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2018 Quarter 3 Newsletter

Loving Thine Enemies:
Hortsense Expansion Features Beneficial Organisms

Urban IPM Director Carrie Foss and her team recently completed the addition of a new category to the popular Hortsense website. The new section, Natural Enemies & Pollinators, contains 40 fact sheets with 60 color photographs, along with descriptions and information about the prey/pest the organisms target and ways to attract and keep them in your yard and garden, if appropriate.

Hortsense, a searchable compilation of fact sheets for managing common landscape and garden plant problems, is the essential IPM resource for WSU Extension community IPM education. Begun as a database in 1994, today’s website has over 1000 fact sheets and more than 2400 images to assist in identifying and managing plant problems in the home garden. This new section expands the website’s emphasis on natural and integrated pest management tactics.

WSU Entomologist David James, Associate Professor at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, provided content and images for the new category, taken from his extension bulletin Beneficial Insects, Spiders, and Other Mini-Creatures in Your Garden: Who They Are and How to Get Them to Stay (pdf).

On the Wheat Beat:
Podcasts and Articles for Small Grains Growers

Small Grains Extension Specialist Drew Lyon and his team released numerous outreach items for growers of wheat and small grains this quarter. The following podcasts and articles, along with much more information on IPM tactics, can be found on WSU’s Wheat and Small Grains website.

Lyon’s Wheat Beat Podcast featured the following new programs:

The team also posted the following articles under the popular Timely Topics section of the website this quarter:

S.I.R. Program “Gets Off the Ground”…with Drones!

Tree Fruit IPM Extension Specialist Betsy Beers has been spearheading the Washington Sterile Insect Release (WA-SIR) Project to better understand the potential for use of this technique for codling moth control in Washington orchards. Modeled on techniques developed by the successful 20-year Okanagan-Kootenay Sterile Insect Release (OK-SIR) programs in British Columbia, WA-SIR aims to combine use of SIR, insecticides, and mating disruption into a synergistic IPM strategy. This summer, WA-SIR utilized Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS, aka drones) to help deploy the sterile moths, greatly enhancing the speed at which the moths can be distributed when compared with conventional techniques. See related articles:

Outreach regarding brown marmorated stinkbug (BMSB) continues, with a new online location map to enhance their reporting system. Proactive BMSB control tactics being researched include orchard exclusion cages and use of parasitic wasps.

Beers’ WA-SIR, BMSB, and other programs are detailed on the Beers Tree Fruit Entomology website.

If You’re Hoppy and You Know It:
Hop Research Council Tours IAREC

Washington State Extension Entomologist and Extension IPM Team Leader Doug Walsh hosted members and guests of the national Hop Research Council at the Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center (IAREC) on July 24 and 25, 2018. Hop growers and researchers, brewers, and other stakeholders toured the research hop yards, greenhouses, drying and pelletizing facilities, laboratories, and pilot brewing facilities. Attendees heard presentations on hop disease, virus, insect, and mite management and learned about the role that IAREC’s Clean Plant Center Northwest plays in producing and distributing virus-free hop propagation materials.

Grapes Going Great Guns:
Wine and Juice Grape Outreach and Program Expansion

Extension Viticulturist Michelle Moyer and her team conducted a successful WSU Viticulture Field Day on August 10, 2018 at Schliperoot Farms. Co-hosted by WSU Viticulture Extension and the Washington Grape Society, the event focused on water in the vineyard, featuring demonstrations about water movement (in the soil and inside the grapevine), chemigation tips, converting from rill to drip irrigation, and pump technology.

This quarter also saw release of the Fall 2018 Viticulture and Enology Extension News (VEEN) (pdf). This newsletter, edited by Moyer, included articles about water quality and the impacts of saline and sodic soils, nematodes in the vineyard, pressure gauge practices, and nursery certification and quarantine harmonization.

Moyer and her colleagues are continuing to expand their work in wine, table, and raisin grapes by securing a 4-year, $4.75 million grant from the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative to launch the Fungicide Resistance Assessment, Mitigation and Extension (FRAME) Network, a nationwide partnership focused on fungicide resistance management.

Growing Onions Without Tears:
Team Wins USDA Award for Aiding Growers with IPM

Regional Vegetable Specialist Tim Waters is part of a team that was recognized by the USDA with its 2018 Western Region Excellence in Multistate Research Award. The project, Managing Onion Pests and Diseases (W-2008), was conducted from 2012 through 2017. WSU team members Waters and Plant Pathologists Lindsey du Toit and Hanu Pappu joined with researchers from Cornell University, the University of Georgia, Pennsylvania State University, Colorado State University, New Mexico State University, Oregon State University, and Utah State University to tackle the increasing challenges presented by bacteria, fungi, insects, and other pests in onion production. Tactics emerging as most helpful included:

  • Preventing viruses
  • Integrating pest management
  • Breeding better varieties
  • Managing bacterial and fungal diseases
  • Improving fertilizer use

Growers seeking more information on onion production can find it at the Benton & Franklin Counties Extension: Onions web page or the Onion/Allium Problems and Management page of the Pacific Northwest Vegetable Extension Group.

Water, Water Everywhere:
LBREU Tackles Challenges of Aquatic Crop IPM

Pacific County Extension Director Kim Patten faces many unique challenges at the coastal Long Beach Research and Extension Unit (LBREU). Crops grown in this sensitive estuarian environment include cranberries and shellfish.

The WSU Cranberry Field Day took place August 1, 2018, at the offices of the Pacific Coast Cranberry Research Foundation. Patten presented emerging research on integrated management of aquatic weeds, field and storage rot diseases, and insect pests including cranberry tipworm. IPM strategies were also discussed in the summer edition of Patten’s Cranberry Vine (pdf) newsletter.

The Pacific Shellfish Growers Association held its 72nd annual conference September 18-20 in Blaine. IPM topics included broodstock development, eelgrass management, megafauna predation, mitigation of algal blooms, and shellfish growers’ role in ecological issues including climate change. Patten’s contributions included apresentation on integrated management one of the industry’s most troublesome pests, burrowing shrimp.

Photo by Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service.

We “Mite” Be onto Something:
Bee Pest Monitoring Aids in Treatment Timing

Honey Bee Health Specialist Brandon Hopkins continued his outreach work in training commercial and hobbyist beekeepers how to monitor for the presence of varroa mites in their honey bee colonies. These pest mites play a key role in the spread of Colony Collapse Disorder, a leading culprit in honey bee decline. As a result of Hopkins’ in-field training sessions earlier this year, a large commercial beekeeper conducted a comprehensive monitoring program in the 1st and 2nd quarter. Based on the data this beekeeper generated, Hopkins was able to graph and project the growth of the mite population in the 3rd quarter, providing the beekeeper with a basis for determining the best times to apply treatments to control the mites.

Increasing Awareness of Grafting;
Sweet Science for K-12 Students

Vegetable Horticulture Extension Specialist Carol Miles and her graduate students Pinki Devi and Abigail Attavar continued their outreach activities on vegetable grafting and other topics this summer. Their presentations at the Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center (NWREC) Annual Field Day on July 12, 2018, in Mount Vernon included information on the effect of grafting on watermelon fruit maturity and quality and on selecting Solanaceae and Cucurbitaceae rootstocks to graft vegetables for verticillium wilt resistance.

Miles’ team also presented “Increasing Access to and Application of Vegetable Grafting” on August 2, 2018, at the American Society for Horticultural Science Annual Conference (pdf) held in Washington D.C. July 30 to August 3. The presentation was part of a conference workshop hosted by the USDA SCRI Vegetable Grafting Team and was attended by more than 60 extension specialists from around the U.S.

As part of their outreach program to support K-12 STEM education, Miles, Devi, and Attavar created a lesson for students titled “Measuring Sweetness of Fruit.” This interactive lesson, in which students develop and test their hypotheses regarding the sweetness of different types of fruit, teaches students the concept of refraction, including how to use and read a refractometer. The main objective of this lesson is to foster interest in science, spark ideas regarding the factors that can affect fruit quality, and encourage scientific application to address agricultural issues.