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USDA funds Southern pest control projects

People throughout the Southern region will reap the benefits of research and training efforts from eight new projects funded by the US Department of Agriculture Southern Regional Integrated Pest Management (IPM) grants program.

The USDA Southern Regional IPM grant program funds multi-state, collaborative projects addressing high-priority pest management issues. This year the program funded 8 of 25 proposals for a total of $796,355. The Southern Region IPM Center at North Carolina State University manages the annual competition.

Clemson University researcher Guido Schnabel will develop a monitoring program for fungicide-resistant peach brown rot. One of the most serious problems for peach growers in Georgia and South Carolina, peach brown rot has developed resistance to the three fungicides typically used for control.

However, different strains of the disease retain susceptibility to at least one of the fungicides. Schnabel’s project will enable Extension specialists and agents to use a special kit developed last year to identify orchards with fungicide-resistant strains of the disease. The kit will distinguish which of the three fungicides will be effective in a particular orchard.

Louisiana State University Agricultural Center researchers Fangneng Huang and B. Rogers Leonard will team up with researchers from Texas A&M University and Mississippi State University to validate and improve the strategy for managing corn borer resistance to Bt-corn. They will study the survival rate of borer larvae on Bt-corn and examine the genetic makeup of resistant borers. Their project will improve long-term management of corn borers.

Two projects will facilitate pest identification. Weed scientists Gregory Armel and Gilbert Rhodes (University of Tennessee) and Robert Richardson (North Carolina State University) will develop a pocket guide on invasive weeds in the Appalachian region.

For those seeking pest ID help online, Keith Douce at the University of Georgia will expand the Bugwood Network and will improve methods for image submission, processing and retrieval.

Four researchers at the University of Kentucky will evaluate weed-control methods for noxious weeds such as ironweed, musk thistle, spiny amaranth and other weeds unpalatable to livestock. Weed expert Jonathan Green and his team will test the effectiveness of mowing, herbicides and fertility manipulations to control these weeds.

Three North Carolina State University projects will explore insect pest control. In a new research project, entomologist Michael Roe will develop a hand-held kit to monitor insecticide resistance in tobacco budworm.

Jules Silverman will test a new way to control the invasive Argentine ant, a pest that now infests the entire Southeast. Silverman’s method involves starving the ants — by keeping them from their favorite food — and then luring them to an insecticidal bait. Wes Watson will examine ways to control house flies and stable flies on swine. His system will use repellents to “push” the pests away from the animals and towards treated barns.

Duration of projects varies from two to three years.

The following list includes all of the 2008 Southern Region IPM awards:

Enhancing Sustainable Use of Transgenic Bt-Corn Through Resistance Management for the Mid-Southern Region of the United States (Louisiana State University: Fangneng Huang)

• Novel Feeding Disruption Assay for Monitoring Insecticide Resistance in Adult Lepidoptera (North Carolina State University: Michael R. Roe).

• Expanding IPM Images to Meet the Needs of Southern IPM Extension Education and Plant Diagnostic Communities (University of Georgia: G. Keith Douce).

• Development of a Pocket Guide for the Identification and Control of Invasive Weeds in the Southern Region (University of Tennessee: Gregory R. Armel).

• Argentine Ant IPM in the Urban Landscape with Food Source Reductions and Baits (North Carolina State University: Jules Silverman).

• Integrated Weed Management Strategies to Increase Pasture Productivity (University of Kentucky: Jonathan D. Green).

• Implementation of a Regional Fungicide Resistance Monitoring and Brown Rot Disease Management Program to Sustain Peach Production in the South (Clemson University: Guido Schnabel).

• Push-Pull Fly Management for Deep Bedded Swine Barns (North Carolina State University: David Wes Watson).

Abstracts and objectives for each of these projects are available at Southern Region IPM Center.

The Southern Region IPM Center is supported by a grant from USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) and supports the 13 southern states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. For more information visit the Southern Region IPM Center.

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