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Paper shows Extension, research role in identifying new pests

Posted by | January 6, 2017
European Chafer larva recently found infesting lawns in SeaTac.
European Chafer larva recently found infesting lawns in SeaTac, Wash. (Photo by Todd Murray)

Washington State University Extension and the WSU Department of Entomology are significant contributors to detecting exotic pests that threaten Washington’s farms, gardens and forests.

A newly published article in American Entomologist measures the significance of educating stakeholders about threatening pests, and how to identify them. Programs such as Master Gardeners and Pesticide Education have been found to be important in encouraging submission of newly introduced pests for identification and confirmation. In the past 20 years, close to a quarter of all new insect pest detections originated from WSU Extension programs. Others prompted insect sample submissions to the Washington Department of Agriculture. Early detection of newly introduced pests mitigates the damage these pests can cause.

The article was titled Shadow Surveys: How Non-Target Identifications and Citizen Outreach Enhance Exotic Pest Detection.” Todd A. Murray, director of the Agricultural and Natural Resources Extension Program Unit, was a co-author.

Learn more about WSU’s First Detector/Exotic Pest Team here: