The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is a US territory just north of the equator in the western Pacific. Farms in the CNMI tend to be a few hectares or less, and consist of mixed vegetable and root crops. Vulnerable freshwater reserves make safe pesticide use a priority for the CNMI. Only people indigenous to the CNMI can own land there. Since gaining commonwealth status in the 1970s, farm owners in the CNMI have tended to hire subsistence farmers from Asia to work their farms rather than farm themselves. Several cultural and linguistic barriers impede the development of IPM programs in the CNMI by US extension personnel. Hired Chinese farmers speak no English, and tend to use pesticides improperly. Unlike other hired farm workers, the Chinese tend to make their own management decisions. Communication is easier with Filipino and Bangladeshi farm workers, but they are for the most part unable to make management decisions (such as reducing pesticide use) without permission from the farm owner. Farm owners typically are employed off-farm, and are difficult to find. All arthropod pests in the CNMI have been introduced. The major pests include melon fly, cucumber beetle, and sweetpotato weevil. Aphids, whiteflies, thrips and mites damage many crops. Horticultural production is not lucrative in the CNMI by US standards, and as a consequence the islands are not serviced by the sales representatives that bring new products and information to growers on the mainland. Overuse of carbamates and organophosphates is common. Northern Marianas College is addressing these technical and cultural obstacles with a scouting and IPM program. Ultimately, proper stewardship of land and resources in the CNMI will depend on decisions made by its indigenous inhabitants.
Species 1: Coleoptera Cucurlionidae Cylas formicarius elegantulus (sweetpotato weevil)
Species 2: Coleoptera Chrysomelidae Aulacophora similis (cucumber beetle)
The ESA 2001 Annual Meeting - 2001: An Entomological Odyssey of ESA