Identification of newly introduced pests and adoption of new management strategies are measurable impacts. With the introduction of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) and Spotted Winged Drosophila (SWD), team members Gwen Hoheisel and Mike Bush developed workshops for fruit growers that increased grower skill and knowledge. After workshops, 2% of the participants said they felt “fairly” confident in identifying SWD, while 98% and 100% were “very” confident in identification of SWD and BMSB, respectively. A similar trend was measured with Master Gardeners and WSU PEP participants when trained to identify native versus exotic pests. Eighty-five percent of the class participants surveyed could distinguish between exotic Asian Longhorned beetles and native beetles, and 89% could distinguish between the newly introduced Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and endemic stink bugs. Ninety-four percent now know how to report and submit suspect exotic insects after receiving training.
Since 1991, 67 exotic invertebrate pests have been detected in the state. Twenty-four of these (36%) were first detected by private citizens, underscoring the value of these outreach and education programs. Fifteen species (22%) were detected as a result of WSU Extension programming, which included presentations and material developed by WSU and WSDA. Diverse points of contact between the public and collaborating team members ensure that information moves freely to and from the public, and the collaborative Exotic Pest Team allows rapid communication across programs with distinct missions.
The introduction of BMSB to the region illustrates the effectiveness of the team. BMSB was first discovered in the Pacific Northwest in 2004 in Portland, Oregon. Based on its imminent spread into Washington, the team strategically issued press releases in southwest Washington to encourage citizens to search for this pest; a private citizen then discovered it in 2010. Since then, through outreach materials, trained stakeholders, and press releases we have documented the spread of BMSB into eleven counties via submissions to Master Gardener clinics, WSU Extension offices, and the WSDA Exotic Pest Lab. In addition, a new state record for the southern green stink bug, Nezara viridula, was discovered at damaging levels in King County. By integrating expertise and collaboration, the team increased the pool of exotic pest detectives and created a shared focal point for each program.
“With regular introductions of exotic pests, it is paramount that the Exotic Pest Team continue to deliver the information and research that helps WSDA stay abreast of exotic pest issues and marshal the resources of our diverse citizenry to help us respond to exotic pest issues.” - Dr. Brad White, assistant director, WSDA
Exotic Pest Team Members
Gwen Hohiesel, Sharon Collman, David Pehling, and Mike Bush (WSU Extension educators); Chris Looney and Eric LaGasa (Washington State Department of Agriculture Pest Program); Rich Zack (WSU Entomology, M.T. James Museum); Nicole Martini (WSU Master Gardener Program); Jenny Glass and Rachel Bomberger (WSU Plant & Insect Diagnostic Lab and WSU Plant & Pest Diagnostic eNetwork), Catherine Daniels (WSU Web Team); Carol Black, Carrie Foss, and Becky Maguire (WSU Urban IPM and Pesticide Education Program); and Justin Bush (Washington Invasive Species Council).
For more information, please contact Todd A. Murray, Director, Agricultural and Natural Resources Extension Program Unit, WSU College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, Hulbert Hall, Room 411, PO Box 646248, Pullman, WA 99164-6248, (509) 335-8744, or firstname.lastname@example.org.