From: From Pennsylvania IPM Program
Published September 15, 2004 07:27 PM

New Early Pest Detection Collaboration to Protect against Invading Species

UNIVERSITY PARK. PA -- Suspect an insect pest is feeding on the leaves of your apple tree? What is that plant taking over your flowerbeds? Answers to questions like these may be easier to find thanks to a proposed statewide collaborative effort.

The Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) arm of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the USDA and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture have begun a dialogue to collaborate with Penn State University and the Penn State IPM Program to promote an innovative education effort. The effort would be supported through an on-going program known as "CAPS," or Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey. It would help to educate the public about how to identify invasive species such as purple loosestrife and brown marmorated stink bugs and learn how to help prevent their spread.

Invasive species are organisms that adapt quickly to a new environment and reproduce and spread rapidly into new locations, often displacing the organisms that were originally there. "Many invasive species are exotic-not native to our environment, while others may be native, but may rapidly reproduce and become a problem," says Gary Clement, state director for APHIS, PPQ. "Plants, animals, insects and pathogens may all become invasive." PPQ works to protect agriculture and natural resources from the risks associated with the introduction and spread of newly introduced exotic organisms.

PPQ recognizes public education and outreach as a critical component of their overall program, which is why they are considering supporting the statewide cooperative. "Education and outreach would go a long way in helping us to focus on rapid detection and identification of invasive species," said Clement.

The educational and outreach program would include the development and distribution of fact sheets, articles in newsletters, and other publications. "Our goal is to be able to better survey the state for invasive species through educating the public," Clement explains.

According to Coanne O'Hearn, national survey coordinator for USDA, APHIS, PPQ, Pennsylvania is part of a nationwide effort to encourage collaboration between state agencies, universities and private industry. "Three years ago we established state, regional and national committees to increase partnerships and involve more stakeholders in CAPS activities," says O'Hearn. "The collaborations will allow us to combine resources and detect pests sooner rather than later." PPQ is also in the process of establishing a program to utilize volunteers in pest detection activities.

According to O'Hearn, states have access to a national database to share information. In addition, PPQ plans to develop capabilities for training state programs such as cooperative extension and volunteer groups in the basic field skills needed to support CAPS early detection activities. "We're trying to be more proactive and together, by coordinating the use of all our resources, we can better protect the nation's food supply," O'Hearn explains.

For more information on the collaboration, contact Clement at (717) 241-0705 or email at

The Pennsylvania IPM program is a collaboration between the Pennsylvania State University and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture aimed at promoting integrated pest management in both agricultural and nonagricultural situations. Integrated pest management, or IPM, aims to manage pests -- such as insects, diseases, weeds and animals -- by combining physical, biological and chemical tactics that are safe, profitable and environmentally compatible. For more information, contact the program at (814) 865-2839, or Web site To view our archived news releases, see Web site


For more information contact:

Kristie Auman-Bauer
Public Relations and Outreach Coordinator
PA IPM Program
501 ASI Building
Penn State University
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 865-2839

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