Monday, December 10, 2007 - 9:53 AM

Increasing early detection of invasive species through targeted outreach

Ashley D. Walter,, Purdue University, Entomology, 901 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN

Recent introductions of invasive wood boring insects such as the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle in solid wood packing material cost the public millions of dollars to manage and control. We designed our project to increase early detection of invasive forest pests arriving in North America by training pest management professionals to search for signs of exotic insects in solid wood packing material in warehouses and teaching them how to respond if they encounter something suspicious. We targeted our program to address information gaps determined through field visits, interviews, and surveys and have tested it on several audiences. We determined that a simple modification of practices currently employed by pest management professionals would significantly increase early detection of invasive species. We have developed an on-line course to certify pest management professionals on handling exotic pests. We have also planned a public campaign to create a demand for these services. Wide spread adoption of the suggested procedures will increase the likelihood of detecting newly arrived exotic forest pests before they can escape into the environment.