Pheromones as Tools for Monitoring the Insect Pests in the Northern Plains - Instructive Tools for Agricultural Professionals

Final report for EW18-011

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $73,510.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2021
Grant Recipient: Montana State University
Region: Western
State: Montana
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Michael Ivie
Montana State University-Bozeman
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Project Information


Pheromone-based monitoring is an area of sustainable agricultural production in which Northern
Plains agriculture professionals are in need of additional education and training. Currently,
agricultural professionals have limited knowledge on the use of pheromone-based monitoring
methods for the important insect pests in Northern Plains. Therefore, the goal of this project is to
enhance agriculture professionals’ knowledge and understanding on the role of pheromones in
monitoring programs, also they can use and share the skills to monitor and expand sustainable
management options. The better understanding will be generated by illustrating international cases
and models. This project will be divided into following levels. Level 1 Course Development:
over the period of 18 months a ‘pheromone-based monitoring methods’ manual will be developed.
This manual will incorporate several aspects of pheromone-pest monitoring programs including
theory and practice, pros and cons, and pheromone trapping methods extracted from international,
national and local information available on this subject. The pheromone trapping data from our
research on wheat stem sawflies, wheat midges, pea leaf weevils and wheat head armyworms will
also be added into the manual. Level 2 Instruction: for four months 25 agriculture professionals
will be trained on pheromone-based educational materials that have been developed at ‘Level 1’
as the part of this project. The instruction methods will be based on lecture, group discussion,
demonstration and field visits. Level 3 Field day and Evaluation: Agriculture professional
apprentices will host a field day for farmers and the general public. Two months after this program
participants will meet and provide feed-back on the effectiveness of the project and discuss long
term gains in their knowledge and utilization of this subject. A user friendly chart will be created
for local crops and their insect pests, on the basis of existing global and local information.

Project Objectives:

Objective 1: Course Development: A pheromone-based pest monitoring manual, including global
examples relevant for Northern Plain’s farming communities will be developed. This manual will
emphasize several aspects of pheromone-pest monitoring programs such as: theory and practice,
pros and cons, pheromone trapping methods and the integration of this method with other pest
management programs.
- Design the content of manual (October 2018 to November 2018)
- Collection of data on role of different pheromone traps, lures, height, color, maximum radius
of attraction and replacement of the lures and placement of traps on the success of pheromonebased
pest monitoring, selection of pheromone traps on the basis of insect category (December
2018 to June 2019)
- Collection of data on how the pheromone-based pest monitoring can be integrated with other
pest management programs (July to September 2019)
- Combine all the teaching materials into one manual (October to December 2019)
- Print training manual (December 2019 to January 2020)
Currently available material on this subject highlighting examples from other parts of the world
will also be supplied to the trainees.
Objective 2: Instruction: Materials developed in phase one of the project will be used during
instruction in of pheromone-based pest monitoring programs. The instruction methods will be
based on such as: lecture, small group discussion, demonstration of pheromone trapping materials
and field visits.
-Lectures (January to April 2020)
-Field visits (May to July 2020)
-Data collection (May to July 2020)
Objective 3: Field Day and Evaluation: Agriculture professionals will host a field day for growers
and the general public at the research center. Two months after the field day the agriculture
3 professionals will meet and provide feed-back to the PI on the effectiveness of the project and
evaluate long term gains in their knowledge through the adoption of a pheromone-based pest
monitoring program.
-Field day (July 2020)
-Follow-up farm survey (August 2020)
-Follow-up review of agricultural professionals (September 2020)

Because of departure of Anamika Sharma and the onset of COVID restrictions, the July 2020 Field Day was canceled and therefore the follow ups did not occur.


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Educational approach:

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Newsletter articles published in local news paper read by farmers, researchers and extension people

To make the readers aware of the research activities occurring at the Western Triangle Agriculture Research Center.

Outcomes and impacts:

Field day activities at WTARC, Conrad and Knees gathered more than 150 audiences including growers, extension agents, and researchers. This allowed us to extend research activities to the outsiders and also allowed us to share the mutual information.

A professional development program (PDP) workshop was conducted at the Holiday Inn, Great Falls from March 7 to 8, 2019. The workshop was attended by 35 people including 10 speakers. The workshop agenda is available at the link, 

Educational & Outreach Activities

20 Consultations
1 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
1 Journal articles
2 On-farm demonstrations
7 Published press articles, newsletters
2 Tours
6 Webinars / talks / presentations
2 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

30 Extension
7 Researchers
150 Farmers/ranchers
6 Others

Learning Outcomes

200 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
12 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

2 Grants received that built upon this project
6 New working collaborations
Project outcomes:
  1. The information obtained under this project was shared with local farmers and extension agents through field days and our regular survey trips. 
  2. The information obtained on pea leaf weevil was published in a peer review journal. 
  3. The information was published in the local newspapers (Traders Dispatch, Prairie Star and ESA) which has a high circulation among growers, extension agents, and researchers. 
Additional Outcomes:
  1. During COVID restrictions we broadened our audience because on-farm workshops were prohibited.  A research faculty member, 4 graduate students and 2  undergrads participated in field and laboratory pheromone trapping using a variety of materials.
  2. 2 PhD students finished their dissertations after training under this program.
Success stories:
  1. The Montana pest web developed for wheat midge, alfalfa weevil and cutworms is highly appreciated by local wheat growers from around the state, especially Golden Triangle Area of Montana. This pest-web, enabled them to understand the monitoring of wheat midge and through observing us growers learned about scouting techniques of wheat midge.  
  2. The pulse producers from Montana and neighboring states highly appreciated the efforts made to monitor pea leaf weevil through pheromone traps. Growers mentioned that 'they look forward to implementing pheromone traps for this pest in their field'. 

Information Products

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.