Overall, my research program has contributed to a foundation that has allowed the tree fruit industries in Michigan, as well as nationally and internationally, to respond to changes in the availability and efficacy of insecticides in a proactive manner. A substantial portion of my research focuses on reducing reliance on the broad-spectrum insecticides. I have focused special attention on a novel method of control that is commonly referred to as mating disruption. Research conducted with my colleague, Dr. James Miller, has contributed to a greater understanding of the mechanisms by which mating disruption is achieved. A majority of Michigan’s apple, cherry and peach growers now rely on reduced-risk controls for managing arthropod pests. The MI apple acreage treated with mating disruption for codling moth control has risen from 2% to 40% in the past 10 years. Moreover, worldwide reliance on mating disruption for managing codling moth has expanded by 83% in the past 10 years, with over 500,000 acres treated with this environmentally sound tactic. I have actively researched chemical attractants for several insect species in an effort to develop monitoring systems or new controls.
The ability to accurately measure and predict pest activity is fundamental to the successful implementation of IPM.
Current assignment: Teaching 10% | Research 25% | Extension 65%
I do not hold a credit-base instructional assignment, thus my teaching effort focuses on graduate student education, but includes involvement in IPM workshops, guest lecturing, mentoring post-doctoral research associates and advising undergraduate students. During my career I have advised 8 MS and 4 PhD students to completion of their degree.
As Michigan’s Extension Specialist in Tree Fruit Entomology, I am responsible for developing the technology and knowledge base to support the promotion and adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in apple, cherry, peach, pear and plum. The overall aim of my program is to conduct fundamental and applied research that leads to the development of ecologically and economically sound pest management programs. To achieve this, I have obtained the funding and resources necessary to establish a short-and long-term applied research program, while also building a solid basic research program centered on the use of pheromones and other behavior-modifying chemicals for insect control. Most recently, I have focused considerable attention on the biology and management of two invasive pests, spotted wing drosophila and brown marmorated stink bug. I have a robust insecticide evaluation program funded through grants from private companies and competitive grants awarded by apple and cherry commodity groups. The majority of my research on chemical control of fruit pests is working with selective insecticide chemistries to determine how they might fit into apple, cherry or peach IPM programs. I have developed a strong on-farm component to complement other aspects of the insecticide research program at MSU.
The aim of my extension program is to educate growers, scouts, consultants and others involved in the tree fruit industries in IPM practices, including pest and natural enemy ecology, scouting, decision-making, selecting appropriate control tactics and resistance management. I employ a team approach, working with Extension colleagues across a number of disciplines to deliver information to the fruit industries. Findings and recommendations are published in a timely manner in the MSU Pest Management Guide (E-154), MSUE News articles, and MSU IPM and Fruit websites, and presented to grower and industry groups at the major Michigan grower meetings.