Increasing Ecological Insect Pest Management on Guam Through Building Agriculture Professionals’ Understanding of Semiochemicals
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 sweet potato weevils, Cylas formicarius (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Photos of trapping systems as well as trapping dates were collected and developed into an instruction manual: SEMIOCHEMICAL-BASED TRAPPING METHOD FOR WEEVIL PESTS ON GUAM. This manual was supplied to the Agricultural Professionals on Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands. In the second year, the instruction and field day and evaluation will be carried out.
Phase 1 Course Development:
During this phase of the project general trapping method on Guam will be subjected to various semiochemical-based lures, which characterizes local production. Semiochemical-based trapping methods will be photographed and lures will be evaluated for use. A survey of ten 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 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, ten agriculture professionals using material developed in phase one of this project will be instructed in the benefits and methods of use of the trapping method for all the four weevil pests. Class will meet twice a month in 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 four-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 forum by which the agriculture professionals demonstrate their newfound 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 Guam’s largest two 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 beetle (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 farmers 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 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 feedback on the effectiveness of the program and to evaluate long term gains in their knowledge of semiochemicals and weevil control.
1. Pheromone trapping technique was optimized for the banana root weevil Cosmopolites sordidus; the New Guinea sugarcane weevil, Rhabdoscelus obscurus; and the sweet potato weevils, Cylas formicarius (Coleoptera: Curculionidae).
2. Photos of trapping systems and pest damage symptoms as well as trapping date were collected and developed into an instruction manual titled SEMIOCHEMICAL-BASED TRAPPING METHOD FOR WEEVIL PESTS ON GUAM.
This manual will be supplied soon to the agricultural professionals (15) on Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands.
Additionally, a manuscript was written and submitted for publication to the peer-reviewed journal Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. Reprints will be submitted with the next progress report.
- Manual for the agricultural professionals
- Manuscript submitted for publication a peer reviewed journal
- News about the project appeared in EurekAlert
- News about the project appeared in local news paper
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Ecological pest management through semiochemicals is an area of agricultural production in which Guam’s agriculture professionals need addition training. There is a lack of local knowledge about the role of semiochemicals in pest management. The manual prepared under this project titled SEMIOCHEMICAL-BASED TRAPPING METHOD FOR WEEVIL PESTS ON GUAM distributed to the agriculture professionals had significantly improved their knowledge on the weevils attacking on various crop plants and trapping techniques. Further training will cover the relationship between semiochemical-based trapping methods and overall crop production on Guam for important weevil pests.
Research Leader and Chemist
USDA/ARS, P.O. Box 14565
Gainesville, FL 32604
Office Phone: 3523745855
Cooperative Extension Service, University of Guam
University of Guam, ANR; UOG Station
Mangilao, GU 96923
Office Phone: 6717352091
Northern Marianas College
P.O. Box 501250
Saipan, MP 96950
Office Phone: 6702645498