Consistent with some of my father’s visions, my colleagues in the USDA Agricultural Research Service and other research organizations are continuing to find improved and more environmental friendly ways to control insect and other pests.
In addition to further refining the sterile insect technique and developing the parasitoid technology, research is underway on pheromones and other attractants, innovative baits and trapping systems, host genetic resistance through biotechnology as well as conventional breeding methods, classical biological controls, insect mass rearing technology, aerial application technology, and even improved and safer pesticides.
Many of these technologies are being applied in various combinations for area-wide pest management programs or pilot tests now underway. All of these activities involve close partnering with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), other Federal agencies, state and local governments, producer groups, universities, and/or other organizations.
One of the most prominent area-wide programs underway is the boll weevil eradication program in the U.S., hopefully to be successfully concluded in the current decade.
Other examples are area-wide pilot tests directed toward the codling moth in the pacific Northwest, the corn rootworm in the Mid-west, the leafy spurge weed control program in the Northern plains, and fruit flies in Hawaii. Additional area-wide pilot tests directed toward other pest species are being planned and implemented.