Research and Initiatives
Building stronger, safer farms and communities
Through innovative technology and hands-in-the-dirt research, we’re pioneering ecologically resilient pest management practices that lead to safer, more sustainable strategies for managing pests where New Yorkers live, study, work and play.
Fruit Coordinator Juilet Carroll, capped two decades of dedicated service to New York’s fruit and berry growers by receiving the 2021 CALS Research and Extension Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Extension and Outreach.
While the coronavirus ushered in an era of uncertainty, it also brought with it an opportunity to reflect, to prioritize and to plan. At New York State Integrated Pest Management (NYSIPM), we saw firsthand what we’ve really always known—even during times of chaos and confusion, safe and sustainable pest management practices are essential to New York’s farmers, growers, homeowners and schools.
As we pivoted the way we connected with the communities we serve, we also took the time to explore the ways we wanted to engage with those communities moving forward. Through that exploration, we adoptedNYSIPM is adopting five pillars to guide NYSIPM in the months and years to come. NYSIPM will:
- Rebuild ecological resilience through safe and sustainable tools and strategies to manage pests in agricultural, rural and urban systems
- Develop innovative digital tools through a commitment to digital IPM
- Serve as a trusted authority on invasive species prevention and management
- Provide outreach and prevention strategies on pests of public health importance to at-risk communities
- Make essential connections with all New Yorkers, including focused education and outreach with underserved and marginalized communities
These pillars have are given giving our program a renewed purpose over the past year and will undoubtedly help to define and shape our work as we begin to reconnect with those we serve through in-person events, meetings and collaborations. Most importantly; however, they will allow NYSIPM to remain a recognized leader in the fight to protect environments and economies against pests.
Monthly “What’s Bugging You?” webinars
Attended Live Programs
What began as a COVID-era convenience has become an innovative tool for connecting communities with strategies and techniques for combating common household pests.
Viewed Recordings on youtube
Restrictions on in-person gatherings during different phases of the global coronavirus pandemic changed the way extension educators were able to conduct outreach efforts. In response to these changes, NYSIPM launched “What’s Bugging You? First Fridays” (WBYFF), a monthly, virtual series that offers practical solutions to pest problems for general audiences.
WBYFF programs are designed to make IPM a household term and teach people how to address pest problems in ways that minimize environmental, health and economic risks of pests, and the methods used to manage them. In its first year, 824 people attended live, virtual WBYFF programs on topics like getting rid of mice in the home, dealing with pantry moths, selecting pest resistant seeds for gardening, and preventing ants, while another 2804 people viewed recordings of the programs via our Youtube channel.
Each WBYFF program includes an engaging and practical presentation that focuses on actionable items. Thirty-minute segments are divided into a main presentation (20 minutes with time for questions) and an IPM Minute that quickly introduces a topic and action item for the month ahead. These short presentations are ideal lengths for adult learners, and the series connects participants to regional experts in an informal setting, which helps foster trust in science and scientists and introduce attendees to the resources of NYSIPM. A recently added photo competition further encourages the adoption of IPM practices by encouraging attendees to submit a photo of themselves applying the strategies taught during WBYFF events.
Due to the popularity of this effort, a proposal for funding to expand the series was submitted and awarded by the USDA Northeastern IPM Center.
Pretty as a picture
New York’s cut flower industry is blooming! To make sure growers have the newest and best production, marketing and, of course, IPM information, a new cut flower listserv was created in December 2021 and already has over 120 members. For 2022? A webpage and some on-line and in-person programming.
Farmer Rodent Survey
Each year, mice and rats cause costly damage to agricultural production by eating and contaminating products and damaging equipment and buildings. While farmers and growers rely on a variety of techniques products to mitigate loss, many of the available solutions—including certain rodenticides—come with unintentional risks to wildlife and farm animals.
To better understand the rodent control practices being used on farms, NYSIPM, under the direction of educator and renowned rodent expert, Matt Frye Ph.D., surveyed New York ag producers. The initiative confirmed that mice, groundhogs and rats are a significant problem on farms, especially in areas of crop production and storage, and that rodenticides continue to be the most common tool for combating rodent-related loss.
While controlling these pests is a complex field, combining science and skill, nearly 90 percent of farmers said they have never received any training on rodent management, and most respondents to the survey said they rely on the Internet as a primary source of information.
Armed with this knowledge, NYSIPM will now begin the important work of structuring an educational strategy designed to expand awareness and understanding of safe rodent management practices to help protect grower investment and product safety.
Patience pays off when it comes to feeding friendly insects
In the spring of 2018, NYSIPM specialists Betsy Lamb, Brian Eshenaur, and Amara Dunn established small plots of perennial wildflowers and grasses as habitat for beneficial insects (pollinators and natural enemies of pests). For plots established from seed, 2021 was the year they started to see the fruits (and flowers) of their labor. Starting a wildflower meadow from seed requires at least one growing season of weed control (summer 2018), followed by planting seeds in the fall, and then at least two years (2019 and 2020) of mowing four times each year. This prevents annual weeds from going to seed but does not kill perennial wildflowers and grasses. Since the project’s inception, NYSIPM has been sharing information and lessons learned so that farmers and gardeners alike can feed their own friendly insects
Soybean cyst nematode research
The soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is considered the number one pest of economic concern for soybean growers nationally and globally, with the potential to cause up to 30 percent yield loss.
Continuing our collaboration with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), NYSIPM and Cornell Cooperative Extension technicians surveyed 25 soybean fields in 23 counties from June to October 2021, finding SCN in soil samples from eight counties. These findings, combined with previous year’s survey confirm the presence of SCN in 36 counties across the state and underscore the importance of research and integrated pest management outreach efforts.
Slow-motion video speeding-up weed control
Cultivators are a popular tool for controlling herbicide resistant weeds on farms, but their effectiveness can vary widely, and for farmers and growers trying to protect their crops mistakes can be crippling.
In certain conditions, a cultivator may control 100 percent of weeds and leave a crop looking healthy and vibrant. But with a slight change to soil conditions or weather, that same cultivator may damage the crop and merely anger the weeds. Unfortunately, as a cultivator is whizzing through a field, it can be difficult to see its effectiveness. That is where slow-motion video comes in.
As part of a USDA NIFA Crop Protection & Pest Management funded project titled, NYSIPM’s Integrated Weed Management Specialist, Bryan Brown, Ph.D. brought a slow-motion camera to farms across New York State, evaluating 15 different cultivators and providing feedback to farmers about how their cultivator’s performance could be improved.
Farmers and growers were able to review the footage and make essential changes to protect their crops and investment and hundreds of others have benefitted from this important work by watching an educational video about the project on the NYSIPM Youtube channel. The 30-minute video, “Analysis of slow-motion cultivation footage,” has been viewed more than 1500 times and garnered more than 20 messages of gratitude from NY farmers.
“Setting up cultivation equipment is one of our biggest challenges. Videos like these will be very helpful for teaching and refining our practices,” said one viewer.
Long Islanders love a great lawn.
From meticulously manicured landscapes to perfectly imperfect yards, Long Island lawn care is an art, and NYSIPM is happy to make it easier and safer by introducing a bit of science.
“Most people care about the environment, but very few people put those concerns into action. That is where this project comes in,” Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, Ph.D., director of NYSIPM’s Community Program and a life-long Long Island resident, said. “By utilizing a few, simple strategies, we can make a significant impact.”
In partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), NYSIPM has introduced “Our Land, Our Water” (OLOW), a campaign designed to help Long Islanders maintain top-notch lawns while respecting the environment and keeping Long Island’s water supply safe from harmful pesticides and fertilizers.
Easy-to-employ techniques being promoted by OLOW include recycling leaves, mowing high, leaving early season dandelions for pollinators, avoiding the use of early spring fertilizer, leaving clippings on lawns, and practicing smart water use.
OLOW is run by NYSIPM’s turfgrass experts, ecologists, entomologists, and gardeners—experts who love diverse and healthy landscapes and are ready to offer pro tips for low-input, low-maintenance yards that benefit the environment.
Capitalizing on the ick factor
Two decades of dedicated service
Fruit Coordinator Juilet Carroll’s capped two decades of dedicated service to New York’s fruit and berry growers by receiving the 2021 CALS Research and Extension Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Extension and Outreach.
Given in recognition of a team or individual who has demonstrated leadership in developing a highly innovative and responsive extension and outreach program, the award acknowledged Carroll’s dedication to stakeholder support and collaboration.
During her acclaimed career with NYIPM, Carroll led efforts to launch and expand the Network for Environment and Weather Applications (NEWA), developed Trac Software-- an innovative record-keeping tool for growers—produced more than 700 research publications and shared her incredible IPM knowledge with audiences at more than 300 presentations.
Some of Carroll’s most recognized contributions include her research on the European Cherry Fruit Fly and the destructive Spotted-win Drosophila (SWD). While her career with NYSIPM has come to a close, Carroll’s contributions to integrated pest management will continue, as she is currently writing a manuscript on leveraging Ruby-throated hummingbirds to control SWD.
“Julie was an integral member of our program and a tremendous source of institutional knowledge and history. Her presence will be missed, but her contributions and legacy will continue,” said Executive Director Alejandro Calixto.