hawaiʻi IR-4 Program conducted two field trials testing Priaxor with three different adjuvants to see whether sprays caused any burning or adverse effects on the plants.

“No adverse effects were observed,” says Zhiqiang, adding, “Our field program is currently conducting field efficacy and crop safety trials to screen other potential fungicides. We look forward to more fruitful collaboration as we generate additional field efficacy data and submit proposals to control CLR.”

Read the article, Coffee Rust Attacks Hawaii Coffee Trees; IR-4 Fights Back.

To Market and For Breeding

To Market and For Breeding 17 June 2021

To Market and For Breeding

The Maui 4-H Youth Livestock Show is a success

June is an important month for Maui 4-H. For decades, keiki and their families gather for the annual Maui 4-H Youth Livestock Show and Auction. Once part of the Upcountry Fair, the event merged with Maui County Farm Bureau’s ‘Maui AgFest’ but continues to take place in June so Maui winners can travel to O‘ahu to showcase their animals in the statewide show and competition. Although Covid shut down all other major events in the county, our 4-H livestock show had to go on. Managing and raising livestock is a must-have opportunity for our keiki. They gain life skills, learn to accept responsibility, value hard work, think critically, make decisions, and communicate well. We felt we had to support our future leaders by allowing them to complete their projects and validate their hard work and determination!

Maui 4-H Livestock offers two types of projects: Market and Breeding. Market projects in beef cattle, sheep, and swine entails the 4-H member raising, feeding and finishing an animal to proper market weight for harvest. Breeding projects allow the 4-H member to raise cattle and goats as breeding stock, which they can either market to local ranchers interested in genetic improvement or retain ownership of the animal to start their own herds.

At the final show, an expert judge evaluates the livestock for their potential as either breeding or market animals, provides a critique for each animal in the class, and compares the ‘form’ of the animal with the ‘purpose’ it is intended to serve. The judge for 2021 was Mitch Magenheimer from Canby, Oregon, who brings two decades of agribusiness and livestock judging expertise. He worked really well with our kids during the show, and afterward, gave them a talk relating their current 4-H experiences to life after high school, discussing opportunities in both college, industry, and life.

This year’s show was limited to 4-H members, their families, and livestock industry leaders. The event was a small gathering outdoors,. A big Mahalo to Ken Miranda and the Rice Family of Kaonoulu Ranch for allowing the Maui 4-H Livestock Program use of the Oskie Rice Arena. We also extend thanks to the Maui Cattlemen’s Association for their continued support of the 4-H program and help with sponsoring our official judge.

Maui 4-H looks forward to bringing back the auction portion when the event returns to the War Memorial Special Events Arena as part of Maui AgFest 2022.

Photo caption: I want to celebrate the high school graduation of two of our most dedicated 4-H youth leaders: Alexis Camara and Kaylee Silva. These ‘seasoned veterans’ of the Livestock Program have represented Maui County in state and national 4-H skill development contests and were always there to mentor the younger 4-H. These young women are exceptionally driven, hard-working individuals, and great role models for our youth. Alexis and Kaylee are strong academically and very organized, maintaining a healthy balance between work, extramural activities and community service. I wish you both congratulations as you pursue your college programs!

Welcome! And Welcome Back!

Welcome! And Welcome Back! 7 June 2021

Welcome! And Welcome Back!

Volunteers attend orientation at Urban Garden Center

Last month, approximately 60 volunteers entered the gates of the Oʻahu Urban Garden Center, via staggered entry times. The occasion was UGC Volunteer Orientation Day! Given a stressful year of COVID-19 precautions, our CTAHR Extension agents, faculty, and staff had many activities ready and waiting to welcome back the returning – and new – UGC volunteers. Maps and instructions were provided to orient the volunteers to sign-in areas and new locations for first-aid kits, hand sanitizer, tool sheds, gardens, and more. We hope you enjoy this short VIDEO of the revitalized grounds, which is looking better and better each day, thanks to the many, many hands making light work. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to everyone who contributed and participated in the revitalization of this important community resource and its alignment with CTAHR’s mission. A special aloha to:

  • UGC faculty, staff, students and volunteers who have beautified UGC in support of CTAHR’s educational mission
  • Oahu County ag technicians, Steve and Lianne Nagano, Shirley Garcia, Keiki Garden volunteers, Fruit hui members, Peace Garden volunteers, Rose Garden volunteers, Christine Hanakawa of 4-H,
  • Waterwise Garden volunteers, AAS garden volunteers, and more for preparing the grounds for this event
  • Bea Aragon-Balgas and Heidy Uno for UGC volunteer registration and confirmation
  • Jensen Uyeda and Lauren Baligad for the cover crop display and Brussel sprouts donation
  • Kalani Matsumura for pollinator seed and sprout giveaway
  • Destin and Jill Shigano for providing the refreshing shave ice
  • Laura Mizumoto and Susie Ota for the ono spumoni ice cream donation
  • Dale Sato, Tod Hale, and Austen Kaneshiro for raking the facility before the event and sign placement
  • Honolulu Rose Society members for hosting the Rose Garden Tour
  • Sensei Les for leading Tai Chi in the Peace Garden
  • Loke Kouhou and ‘ohana for helping with parking lot security
  • Amjad Ahmad for the mamaki tea demonstration and Shaka Tea giveaways
  • Audrey Hirayama of UH Foundation for the hand sanitizer donations
  • Bea Sailer for sharing plants cultivated by the Sprouts in the Upper Nursery
  • Susie Ota for the succulent donations
  • Fruit Hui members for hedge clearing, harvesting, and sharing UGC grown fruit
  • Josh Silva for the wonderful live music! and event set-up (tents, chairs, tables, sign mounting, etc.).
  • Private donors who provided funds to beautify the facility
  • UGC volunteers who continue to support UGC educational gardens with upkeep, beautification and so much more

What’s the Weather?

What’s the Weather? 7 June 2021

What’s the Weather?

Mealani and Kona gain weather stations – and with them, a trove of data

In Hawaiʻi, when you check the weather forecast, you often get a prediction of partly sunny, partly cloudy, and partly rainy – talk about covering all possibilities!

But if you’d like to know exactly what the weather is at Mealani Research Station in Kamuela, Hawaiʻi Island, or Kona Research Station in Kealakekua, Hawaiʻi Island, you can simply click HERE, because on May 20, two new weather stations were installed. Now, when you visit the Mealani and Kona stations, you can find out the current weather conditions, which are updated every 15 minutes. You can learn about the temperatures during the past 24 hours (including daily maximum and daily minimum temps), daily accumulated rainfall, and total solar radiation. The Kona weather station also gives the relative humidity and dew point (the temperature at which dew can form).

The Mealani weather station will be useful in predicting the growth of pasture grasses for cattle grazing in the Kamuela area. The Kona weather station will help us predict coffee growth in the Kealakekua area, as well as monitor the development of pests and diseases, such as the coffee berry borer and coffee leaf rust.

The Kona weather station was funded by a USDA-ARS CBB AW project and the Mealani weather station was funded by CTAHR internal funds for improving research capacity.

Life Skills

Life Skills 27 May 2021

Life Skills

Urban Garden Center gets a helping hand from the Hawaiʻi Youth Challenge Academy

The hardworking faculty, staff, and volunteers of Oʻahu Urban Garden Center know first-hand the continuous commitment it takes to keep the place clean. But lately, the weeds have been mounting a comeback. So the O’ahu 4-H, a CTAHR program, reached out to the Hawaiʻi Youth Challenge Academy. Commandant Saifoloi Filisi graciously agreed to partner on several service projects at UGC – and the manpower they provided has been priceless. During four Saturdays in April and May, about 60 cadets volunteered and completed some of their community service hours. These young men and women, 16-18 years old, weeded plots and around crops, picked up trash, and weed-whacked the overgrown slope along the border of Home Depot and its parking lot. They even cleared overgrown plants surrounding a monkey pod tree that covered the bus drop-off area. The tree had been compromised and arborists were not able to see the base and roots of the tree until the plants were pulled out.

With their own two hands, the work done by these youths compared to the capacity that UGC faculty, staff, and volunteers could do over weeks and months. In fact, the weeded plots gives UGC new opportunities to have field days and to start new projects.

Jari Sugano noted she was most impressed with the cadets’ positive attitude, dedication in doing a good job, and commitment to attending to their school work in their down time. 

Cadets’ Experience

While working, the cadets told us about an aquaponics system at their facility and how they’re looking to build a butterfly house. When Extension agents heard this, they educated the cadets about cover crops, pests, weed management, and pollinators. Josh Silva showed them how a static hydroponics system works. The agents gave the cadets mint, lettuce, and crown flower branch cuttings for their gardens.

The cadets were very respectful and enjoyed being outdoors. Some expressed interest in coming back to volunteer or whether they could work at UGC. What I saw at the end of the day as they left in their bus was a sense of accomplishment, pride, and priceless expressions on their faces – something I cannot put into words. I look forward to one day seeing them back at UGC.

4H Cooking Contest

4H Cooking Contest 4 May 2021

4H Cooking Contest

5th-12th graders can create a video of a healthy recipe using local ingredients

The Hawaiʻi State 4-H, a program of CTAHR Extension, has brought back its popular cooking contest for keiki. Welcome to the Video Cooking Challenge! The goal is to create a 5-7 minute video that showcases a local commodity (plant or animal) and demonstrates the successful completion of a healthful recipe. You do not need to be a current 4-H member to enter the contest. Please register by May 12 or contact your county agent.

For questions, please contact Nancy Ooki.

Got Specialty Crop?

Got Specialty Crop? 28 April 2021

Got Specialty Crop?

Amjad needs your input on work conducted by CTAHR

CTAHR is in the business of benefiting Ag across the state, helping commercial and individual growers, improving collaboration among stakeholders, and advancing science-based discoveries for everyone. As the contribution of specialty crops – vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, nursery crops, floriculture, seed crops, and certified organics – continues to increase in Hawaiʻi’s diversified agriculture economy, so has interest among local growers and Ag-related organizations.

To help guide CTAHR in allocating research and educational resources, a new survey is being conducted by Amjad Ahmad of Extension that will map the types and locations of all specialty crop work conducted by CTAHR.

Your contribution is highly appreciated. Please click the link and complete the survey today.

Photo by Kalani Matsumura, Oʻahu Extension

Enabling Nutrition

Enabling Nutrition 19 April 2021

Enabling Nutrition

CHL will help SNAP coordinate data systems and program efficiency

New funding that aims to coordinate the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) with other programs in combatting childhood hunger includes a grant for CTAHR’s Children’s Healthy Living Center of Excellence (CHL). Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, with support from the American Public Human Services Association, will invest nearly $2 million with six SNAP agencies, including Hawaiʻi. The initial goal is to track trends in co-enrollment, identify the characteristics of vulnerable populations that don’t enroll in eligible programs, and guide future programs and policies. Ultimately, the initiative hopes to streamline policy, programs, and resources that impact children and families.

During the 18-month project, CHL will provide technical assistance in data integration and analytics. Following the grant period, CHL will continue to help link data systems and evaluate existing nutrition programs. The project is rooted in the ‘Ohana Nui framework, which seeks to end intergenerational poverty by addressing the needs of multigenerational households.

“This grant helps us form an important collaboration for coordinating data systems on food, nutrition and health-related programs,” says Rachel Novotny of CHL and the Dept. of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences. “This will enhance program efficiency and effectiveness for Hawaiʻi’s children and families.”

Know Container Gardening?

Know Container Gardening? 30 March 2021

Know Container Gardening?

A new survey for gardeners and farmers can inform CTAHR efforts

If you know a seasoned gardener with experience in growing edible crops in containers, please invite them to share their insights to help CTAHR develop gardening recommendations for Hawaiʻi. The Hawaiʻi Edible Crop Container Gardening Survey is open until April 15. Responses can help CTAHR to better support gardening in local communities by providing Hawaiʻi-specific guidance on growing food in containers.

“CTAHR offers a variety of programs for new gardeners using containers, allowing participants to try their hand at horticulture and enjoy home-grown food, even within small spaces,” says Marielle Hampton of the Dept. of Family and Consumer Sciences.

“Programs serve beginning gardeners from keiki to kupuna,” she adds, “with initiatives that distribute seedlings or potted plants, teach gardening skills, and deliver nutrition education to SNAP eligible recipients. With Hawaiʻi’s unique growing conditions, feedback from growers around the state can support the development of specialized recommendations to help others find success with container gardening.” 

For questions, please email Kristen Jamieson.

Defend Hawaiʻi Ag

Defend Hawaiʻi Ag 16 March 2021

Defend Hawaiʻi Ag

PEPS is helping to safeguard from the constant threat of invasive species

The most recent example of an invasive threat to our agriculture, urban and natural ecosystems is the Ramie Moth. Last month, the presence of Arcte coerula was confirmed on the east side of the Big Island attacking mamaki, traditional medicinal plants that are endemic to the Hawaiian islands. They’re also indirectly threatening the endemic Kamehameha butterfly by competing for the same native host plant resources. What gets less media attention is the Dept. of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, whose researchers and Extension specialists and agents are constantly at the frontlines of pest management, using the latest basic and applied research to protect our ecosystems from these invaders.

In 2018, when the Ramie Moth was first spotted on Maui, PEPS was there with molecular tools to confirm it. Now, PEPS is surveying the moth’s distribution in Hawaiʻi, and searching for potential natural enemies.

Diseases and Damaging Insects

It’s important to note, many invasive species are STILL in Hawaiʻi, still threatening our food supply and way of life – even if you haven’t read or heard about them recently. The following is just a fraction of PEPS’ efforts to eradicate or mitigate the dangers:

Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles: Since 2013, PEPS’ Agrosecurity and Turf and Landscape Pest Management Labs have coordinated a large, multi-agency response against the spread of CRB. These efforts have largely contained the CRB population on Oʻahu, allowing Hawaiʻi’s palm to continue to thrive. Modern genomic techniques (ddRADseq) were used by PEPS’ Insect Systematics and Biodiversity Lab to trace the regional invasion pathways of CRB.

Coffee Leaf Rust: PEPS is engaged in the state response to CLR, a major threat to the Hawaiʻi coffee industry. PEPS’ Agrosecurity Lab performed the initial diagnostic assays of CLR last October, and is now assisting in the Section 18 Emergency Exemption of a pesticide to manage this pathogen. We obtained a Controlled Import Permit to introduce (under quarantine) varieties with potential resistance to CLR from Central America, are performing molecular characterization of CLR isolates from Hawaiʻi to develop future management approaches, and conducting efficacy and residue trials to provide the required data for new pesticides registration in Hawaiʻi that will protect specialty crops, including coffee.

Meanwhile, we are investigating the potential of parasitoids, insect pathogens, and repellent pheromones to manage coffee berry borer, another invasive species of coffee that can damage >80% of coffee production. The success of these efforts should provide an economical and sustainable alternative to the costly insect-pathogenic fungus applications that currently require intense federal subsidies to keep our state’s coffee industry afloat.

Fruit Fly: Hawaiʻi is under a full federal fruit fly quarantine, which has restricted our fruits from being exported to the Mainland. We’re searching for insecticides, biological control agents, and pheromone traps to overcome pesticide-resistant populations. Along with developing new early detection tools, we are collaborating with the federal Dept. of Agriculture on male annihilation and sterile insect techniques.  

Many, Many More: Invasive species management efforts led by PEPS – and of high significance to Hawaiʻi – include citrus leprosis eradication, resistance against basil downy mildew, Phytophthora blight of papaya, black pod rot of cacao, avocado root ro

The Fun Way to Cope

The Fun Way to Cope 10 March 2021

The Fun Way to Cope

4-H Military will host a camp for the keiki of Wounded Warriors

Being a kid during Covid is tough enough, but if your parent was wounded or killed serving our country, the additional challenges, stressors and difficulty can be significant, to say the least. Hawaiʻi 4-H Military Partnership, a CTAHR program, is proud to host an exciting camp this summer for the dependent youth of Wounded Warriors. Youth campers will enjoy recreation and respite at YMCA Camp Erdman, located on the beautiful North Shore beaches of Oʻahu, the week of June 13-18. This adventure will include high ropes courses, surfing, swimming, yoga, hiking, Hawaiiana-based environmental activities, crafts, and recreational camp games.

Through these outdoor activities and adventures, youth will learn from the setting and environment much of what Hawaiʻi has to offer. They’ll have a rare opportunity to use Hawaiian studies and practices to learn about sustainability through a focus on ʻāina a me kai (land and sea), as well as mālama ponoʻī (self-care).

“The youths will benefit from this opportunity to relax, learn, grow, and be challenged, as well as connect with other youths who have gone through similar situations with a lost or wounded parent,” says Kate Eickstead, Military 4-H Program Coordinator. “They’ll not only have a fun time but will also learn coping skills, go outside their comfort zone, and make real human-to-human connections. This will benefit their surviving parent, too.”

She adds, “This expense-free, high-quality program is made possible by a grant from the US Army and the 4-H Military Partnership, and CTAHR coordination. This summer will be an unforgettable adventure for the kids.”

For more info, visit the Hawaiʻi State 4-H Program or contact Kate Eickstead.

Pop-Up Seed Store

Pop-Up Seed Store 10 March 2021

Pop-Up Seed Store

Visit the Simply Garden Store at Kahala Mall for the best of the UH Seed Laboratory

by Darren Park. The UH Seed Laboratory is excited and proud to partner with City Mill, which has always been a strong supporter of CTAHR. A select assortment of our high-quality seeds are now on sale at the new Simply Garden Store at Kahala Mall Shopping Center. Simply Garden is a brand-new pop-up store, and part of the City Mill Family of Companies, which also includes City Mill and Simply Organized. Many of the UH seeds offered by Simply Garden were developed by CTAHR researchers to grow well in Hawaiʻi’s climate, as well as resist diseases. In addition to UH seeds, which will be available in limited quantities, Simply Garden will carry beautiful, modern, sophisticated and unique indoor and outdoor planters and easy-care indoor live plants, including succulents and air plants. Stop by the store and you’ll also find an assortment of adult and children’s gardening products and grow kits, herb garden kits, planters and other gardening accessories, such as gloves, hats, small tools, small river rocks, sea glass and some organic soils.


Doing some shopping? Or just in the Kahala area? Please stop by Simply Garden and support a Hawaiʻi company that has perennially supported our college, and our community.


The Show Must GROW On

The Show Must GROW On 3 March 2021

The Show Must GROW On

Extensionʻs Master Gardener program is adjusting well to the new normal

by Russell Galanti. Teaching practical horticulture during COVID is no walk in the garden … or is it? Across our state, coordinators of CTAHR’s Master Gardener program are addressing the issue of developing an MG training curricula and schedule for 2021 – specifically for these unprecedented times when travel and in-person meetings are still difficult. The Master Gardener coordinators, which include Extension’s Dr. James Keach, Kalani Matsumura, Ty McDonald, Eric Demaria, and me, decided it was time to work together across the state to develop a unified training program, a historical achievement for the Hawaiʻi Master Gardeners. We’re confident we can make it work, because this same teamwork and coordination has already solved multiple problems this year related to developing the training program.


Lecturer travel was the first obstacle to overcome. By offering the class online, guest lecturers do not need to travel to every island individually to present. Offering the course as a statewide class also reduces the need for lecturers to present multiple times on the same subject.


Developing a synchronous program has allowed the Master Gardener coordinators to maximize their resources and offer an improved program through collaborative decision making. The statewide class allows all of the master gardener associations to interact with each other and create a sense of unity.

Most of the class remains online, with all participants meeting for online lectures, and splitting off into individual groups for hand-on activities. Some coordinators have decided to keep larger class sizes and remain completely socially distanced. This is the case for Oʻahu, Maui, and Kauaʻi. Hawaiʻi island is experimenting with reduced class size and the ability to still hold hands-on activities.

The details may differ, but one thing is for sure: statewide coordinators agree this has been an excellent team-building effort, and everyone appreciates working together to meet our goals. The training program began on February 12th – and so far, all participants are very happy with the statewide online format.

For more information on each master gardener program, you can visit the Master Gardener webpage. Each page contains contact information for the individual coordinators.

Photo Caption: A class limited to 10 students sits in the conference room of Komohana Research and Extension Center, ready to connect online with 85 other Master Gardener students from across the state.

Gardening, Molokaʻi Style

Gardening, Molokaʻi Style 3 March 2021

Gardening, Molokaʻi Style

Glenn Teves is a guest on HPR’s “The Conversation”

CTAHR was in the house! last week for The Conversation, Hawaiʻi Public Radio’s daily hour of locally-focused discussions of public affairs, ideas, culture and the arts.

Joining the “guests from around the block and around the world” was Molokaʻi Extension’s Glenn Teves, who spoke about Extension and the ins and outs of growing food in Hawaiʻi.

Agritourism Tuesdays

Agritourism Tuesdays 24 February 2021

Agritourism Tuesdays

GoFarm, ORCD, HATA, and HTA partner up – and announce a tasty winner

“The Agritourism Mini-Grant Awardees is an amazing cohort of local farmers and businesses – and starting us off is Kō Hana Hawaiian Agricole Rum, meticulously crafted from farm to bottle!” says Pomai Weigert of GoFarm Hawaiʻi. The Kohana team “grow single varietals that are hand harvested, pressed to juice and then distilled to perfection, resulting in one of the world’s finest pure cane rums,” she adds. “Their hope is to capture the beauty, honesty, and history of Hawaiian sugarcane flavors, and share that story.” Each Tuesday, the partnership of GoFarm, O’ahu Research & Conservation Development Council, Hawai’i Agritourism Association, and Hawai’i Tourism Authority will announce the next winner via social media.

The awards to local farmers and businesses will support the development of innovative agri-tourism operations in Hawaiʻi. Fifteen local businesses were selected through a competitive application process after receiving training from GoFarm Hawaii and the Hawaii Agri-Tourism Association via the 2020 Hawaii Agri-Tourism Webinar Summer Series.

“To book a tour and tasting of Kohana Rum, order online, and learn more, go to,” Pomai says. “Be sure to follow GoFarm Hawaiʻi on social media every Tuesday, through June 2021, to see our highlighted awardees each week!” 

28 April 2021

Got Specialty Crop?

Amjad needs your input on work conducted by CTAHR

Got Specialty Crop?

CTAHR is in the business of benefiting Ag across the state, helping commercial and individual growers, improving collaboration among stakeholders, and advancing science-based discoveries for everyone. As the contribution of specialty crops – vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, nursery crops, floriculture, seed crops, and certified organics – continues to increase in Hawaiʻi’s diversified agriculture economy, so has interest among local growers and Ag-related organizations.

To help guide CTAHR in allocating research and educational resources, a new survey is being conducted by Amjad Ahmad of Extension that will map the types and locations of all specialty crop work conducted by CTAHR.

Your contribution is highly appreciated. Please click the link and complete the survey today.

Photo by Kalani Matsumura, Oʻahu Extension