Increasing Ecological Insect Pest Management on Guam Through Building Agriculture Professionals’ Understanding of Semiochemicals

Project Overview

EW09-012
Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2009: $59,990.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Western
State: Guam
Principal Investigator:
Gadi V.P. Reddy, Ph.D.
University of Guam
Co-Investigators:
Dr. Michael Ivie
Montana State University-Bozeman

Annual Reports

Commodities

  • Agronomic: sugarcane
  • Fruits: bananas
  • Vegetables: sweet potatoes
  • Additional Plants: ornamentals, trees

Practices

  • Animal Production: preventive practices
  • Crop Production: food product quality/safety
  • Farm Business Management: farm-to-institution
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, wildlife
  • Pest Management: biorational pesticides, integrated pest management, mating disruption, prevention, traps
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Sustainable Communities: public participation, urban agriculture, sustainability measures

    Abstract:

    Phase 1 Course Development: over the course of 18 months, semiochemical-based trapping methods were developed for the control of the banana weevil, Cosmopolites sordidus, the New Guinea sugarcane weevil, Rhabdoscelus obscurus, and the sweetpotato weevil, Cylas formicarius (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Photos of trapping systems as well as trapping dates were collected and developed into an instruction manual titled: SEMIOCHEMICAL-BASED TRAPPING METHOD FOR WEEVIL PESTS ON GUAM. This manual was supplied to the Agricultural Professionals on Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands. During the second year, the Instruction, Field day and Evaluation were carried out.

    Project objectives:

    Phase 1 Course Development: During this phase of the project, general trapping methods on Guam will be subjected to various semiochemical-based lures, which characterizes local production. The semiochemical-based trapping method will be photographed and lures will be evaluated for use. A survey of 10 farms will be conducted to evaluate current growers’ knowledge and farm practices. Crops will be evaluated for the nature of pest damage and symptoms based on the semiochemical-based trapping method. A follow-up survey will be conducted on these same farms at the end of the project to evaluate the impact of the capacity building on agriculture professionals and the impact the field day had on their knowledge and practices. The guide will cover the relationship between semiochemicals and overall crop production/health on Guam for the four different methods.
    Phase 2 Instruction: For four months, 10 agriculture professionals using material developed in phase one of this project, will be instructed in the benefits and method of use of the trapping method for all the four weevil pests. Class will meet twice a month for three hour sessions. Participants from each of the agencies that advise farmers on semiochemical issues will be selected: University Cooperative Extension Service, Guam Department of Agriculture, National Resource Conservation Service, and University faculty and staff. The pool of participants will be drawn from various disciplines: entomology, horticulture, agronomy, and 4-H. At least one of the participants will be from the private sector, an individual that is directly involved with application and evaluation of the requirements on a daily basis for clientele. A holistic approach to instruction will be taken. First, the instruction manual will be thoroughly studied. Students will be given hands-on field experience and tested with real world problems. Finally, at the end of the 4 month program, the students will host a field day where they will have an opportunity to demonstrate their skills to the growers and the general public. Different trap designs and semiochemical lures as well as appropriate trapping methods will be used. Participants will develop, maintain, and collect data on field demonstration plots that simulate real problems on Guam. Plots amended with various traps will be evaluated for crop health, symptoms, and insect pests. These plots will be a part of the field day demonstration, which the participants will host for growers and the public.
    Phase 3 Field Day and Evaluation: Agriculture professional trainees will host a field day for growers and the general public. The inclusion of the field day into this project provides a form by which the agriculture professionals demonstrate their new found knowledge and can begin the process of educating the farming community and the general public. The field day also provides the farming community a chance to see firsthand the benefits and cost savings of proper trap designs. Funds will be dedicated within the project to bring one agriculture professional from Saipan and Rota, which are two of Guam’s largest neighboring islands. Additionally, Dr. Robert K. Vander Meer, Research Leader at USDA-ARS, Gainesville will be invited to give a special lecture on the use of semiochemicals in monitoring and more effective control of invasive pest ants and Rhinoceros beetles (Oryctus rhinoceros (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) that threaten agriculture and the ecology of Guam. The project will be evaluated by means of a farm survey and testing by participating agriculture professionals. Two months after the field day, a follow-up survey of the farms visited during the course development phase of the project will be conducted to evaluate the impact of the capacity building of Guam’s agriculture professionals and the impact the project’s field day had on their knowledge and practices. Also, within this period of time the agriculture professionals will meet one more time to provide feed-back on the effectiveness of the program and to evaluate long term gains in their knowledge of semiochemicals and weevil control.

    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.