IPM Voice Newsletter                               September 2016
In This Issue: Researchers Call for Increase in Diverse Systems-Based Ag Funding; New Discovery May Lead to Novel Mosquito Repellents; Comet-Sniffing Tech Used to Detect Bed Bug Pheromones; 9th International IPM Symposium; Breaking IPM Funding Update
Researchers Call for Increase in Systems-Based, Ecologically Diversified Ag Research, Extension and Economics Funding

A new survey of USDA project funding has found that although more than half of 824 funded projects included at least one component relevant to sustainable agriculture, only five to ten percent emphasized agroecology. Overall funding for projects with sustainable ag components was much lower than the US budget for medical research, and less than USDA funding to address negative impacts of existing conventional systems. The authors assert more investment in ag systems that improve health and environmental outcomes could reduce the need for these alternative investments.

Researchers Liz Carlisle, Albie Miles and Marcia DeLonge examined USDA-funded projects with a 2014 start date, and identified major components related to sustainable and biologically diversified agriculture. They grouped these components into four levels or categories based on their objectives. These included:

Improving system efficiency to reduce the use of inputs (L1), substituting more sustainable inputs and practices into farming systems (L2), redesigning systems based on ecological principles (L3: agroecology), or reestablishing connections between producers and consumers to support a socio-ecological transformation of the food system (L4: social dimensions of agroecology). 

Projects accounted for $294 million in funding, or about 10% of USDA's 2014 Research, Extension and Economics (REE) budget. The authors found that 18-36% went to projects with an L1 component, 24% to projects including L2 components, 15% to L3s and 14% to L4s. Projects with dual L3 and L4 components received only 4% of funds-the authors state, "We estimated that projects with an emphasis on agroecology, indicated by those with a minimum or overall level of L3, represented 5-10% of analyzed funds (equivalent to only 0.6-1.5% of the 2014 REE budget)." The authors conclude that substantial change could occur in mitigating the impacts of current agricultural systems with even a modest increase in sustainable agriculture research and development investment.
The authors contend, "Recent quantitative syntheses and meta-analyses demonstrate that these [agro-ecological] systems can outperform chemically managed monocultures across a wide range of globally important ecosystem services while producing sufficient yields and reducing environmental externalities." Recent studies supporting this contention are cited in the full study report.
Read more on the story of the study at Phys.org. 
New Discovery May Lead to Novel Mosquito Repellents

Researchers have discovered a receptor on the legs of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that could be used to develop a new class of mosquito repellents.  Dr. Patricia Pietrantonio, a research fellow in the entomology department at Texas A&M University-College Station, discovered a kinin receptor on the legs and mouthparts of A. aegypti that, when activated, provokes a rapid aversive response in female mosquitoes.  A. aegypti is the species responsible for transmitting Zika, dengue, yellow fever and Chikungunya viruses.

Dr. Pietrantonio and her team designed a peptide analog (also known as a peptidomimetic) resistant to enzymatic degradation.  This analog is taken up by kinin peptide receptors on A. aegypti's legs. The substance not only blocked sugar perception, but also caused them to quickly fly away.  These receptors were not previously known to be connected with the mosquitoes' sense of taste.


Reducing the ability of female mosquitoes to feed would reduce their lifespan and capacity to reproduce, as a blood meal is needed for them to lay eggs.  Pietrantonio's team is currently investigating the receptors further in hopes of developing a novel effective feeding deterrent.


Read the full study at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and more about this discovery at IPM in the South.
Device Used to Analyze Comets Employed to Detect Bed Bug Pheromones

A British scientist who worked on the European Space Agency's Rosetta comet-landing mission has employed mass spectrometry technology from the mission to detect pheromones emitted by bed bugs. Dr. Taff Morgan, founder of Insect Research Systems at Harwell Campus in Oxford, England, has designed a small handheld detector that employs the same technology used to analyze the chemical composition of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a comet the European Space Agency landed a probe on in August 2014. The detector plugs into a printer-sized mass spectrometer.
As photophobic (light-avoiding) and negatively thigmotactic (contact avoiding) cryptic insects, bed bugs are notoriously proficient at escaping detection, especially at low population levels., Current monitoring tools include sticky monitor traps, pitfall bedpost interceptors, pheromone traps and thorough visual inspection. Bed bug-sniffing canines are also employed, but are known to occasionally provide false positives.
Bed bugs were largely controlled in the past by long-residual pesticides that are no longer allowed for structural pest management in the US due to hazards to humans, but have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. Dr. Morgan hopes that his new device can be used by facility managers and pest management professionals to proactively check rooms for bed bug activity while populations are small and more easily eliminated.
Read more about Dr. Morgan's invention at the Telegraph.
Plan to Attend the Ninth International IPM Symposium in March 2018

The Ninth International IPM Symposium will be held March 18th to 23rd, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. The event will draw experts, practitioners, stakeholders and decision makers in agricultural and structural integrated pest management, facility management and public health for a five-day conference on all things IPM. The theme for this event is IPM: Improving Health, Environment and Global Sustainability. Please stay tuned for information on session speakers, accommodations and sponsorship and exhibit opportunities.  Contact Elaine Wolff, University of Illinois to be included in future announcements and please share this news with your colleagues to add to their calendars.
Breaking IPM Funding Update

Given Congress' failure to pass a Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget, and a Continuing Resolution finally likely, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture hopes to have its IPM-related requests for applications for funding available by mid-January 2017. This is contingent on permission from Congress for agencies to spend as per the FY 2016 budget.
Substantial proposed funding for the mosquito-borne Zika virus would go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and would also likely provide opportunities for IPM approaches.
The Areawide IPM proposal discussed last year, which included ~$75 million in new funding, remains on hold pending completion of FY 2017 appropriations bills.
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Upcoming IPM-Related Meetings and Conferences
October 4-6, 2016. National Forum on Climate and Pests. Washington, D.C. & Online
November 2-5, 2016. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium. Yosemite, CA

March 18-23, 2018.
Ninth International IPM Symposium. Baltimore, MD
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