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Areawide pest management: an effective strategy for many pests.

In 1994, the Agricultural Research Service launched an ongoing series of areawide integrated pest management (IPM) projects. Each project was proposed from the field and reviewed by a technical staff. Although each project has research, education, and assessment components, the focus has been to pull together existing technology and research results into an integrated management plan that could be demonstrated for, and transferred to, users. Each project is funded for up to 5 years and then carried on by cooperators, growers, and land owners.

So far, the projects have met or exceeded their goals. All have shown significant reduction in pesticide use and have garnered wide support, ranging from scientific colleagues to individual farmers. This article profiles six areawide IPM projects for fire ants, fruit flies, stored-grain insects, leafy spurge, corn rootworm, and codling moth.

Additional areawide programs were funded in 2001 to tackle lygus bug, Russian wheat and green peach aphids, and melaleuca trees.

Even though the individual projects are time-limited, their success shines through as users continue them without the official infrastructure initially provided by the projects.

One of the most recent ARS-funded areawide projects, which began this May, is part of a long-fought campaign to control the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

The Areawide Suppression of Fire Ant Populations in Pastures is a partnership among ARS, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the University of Florida, and Texas A&M and Oklahoma State universities.

The goal of the project is to demonstrate how to reduce fire ant populations to very low levels by combining strategic pesticide applications with two self-sustaining biocontrol agents from South America: the fire ant-decapitating fly, Pseudacteon tricuspis, and the pathogen Thelohania solenopsae. As scientists introduce these agents, fewer subsequent bait toxicant treatments should be needed to maintain fire ant control, according to Richard Brenner. He is the former head of ARS' Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research Unit at the Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Florida.

Diverse demonstration sites as large as 640 acres in the three states were chosen to represent the range of the fire ant's infestation, according to Brenner. ARS will direct the major activities of the three land-grant universities and other organizations associated with the project for 5 years. ARS will also add a site in Mississippi in 2002.

The fire ant has swept onto the American landscape with an ever-increasing impact. It now infests more than 318 million acres in 12 southeastern states and Puerto Rico. Recently, populations have also become established in California and New Mexico.

"The project should result in reduced livestock and equipment losses from fire ants, increased farm worker safety, and reduced pesticide risk," Brenner says.--By Jim Core, ARS.

This research is part of Arthropod Pests of Animals and Humans, an ARS National Program (#104) described on the World Wide Web at http://www.nps. ars.usda.gov.

For more information on the fire ant program, contact David F. Williams, USDA-ARS Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research Unit, Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, 1600 S.W. 23rd Dr., Gainesville, FL 32608; phone (352) 374-5982, fax (352) 374-5818, e-mail dwilliams@gainesville.usda.ufl.edu.
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Title Annotation:Government Activity; Agricultural Research Service's pest management projects
Comment:Areawide pest management: an effective strategy for many pests.(Agricultural Research Service's pest management projects)(Government Activity)
Author:Core, Jim
Publication:Agricultural Research
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2001
Words:531
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