IPM Voice Newsletter                                                                                                             March 2015

EPA Proposes Increasing IPM to Combat Corn Rootworm Resistance

On January 28th, 2015 US EPA released a proposal which included five mitigation measures to address corn rootworm resistance in the Midwest. Many corn growers have adopted the use of corn varieties genetically engineered to produce Bacillus thuringensis (Bt). The benefits of Bt corn and other plant-incorporated protectants are that they reduce the amount of conventional pesticides required, lowering applicator and environmental hazards. However, overuse of this technology is genetically selecting for rootworms resistant to Bt, particularly in the rootworm "red zone" encompassing portions of IA, IL, NE, western IN, southwestern WI, southern MN and eastern SD.


This EPA proposal seeks to maximize the effectiveness and longevity of Bt pest control of CRW through five key measures:

  1. Utilize IPM approach to rootworm resistance management.
  2. Implement proactive strategy to detect unexpected damage.
  3. Remove random sampling from annual monitoring requirement in the Corn Belt.
  4. Adopt on-plant assay methodology for resistance confirmation.
  5. Enhance current remedial action plans.

Download the complete proposal  here for more detail. EPA is seeking input from all affected stakeholders including corn growers, industry, academia and the general public via a public comment period with a new extended deadline of April 15, 2015. To view others' comments or submit your own, visit regulations.gov

NBC Story Highlights IPM in Wake of New Findings of Bubonic Plague-Carrying Fleas

On March 2, the Journal of Medical Entomology published research that found oriental rat fleas, key historic transmitters of bubonic plague, on 30% of rats sampled in New York City. A flurry of media stories ensued with sensational titles proclaiming the return of the Black Death, but Alan Boyle, the science editor for NBC News Digital, dispelled misconceptions about the implications of the research and encouraged residents to consider this as a wake-up call to address rodent problems in their own homes.


The article clarifies that while the rats in this study had increased levels of oriental rat fleas compared to the last recorded levels in the 1920s; the bacteria Yersinia pestis which causes plague was not present in any of those fleas. Instead, the study's author Matthew Frye, urban entomologist with the New York State IPM Program, and Boyle highlighted the importance of existing public health measures that prevent bubonic plague from becoming a serious threat. Frye reported, "In this age of modern medicine, I think New Yorkers are safe from an outbreak of plague ... However, I think it is important that people take rodents more seriously as public health pests. Mice and rats living in someone's home should be viewed as a serious problem."


The article contains links to New York State IPM Program and New York City Department of Health and Mental Health resources to address rodent pests in residences and businesses, and recommends IPM measures such as removing food and water and blocking entry points for rodents. The author closed with this thought: "If nothing else, the buzz over New York's rats - and the potentially dangerous pests they harbor - should serve as a wakeup call to get our own houses in order." Read the full story here

RNA Interference Proven an Effective Control for Colorado Potato Beetle

Two research teams from institutions in Germany teamed up to test the viability of using RNA interference in crops for pests such as the Colorado potato beetle which have developed resistance to multiple insecticides. At the cellular level, a complicated set of RNA processes inhibit or enable virus transmission. Many viral pathogens transmit by injecting genetic information into host cells as double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). An organism's RNA interference system recognizes dsRNA as a threat and chops it up into small pieces known as small interfering RNA; these seek out and destroy foreign dsRNA.


Scientists have sought to use these natural RNA processes to create offensive mechanisms in plants. The idea is to modify plants to create dsRNA which debilitate essential pest genes when pests feed on the plant. Past attempts have shown limited success because the plant's own RNA interference systems prevent sufficient levels of dsRNA from accumulating in the plant tissue. Scientists in this study sought to overcome this hurdle by modifying the genome of plant chloroplasts to create dsRNA. Chloroplasts provide a better environment for dsRNA production because they lack an RNA interference system. In feeding trials using Colorado potato beetles, potato leaves with modified RNA procedures in chloroplasts were significantly less damaged than unmodified leaves. This technology could provide a precise and potent solution to insect problems that uses neither chemicals nor production of foreign proteins in the plant. Read more about this trial here.

Join us at the IPM Symposium!

IPM Voice will have a poster on display at the IPM Symposium Salt Lake City. Poster authors will be present from 5:30-7:00 pm on Tuesday March 24th and Wednesday March 25th. Visit us to pick up membership cards to distribute to individuals in your networks who may be interested in supporting our work. The volunteer board of IPM Voice will also be holding a meeting during the Symposium from 7:00-8:15 am on Wednesday March 25th.


If you haven't already done so, renew your IPM Voice membership for 2015 (or become a new member) and check out our new donation options by visiting https://ipmvoice.org/join.htm

Upcoming IPM-Related Meetings and Conferences

March 23-26, 2015.  Eighth International IPM Symposium. Salt Lake City, UT

April 19-21, 2015. PestWorld East. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

May 13-16, 2015. The 20th Penn State Plant Biology Symposium. University Park, PA

May 14-16, 2015. An AFRI NIFA Sponsored Workshop: Enhancing Risk Index Driven Decision Tools for Managing Insect Transmitted Plant Pathogens. Davis, CA

August 9-13, 2015. International Congress on Invertebrate Pathology and Microbial Control and the 48th Annual meeting of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology. Vancouver, Canada 

August 24-27, 2015.  The XVII International Plant Protection Congress. Berlin, Germany

October 19-22, 2015. ESBCP 2-15, the Fourth Regional Conference of Applied Biological Control of Pests. Cairo, Egypt.

November 15-18, 2015. Entomology 2015, Synergy in Science: Partnering for Solutions. Minneapolis, MN 

IPM Voice is an independent, non-profit organization advocating for integrated pest management (IPM) that is genuinely progressive and seeks continuous improvement of environmental, social and economic conditions through application of accepted scientific principles.  IPM Voice was formed in 2010 by more than 35 professionals working to expand the benefits IPM has provided to agriculture and communities for more than 40 years.

IPM Voice, Inc. / 1020 Regent Street  Madison, Wisconsin 53715 / 608-232-1410 / www.ipmvoice.org