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The nuts and bolts of scouting

Scouting is the backbone of integrated pest management (IPM) programs. It involves the regular inspection of plants, surrounding areas, and detection tools such as sticky traps for pests and other problems. Pests that are monitored in scouting programs include insects and other invertebrates, weeds, pathogens, nematodes and vertebrates. Natural enemies (beneficial organisms) may also be monitored. The scout is the person who does the monitoring, keeps records and summarizes monitoring information. The scout locates specific sites of infestation and identifies the type of problem, pest levels and stage in the life cycle. Monitoring data collected by the scout over time is used to determine if pest populations are increasing, decreasing, or staying the same. This data is used along with threshold levels to time the application of pesticides and other control actions. A threshold is the level at which plant injury or pest population size is sufficient to warrant control action; below this level the presence of pests and the amount of damage can be tolerated. After applying a pest management control action, monitoring data is used to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment.

In this introductory article, Julie Newman will describe the benefits and economics of scouting, qualities of a good scout, the relationship between scouts and the IPM team, and scouting methods that generally apply to all types of pests and beneficial organisms.

Read more at UCNFA

Publication date: 12/20/2016



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