Team members who develop innovative grasshopper control methods for public use have received the University of Wyoming Extension Creative Excellence Award.
Members of the UW Extension Entomology Grasshopper Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Team, Alexandre Latchininsky, Scott Schell, John Connett, Douglas Smith, Cindy Legg, and Lee Noel, have applied entomological research to forecasting and control.
UW entomologists began to explore efficient, economical, and less hazardous methods for grasshopper control in the 1990s under the leadership of Professor Jeff Lockwood. Now their integrated pest management methods have been adopted in 17 Western states and in countries from Mexico and Argentina to Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Australia, notes UW Extension Associate Director Kelly Crane, who presented the award in Laramie in December.
The team issued an early warning in 2010 for a significant grasshopper outbreak in Wyoming. They established a communication strategy and delivered training and information to more than 900 landowners and various public agencies through workshops and public meetings.
State-level grasshopper response in Wyoming was the largest in the U.S. According to USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Plant Protection and Quarantine program, methods developed by the team resulted in protection of nearly six million acres. Savings to Wyoming were estimated to be $11.6 million.
In a letter of recommendation, Professor Furkat Gapparov of the Uzbek Institute of Plant Protection of the Republic of Uzbekistan Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources stated, “In order to protect rangeland and crops from severe losses to locusts and grasshoppers, most countries are using tons of toxic pesticides applied to millions of hectares. This is costly, often inefficient, and has enormous negative impact on human health and the environment.
“For two decades, Dr. Latchininsky’s team has provided worldwide leadership developing creative, efficient, economically viable, and environmentally acceptable strategies for locust and grasshopper management,” he says.