Insect IPM Protocols for Fresh Cut Peonies: Protecting a New Alaskan Export Crop

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2015: $48,872.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2018
Grant Recipient: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Region: Western
State: Alaska
Principal Investigator:
Gino Graziano
University of Alaska Fairbanks, Cooperative Extension Service

Annual Reports


  • Additional Plants: ornamentals


  • Education and Training: demonstration, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Pest Management: field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management


    Four peony farms from the Fairbanks area (3), and Mat-Su (1) participated in the third year of monitoring for lygus bugs and thrips. The project has a goal of developing IPM protocols for these insects in peony crops. A drop in number of farms participating occurred because the volume of sticky cards was too great for efficient evaluation. In 2017 sampling protocols followed to track the phenology of lygus bugs and aphids and document their abundance in different locations, both from region to region and on a smaller scale from field to border areas. IPM technicians provided supplies and sampling instructions to growers, who then sampled with sticky traps on a weekly basis. Thrips were included in the sampling to contribute to ongoing research at Washington State University.



    Project objectives:

    Prior to this project little information was available to guide peony growers in implementing insect integrated pest management practices. We did not know when insect pests emerged, and what brought them into fields, both of which limit our ability to advise producers on monitoring or managing insect pests. To help establish these IPM protocols and inform producers about their implementation we proposed the following objectives.

    1. Establish IPM protocols for thrips and lygus bugs in peony fields in Alaska,
    2. Train Extension IPM agents and scouts in identification and management of these pests,
    3. Involve growers in on-farm research to develop a seasonal monitoring and management program
    4. Engage growers in a grower-teaching-grower program,
    5. Develop an IPM protocol template and publish two IPM protocols, one for thrips and a second for lygus bugs in Alaska,
    6. Create YouTube videos with growers showing insect identification and associated damage; appropriate field monitoring techniques and best methods of pest control,
    7. Growers, research and Extension agents share experiences at annual peony conference.

    Objectives remained the same throughout the project with the following exceptions.

    4) Growers-teaching-growers was implemented less formally.  Because many growers are spread throughout the state there are few opportunities for growers to teach growers.  We did establish an online course that provides a record of completion but growers did not want to be identified as IPM protocol trainers. These growers involved in the project are able to address questions when farm tours occur, though Extension personnel are at these farm tours.

    6)  YouTube videos were not created due to logistical issues, and we suspected greater utility would emerge from an online tutorial which we created instead of YouTube videos.

    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.