A University of Wyoming Extension team that changed how grasshopper outbreaks are treated around the world has received the 2018 Western Extension Directors Association Award of Excellence for its efforts.
Prior to 2010, large-scale applications of broad-spectrum pesticide neurotoxins were common.
The University of Wyoming Grasshopper Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Team of entomologists developed an approach in which lower-risk insect growth regulators are applied to rangeland in alternating swaths. This method affects only immature insects (pest grasshopper nymphs) and is benign to honey bees, butterflies and other valuable pollinators.
Since the late 1990s, the UW team has introduced the program in 10 western states and 11 countries through demonstrations, hands-on train-the-trainer workshops, and UW Extension and academic publications. Now it is the preferred option for grasshopper management in the West.
In 2010, a major grasshopper outbreak was averted in Wyoming when reduced agent and area treatments (RAATs) were applied to 6 million acres. The cost was $1.25 per acre and resulted in $14 million savings for the state’s agriculturists.
The extension award recognizes Grasshopper IPM Team leader Alexandre Latchininsky, professor and UW Extension entomologist; and members Scott Schell, assistant extension entomologist; John Connett, IPM specialist; Cindy Legg, Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) database manager; Douglas Smith, Wyoming CAPS coordinator; Lee Noel, former graduate student; and team founder Jeffrey Lockwood, now professor of natural sciences and humanities in the University of Wyoming Department of Philosophy.
The Western Extension Directors Association Awards of Excellence recognize outstanding extension education that addresses contemporary issues in one or more of the 13 Western states and Pacific Island US Territories.
The 2018 award will be presented at the Western Region Joint Summer Meeting in Tamuning, Guam, July 9-12, 2018.