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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Hilo, Hawaii » Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center » Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research » Research » Research Project #442809

Research Project: Advanced Technologies for Tropical Invasive Pest Management in Hawaii

Location: Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research

Project Number: 2040-22430-027-046-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2022
End Date: Aug 31, 2026

Fruit flies, ants, beetles, moths and other invasive insect pests pose serious and continuing threats to Hawaii and U.S. mainland agriculture. Recent arrivals in Hawaii include the olive fruit fly, coconut rhinoceros beetle, and avocado lace bug. Many of the pests introduced to Hawaii might move from the islands to the U.S. mainland due to high air travel and increasing climatic suitability due to climate change. Collaborative research is needed to address the ongoing impacts of established pests on tropical crops and the looming problems from the more than 20 new insects introduced annually to the Hawaiian Islands. The objectives of this cooperative agreement are to: 1) Develop improved methods or technologies to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to new invasive pests; 2) Address how changes to climate should be incorporated in detection and response programs; 3) Develop new biocontrol options for tropical pests of agricultural importance; 4) Test new postharvest methods to meet phytosanitary requirements; and 5) Identify opportunities for smart-agriculture to aid pest management in Hawaii and adapt existing systems to small, diversified farms.

The approach of this project is to address identification, detection, and distribution of newly invasive pests in a changing climate context via improved surveys, enhanced trapping and baiting strategies, and computer modeling. Biological control strategies will be developed for targeted pests, such as coffee berry borer, macadamia feltid coccid, or avocado lace bug. Relevant impacts of invasive pests and pest control methods on non-target species will be studied. New application of postharvest technologies focused on fruit preservation and pest elimination will be tested. Potential roles for apps, sensors, and models will be investigated. Emphasis is on pests of agricultural importance, including tephritid fruit flies, little fire ants, avocado lace bug, coffee berry borer, macadamia feltid coccid, tropical nut borer, longhorn beetle, mealy bugs, and thrips.