Rhode Island IPM Report, 2020

NEERA meeting: May 12, 2020

Situation: Invasive plant—swallow-worts

Response: Lisa Tewksbury, Alana Russell, and student workers released Hypena opulenta, a biological control agent of swallow-worts in a total of 7 sites in RI, CT, and MA. Adults were released inside cages where they laid eggs; after the eggs hatched the larvae fed for about 2 weeks and then the cages were removed.

Results: Release sites will be checked for establishment in the spring.

Situation: Invasive plant—phragmites

Response: Lisa Tewksbury submitted a petition for release of two species for biocontrol of invasive phragmites, Archanara geminipuncta and Archanara neurica.

Results: The technical advisory group (TAG) approved the petition, and now it moves through the remaining steps of approval though USDA APHIS PPQ and Fish and Wildlife. Pre-release monitoring for insects will be conducted once a permit is approved for biological control of phragmites.

Situation: Invasive insect—lily leaf beetle

Response: Lisa, Alana, and student workers continued to provide lily leaf beetle parasitoids for cooperators in Connecticut, New York, and Washington.

Results: Lily leaf beetle parasitoids are established in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, and are providing control of lily leaf beetle on cultivated lilies. One species, Tetrastichus setifer, is now established in Connecticut and New York.

Situation: Invasive insect—emerald ash borer

Emerald ash borer (EAB) was found in Rhode Island for the first time in 2018.

Response: In 2019 Lisa, Alana, and students set up 25 traps to identify where EAB was in Rhode Island and released parasitoids at one location.

Results: Released 3 species of EAB parasitoids: Oobius agrili, Spathius galinae, and Tetrastichus planipennisi.

Situation: Invasive insects—brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) and spotted lanternfly (SLF)

BMSB is now impacting southern New England including Rhode Island. SLF is another new pest which we began monitoring for in grapes and stone fruits.

Response: Lisa attended the first SLF working group meeting. Alana worked with Penn State to collect SLF specimens and create educational displays for Rhode Island. She provided outreach materials and gave educational presentations on SLF to grower groups and URI Master Gardeners.

Results: Rhode Islanders are being educated about BMSB and SLF. Master Gardeners will assist distributing SLF information around the state with an educational display called the “Master Gardener Kiosk”. We will collect records of individual growers’ pest management efforts to determine outcomes of our programming.

Situation: Invasive insect—winter moth

Response: Heather monitors winter moth populations in Rhode Island and advises fruit growers, landscapers, and plant owners about winter moth management via email newsletters and grower meetings. Biocontrol agent Cyzenis albicans was released throughout Rhode Island from 2011–2017 and their establishment continues to be monitored.

Results: Winter moth population monitoring results in fewer pesticide applications to fruit farms and landscapes than in recent years. Cyzenis albicans has been recovered at most release sites.

Situation: Invasive plants—knapweeds and Japanese knotweed

Two additional biological control of weed projects are in the early stages in Rhode Island.

Response: Lisa has released Larinus obtusus to manage knapweeds and monitor release sites for establishment and impact. We plan to collaborate with Fritzi Grevstad and others to implement Japanese knotweed biological control when the agent, Aphalara itadori is given a permit for release.

Results: TBD

Situation: Invasive plant—mile-a-minute

Response: The URI Biocontrol lab released 4,000 Rhinoncomimus latipes weevils, a biological control agent of mile-a-minute. Since the beginning of the mile-a-minute biological control program over 78,000 weevils have been released.

Results: The weevils have established at every release site and there has been a reduction in seed production at most release sites. The URI biocontrol lab will continue to monitor establishment and impact of Rhinoncomimus latipes weevils.

Situation: Vegetable growers with production issues

Response: Andy Radin, agricultural extension agent, specializes in vegetable crops production, including soil fertility management, irrigation, cultural practices, and insect pest and plant disease management.

Results: Andy produces a newsletter for the grower community, twice per month during the growing season months, and once per month in the winter. Every issue features pest alerts, and often at least one article focuses on specific pests, diseases, or the ailments of a particular crop. This newsletter is emailed to 500 subscribers. Andy also participates in a weekly teleconference with vegetable crops extension professionals throughout New England and New York State. IPM plant protection is the dominant topic of discussion across all crops.

Situation: Fruit growers with production issues

Response: Heather conducts farm visits, newsletters, and grower meetings.

Results: In collaboration with UMass, Heather Faubert participated in four fruit grower twilight meetings in 2019 and two Zoom meetings so far in 2020. These meetings provide growers with appropriate IPM techniques on managing current insect and disease problems and potential future problems.

Situation: Plant disease outbreak—boxwood blight in RI nurseries and landscapes

Response: Heather diagnoses boxwood blight at the URI Plant Protection Clinic; educate landscapers, nursery growers, and general public about boxwood blight.

Results: URI Plant Clinic received 221 boxwood samples in which 74 samples were positive for boxwood blight. Nursery growers, landscapers, and other plant owners were educated on how to recognize and manage this disease through presentations and newsletter articles.