PULLMAN – Washington State University faculty and students were members of a team honored recently by the Entomological Foundation for work that brought a major pest effecting hybrid poplars in check.
John Brown, professor of entomology; Douglas Walsh, environmental and agrichemical education specialist at WSU’s Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center; and graduate students Eugene Hannon and Neal Kittleson, who received their doctorates in December, were members of a team that received the foundation’s Integrated Pest Management Team Award at the foundation’s award ceremony in December.
The award recognizes small collaborative team efforts involving industry and academic scientists that result in a successful integrated pest management approach to control a pest problem in any aspect of agriculture.
The WSU faculty and graduate students worked with Jocelyn Millar, an entomologist at the University of California, Riverside; John Finley of Potlatch Corp.; and Brian Stanton of GreenWood Resources to develop a synthetic pheromone-based IPM strategy to manage the western poplar clearwing moth. The pheromone attracts and confuses male moths, disrupting the mating cycle.
Suterra LLC, a diversified pest control company in Bend, Ore., developed a blend of pheromone that could be applied by air or in fixed emitters. The team worked with the Washington and Oregon departments of agriculture to get experimental use permits and finally full registration to apply the pheromone product.
The strategy dramatically reduced numbers of the moths. In 2002, the year before the IPM technology was first employed, more than 108,000 western poplar clearwing moths were captured in 35,000 acres of poplar monitored in Oregon and Washington. Using the same number of traps in the same locations, only 200 were captured in 2006.
Hybrid poplars are fast-growing hardwoods grown in plantations for wood and pulp products.
Suterra and the Washington and Oregon departments of agriculture also were recipients of the team award.