Food and Fertilizer Technology Center - publications

Sep. 06, 2007

Area-Wide Management of Insect Pests

The concept of area-wide management of insect pests, in which the total population of a pest in an area or a region is targeted, is central to the effective application of pest control technologies. Insect movement sometimes occurs over long distances. However, most conventional pest control can be described as localized, uncoordinated action against segments of a pest population, resulting very often in an unsustainable spiral of insecticide application and eventual resistance.

Over the last several decades, considerable progress has been achieved worldwide in the development and application of the area-wide approach (AWA) for the suppression and control of key insect pests, making it an important part of integrated pest management (IPM) systems. AWA has been defined as "a long-term planned campaign against a pest insect population in a relatively large pre-defined area with the objective of reducing the insect population to a non-economic status" (Lindquist 2000). While logistically complex and managerially intensive, the AWA requires fewer inputs, and pest control is usually more effective and sustainable. Integrated into IPM, the AWA requires that compatible and environmentally friendly control methods are adapted to the agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions of each specific situation. AWA is applied against an entire pest population within a delimited geographic area. Area-wide intervention strategies require planning and ecological understanding, longer-term commitment, and coordinated implementation by farmers and all other stakeholders.

While many successes on the use of this approach have been recorded, AWA must be explored further in terms of its applicability particularly as integrated into management programs for some key insect pests by small-scale farmers. This international symposium was organized to provide a venue for the sharing and exchange of knowledge, information and technology on area-wide approach especially as an important component of IPM. The symposium addressed and deliberated on: recent trends and approaches in AWA in the Asian and Pacific (ASPAC) region; prospects for the development and extension of AWA and control practices that can be adopted by small-scale farm holders; and research and development programs essential to AWA toward reaching a free status of damage from the target pests in each country.

The Hawaii Area-Wide Fruit FLY Pest Management Program

During the symposium, a group of scientists and extension workers from Hawaii had the opportunity to share their experiences and successes in the implementation of the Hawaii Area-Wide Integrated Pest Management Program. The said Program is a collaborative, public and private partnership model showcasing the success of sharing responsibilities and partnership among different agencies, which other countries in the Asian region can emulate. Targeting four species of economically important tephritid fruit flies occurring in Hawaii, the Program involves research, education and assessment strategies, and consists of six components namely:

  • Population monitoring;
  • Field sanitation;
  • Protein bait;
  • Male annihilation;
  • Sterile insects; and
  • Parasitoid insects

Previous fruit fly control measures in Hawaii relied heavily on the application of organophosphate insecticides to crops. On the other hand, the Program integrated various control components into a comprehensive package that has been economically viable, environmentally acceptable, and sustainable. The program has resulted in area-wide suppression of fruit flies, a reduction in the use of organophosphate insecticides, and the impetus for further growth and development of diversified agriculture in Hawaii.

Country Status on Area-Wide Management

Participants representing seven countries from the Asian region likewise shared and exchanged experiences on improved area-wide management and control techniques, and practical application of the technologies, such as integration with augmentative biological control, mating disruption, or other environment-friendly measures, for adoption by small-scale farmers.

Japan imparted the results of its long experience in the use of AWA to control key insect pests such as: Chilo suppressailis and migratory rice planthoppers in rice; solanaceous fruit fly; sweet potato weevil; and sugarcane wireworm. Some of the techniques developed include: simulation models of population dynamics and biotype evolution for rice planthoppers; a new, three-dimensional backward trajectory analysis method of migration prediction for rice planthoppers; and communication disruption using sex pheromone for the control of sugarcane wireworm.

The oriental fruit fly seriously infests major fruit crops in all parts of Taiwan. Area-wide control program for oriental fruit fly using the attractant methyl eugenol has been conducted for many years, but its population remains at a high level in the field. Culture and protein bait containing spinosad has also been used, while non-chemical efforts are concentrated on: organizing farmers; establishing geological information; monitoring fruit fly density; providing fruit production information; holding training programs; and maintaining orchard sanitation. In Korea, several environment-friendly methods are being carried out such as minimum use of chemicals in fruits and insect attractant like sex pheromones for timely forecasting of major pests and reducing the time of pesticide sprays.

In the Philippines, the Malayan rice black bug, a serious invasive pest of rice affecting some islands, is being managed effectively with the use of biological control agents such as Metarhizium anisopliae, the green muscardine fungus; and Telenomus triptus, the egg parasitoid. In Thailand, the feasibility of using AWA in the control of several insect pests and pest complexes of major economic crops is being determined based on the suitability of the target pests, the implementing agencies responsible, availability of specific area-wide pest management technologies, and the interest and socioeconomic condition of the farmers involved. In Vietnam, the coconut Hispine beetle Brontispa longissima, a very serious insect pest of coconut palms, was successfully controlled in 2003 with the use of the parasitoid Asecodes hispinarm imported from Western Samoa.

Prospects for Awa in Asia

The success of AWA will very much depend on the willingness and vigorous participation of farmers and all stakeholders in ongoing area-wide control programs. Hence, government and private entities alike must be able to provide them proper education/training, hands-on learning and demonstration of successful cases, as well as support services to equip them with the technological and financial resources to enable them to be actively involved in AWA program. Transfer of technologies to end-users, particularly to small-scale farmers, must be done as a collaborative, public and private partnership mission with shared responsibilities among the concerned agencies/authorities.

In most insect pest management programs, the conventional strategies and tactics available are mainly suitable for individual, small to large farmers, whether they will be used as a single component or as an integrated pest management strategy. Any or all such strategies could be integrated into an area-wide pest management system but with a different approach and operational procedure. Each target insect pest or pest complex has a characteristic in itself, and an area-wide pest management program for each must be specifically designed taking into consideration the availability of resources required, human capacity, technology, and implementing authority.

Mechanisms for participation, cooperation and implementation need to be developed at the national and regional levels alike for the maintenance and sustainability of AWA management programs for small-scale farming systems in the Asian region. Government policies, interest of the farmers, and long-term input, effort and commitment of all stakeholders, as well as the socioeconomic condition of the farmers involved are some of the keys to the success of a collaborative mechanism on area-wide pest management.

International Symposium on Area-Wide Management of Insect Pests

Held at the Okinawa Prefectural Agricultural Research Center (OPARC), Okinawa, Japan on October 1-5

No. of countries participating: 7 [Hawaii (USA), Korea, Japan, Philippines, Taiwan ROC, Thailand, and Vietnam]

No. of papers presented: 16

No. of participants: 80

Co-sponsors: OPARC, Okinawa, Japan; National Agricultural Research Center (NARC), Tsukuba, Japan; National Agricultural Research Center for Kyushu Okinawa Region (KONARC), Japan; Okinawa Prefectural Government, Japan;

Council of Agriculture (COA), Taiwan ROC

For further information, contact:

Dr. Te-Yeh Ku, FFTC Technical Consultant

Index of Images

  • Figure 1 Area-Wide Control of Oriental Fruit FLY (<I>Bactrocera Dorsalis</I>) in Taiwan Involving Monitoring of Insect Movement, Adjusting Current Control Strategies for Individual Orchards, and Developing an Action Plan.

    Figure 1 Area-Wide Control of Oriental Fruit FLY ( Bactrocera Dorsalis) in Taiwan Involving Monitoring of Insect Movement, Adjusting Current Control Strategies for Individual Orchards, and Developing an Action Plan.

  • Figure 2 Six Components of the Hawaii Area-Wide Integrated Pest Management Program.

    Figure 2 Six Components of the Hawaii Area-Wide Integrated Pest Management Program.

  • Figure 3 Farmer's Education and Training on Area-Wide Melon FLY Control in Taiwan Using Field Sanitation, Food Bait (GF120), and Male Annihilation.

    Figure 3 Farmer's Education and Training on Area-Wide Melon FLY Control in Taiwan Using Field Sanitation, Food Bait (GF120), and Male Annihilation.

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