Posts Tagged ‘invasive pests’

Online IPM Modules for Master Gardeners- A New Educational Tool

Friday, March 15th, 2013
Basil plant heavily infected with basil downy mildew (Picture by Bruce Watt, University of Maine,

Basil plant heavily infected with
basil downy mildew (Picture by Bruce Watt,
University of Maine,

Need to brush up on your pests to answer client garden questions?

Learn about newly emerging or persistent plant diseases and insect problems in the home landscape with the NEW University of Illinois Extension Online IPM modules. These modules are designed for Extension Master Gardeners but can be used by home gardeners and green industry professionals.

Eight Self-paced Online IPM Modules

Eight online IPM modules are currently available, covering landscape pest and problems such as:

  • Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
  • Thousand Canker Disease
  • Spruce Problems
  • Downy Mildew on Impatiens,  and more.
  • Bacterial Leaf Scorch
  • Sudden Oak Death
  • Emerald Ash Borer
  • Bur Oak Blight

Module Quick-Facts

Each module is self-paced and contains information and pictures about the pest or pathogen, host plants, symptoms, diagnosis, management and much more. Here we answer a few common questions you may have:

  • Can I earn continuing ed (CE) credits for each module? Each module provides about  1/2  hour of continuing education for Illinois Master Gardeners.
  • Will the CE credit apply in my state? Check with your local coordinator to be sure these modules fulfill the educational requirements in your county and state. (As mentioned, the modules are also a great resource to answer client questions in the office.)
  • How will I get a certificate of completion? After completion of the module content, a short quiz should be completed. Participants must receive a perfect score on the quiz before completing a brief evaluation and then printing a certificate of completion.
  • Is there a charge? The course is free of charge, but participants must register and create a login and password.

The modules were written by University of Illinois plant pathologists and entomologists and more modules are currently under construction. Evaluations show that Master Gardeners value this new easy tool for completing educational hours while staying abreast of current landscape pests and pathogens.

Want to see what a module looks like? View the brown marmorated stink bug example below or directly access these Online IPM modules at

Example of IPM Online Module

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, University of Illinois IPM Module Example

– Monica David, University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener Coordinator

New Invasive Species Website Developed with Extension Master Gardeners in Mind

Saturday, February 25th, 2012
Invasive Species CoP Image- eXtension

Invasive Species CoP Website within eXtension

We are excited to announce that the new Invasive Species Community of Practice (CoP) web page in eXtension will be officially launched on February 26th, the first day of National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW). A team of educators from land grant and sea grant universities across the nation have worked together for over a year to create this resource for Master Gardeners, County Extension Agents and staff as well as others.

Master Gardeners Surveyed to Develop New Invasive Species Resources

Our goal was to create a resource for reliable, current, and science based information on invasive species that is easily accessible and easy to use. The first thing we did was to conduct a survey of state Master Gardener Coordinators and Master Gardeners from across the U.S. 196 people participated in the survey.

We asked what type of information would be most useful to Master Gardeners. Good images ranked number one, with information pages coming in a close second. Frequently asked questions (FAQs), Ask an Expert (AaE) and invasive species mapping were also included. Although the Invasive Species CoP focus has been on invasive plant species, all types of invasive species will be included over time at the Invasive Species web page in eXtension.

Invasive Species Profiles: Combining Facts, Photos, Mapping, and More in an Easy-to-Use Resource

Invasive Species Images

Aquatic Invasive Species: Potamogeton crispus, Curlyleaf Pondweed. (Photo: Graves Lovell, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources,

We also sought advice from Master Gardeners as we were creating the format for the invasive species profiles. Each species has its own profile page, includes:

  • Basic information
  • Images with descriptions
  • Where to report an infestation
  • Learning materials (such as ID cards for field use)
  • Images of native species that resemble the invasive
  • Links to information from universities across the U.S, so that relevant information for each region can be found; and more.

The format for each invasive species profile is simple and straightforward, with every profile being laid out the same way.  You can quickly scan down the profile to find the specific information you are looking for on an invasive species.

What can you do to be part of this Invasive Species CoP education effort?

Now that we’ve launched the Invasive Species CoP educational effort, we would like to ask for your help yet again. Listed below are some ways you can help. Contact me,  Karan Rawlins with information you wish to contribute about Invasive Species CoP or if you have any other questions or comments about these resources.

  1. If you have images for an invasive species or images for a native species that resembles an invasive please submit them to Bugwood Image Database.
  2. If you know of native species in your area that resembles an invasive and it is not listed please let us know so we can add them.
  3. If you know of invasive species related events, like training or management projects, please let us know so we can post them on the Invasive Species CoP calendar for everyone.
  4. If you know of additional resources we can link to, especially educational resources related to invasive species. Resources for professionals, volunteers and children are all welcome.
  5. If you have ideas on how we can make the Invasive Species CoP information better, please let us know.

Last but definitely not least, the Invasive species CoP team would like to say, “Thank You!” to all the Master Gardeners around the country whose contributions to this project have been invaluable.

by Karan Rawlins
Invasive Species Coordinator
eXtension Invasive Species CoP and
Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health
University of Georgia

Answering Minnesota Japanese Beetle Questions in 2011

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Japanese Beetles

Japanese Beetles

The Minnesota Master Gardener eXtension “Ask an Expert” form for submitting home gardening questions will get nearly the same questions every year,  like clockwork, depending on the month and time of the year. This year, in Minnesota, the Japanese beetle questions coming into Ask an Expert were  four times the normal amount, (2009 and 2010 we had 5 and 6 questions, respectively; and this year, 2011, we had 24 questions), continuing into late August.

Japanese Beetle Presence In Minnesota

In Japanese Beetle Q & A University of Minnesota Extension entomologist, Jeff Hahn reported that, as of 2005, Minnesota began receiving noticeably more calls and e-mails on JB. Each year the questions gradually increased and by 2009, Japanese Beetle had been found in 27 counties, primarily in the Twin Cites and the southeast and south central regions of the state.

This trend seems to continue as we’ve seen an increased amount of phone calls and Ask an Expert submissions in Minnesota this year.  In 2011 Japanese beetle questions started coming into Minnesota’s Ask an Expert from the second week of July, going into September; with most of the questions coming from the Twin Cities and it’s suburbs.

Why more questions this year?

So why the increase in Japanese beetle questions this year? Are more people noticing Japanese Beetles and asking questions from recent education efforts? Was the cold, wet spring conducive to Japanese Beetle egg and grub development this summer?

As of now, it is hard to pin point exactly why the numbers of questions have increased this year, other than the fact that we know they have continued to increase in Minnesota for several years. As Master Gardener responding to questions through Ask an Expert, we’ll continue to track the incoming questions in future years to help provide more information about Japanese Beetles in Minnesota.

Did you answer Japanese beetle hotline questions this year?

Japanese beetle ranges throughout most of Eastern and Mid-western states, extending into parts of the south, see Japanese beetles in Minnesota for more information. As an Extension Master Gardener, it would be interesting to compare geographical locations or areas to see how the incoming questions compare from hotlines, emails, and “Ask an Expert” from across the different states this year.

We welcome comments below and would enjoy input from our Extension Master Gardeners from different states –  did you have Japanese Beetle calls or other abundance pest problems this year?

Patty Citrowske – University of Minnesota Yellow Medicine County Master Gardener

Japanese Beetle Lifecycle and Management: Up Close and Virtual?

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Learning life cycles for managing pests

Japanese beetle

Japanese beetle adults

As someone who sees the value in learning plant and pest life cycles as a method of knowing when and how to manage plant problems in the garden, I very much value life cycle diagrams. However,  despite seeing many of them through PowerPoint slides or handouts in years of undergraduate or graduate school, I just can’t seem to commit very many to long-term memory, unless of course, I learn them and then apply them to my practices in the garden nearly immediately.

Unfortunately, where I live, the growing season is short, winters long, and sometimes it works better for me, logistically, if I do the bulk of my reading, homework, or learning of new gardening concepts, ideas, and strategies in the winter. This way I can devote most of my time to applying that knowledge in the garden once summer is here.

Virtual Worlds:  3D Immersive Learning Environments

Image of YouTube video: Life cycle of Japanese Beetle

Under a lawn in a 3D Immersive Japanese beetle grub habitat (Show here: part 2 in Japanese Beetle Lifecycle YouTube series)

Fortunately for me, new 3D virtual learning environments are emerging as new educational tools. These virtual environments can be really helpful for triggering new understanding, memory, and even behavior change (see the April 8, Stanford Report:  New virtual reality research – and a new lab – at Stanford).

With the help of LuAnn Phillips, eXtension’s virtual world’s coordinator, Penn State extension educator, Jeff Fowler, has immersed himself in teaching through a virtual Japanese beetle exhibit. This exhibit is found in a virtual world called Second Life. Second Life  is gaining recognition for becoming a rich, immersive learning environment. While the masses may not all be ready to download the software required to move an avatar around in a virtual world, videos of instructors interacting within the virtual world can be captured to help create simulations for learners that make online instruction look and feel, well – real.

Lifecycle of the Japanese Beetle in Second Life captured on YouTube

Phillips and Folwer have captured several learning interactions in a four-part YouTube video series, titled: Japanese Beetle Lifecycle. His resources are targeted for gardeners and yard managers in the Northeastern United States (so in viewing these resources, if you’re not from the Northeast U.S. you’ll also want to check your local state or county extension office on Japanese beetle biology and management specific to your area or view the USDA APHIS, Japanese Beetle web page).

To understand exactly why a virtual world caught on video can be a such great educational moment , you must visit part 2: Viewing a grub habitat and lifecycle stages. It’s here where Fowler takes you underground to look at beetle grubs feeding on the turfgrass roots. This is something that is nearly impossible to view in real life, but is an exceptional learning opportunity in Second Life (in my opinion, anyway).

Check out the Lifecycle of the Japanese Beetle videos, parts 1-4, up close and virtual:

Video these videos, using the link, or by clicking on the embedded YouTube video below:

What do you think?

What do you think? Can you see this learning environment as something that may be useful in teaching or learning for another topic or subject?

Interested in going to the 3D Japanese Beetle Lifecycle Exhibit in Second Life?

If you would like to see the Japanese Beetle exhibit shown in the YouTube videos above, you can go there using your own avatar. LuAnn Phillips says all you’ll need is a free Second Life user account. Go to (this link takes you directly to the Japanese beetle entrance) and follow the online instructions. Need help getting started in Second Life? Email eXtension’s Second Life, mentor at

Karen Jeannette
eXtension Consumer Horticulture Content Coordinator

EAB Monitoring and Management Online Course

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

A few weeks ago, we learned about EAB University hosting live and recorded webinars available to Extension Master Gardeners and the public so they can stay current with Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and other invasive forest pests. Now we have learned of an online course available to Extension Master Gardeners who want to know more about monitoring and managing EAB.

This free online course,  Emerald Ash Borer Monitoring & Management, is hosted by the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN), and provides an overview of EAB ecology; empowering learners to effectively detect and manage EAB in their communities.  The entire course takes about 90 minutes to complete and consists of 6 modules which users can take at their own pace.

The course was developed by Virginia Tech’s  Eric Wiseman, Sarah Gugercin, Dave Close, and Heather Boyd, funded by the USDA Forest Service (Forest Health Protection),  and reviewed by Jodie Ellis (Purdue University). When I talked with Sarah Gugercin about how this would be different than the EAB University webinars we blogged about several weeks ago,   Sarah explained that the EAB Monitoring and Management online course is meant to serve as an introduction to EAB, and allows users to interact with the content through quizzes and other interactive course features. The EAB University webinars complement this introductory course because they go into detail about specific issues, and in fact, those that take the online course are referred to EAB University webinars if they are interested in learning more advanced EAB topics.

Virginia Cooperative Extension has approved 1.5 continuing education credits for (Virginia) Extension Master Gardeners taking this course (check the Virginia Tech EAB Online Course website for other organizations that can receive continuing education credits) .   Note to Extension Master Gardeners in other states: You’ll want to be sure to check with your local coordinator to see if this course may apply for continuing education in your state, region, or county.

To learn more about taking this free course, visit the  Virginia Tech EAB Online Course website: or download the CourseAnnouncement flyer.

Emerald Ash Borer University: Providing Webinars and Information on Invasive Forest Pests

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Guest post provided by Robin Usborne, Michigan State University; Amy Stone, The Ohio State University Extension; and Jodie Ellis, Purdue University

What’s “Bugging” You?

EAB University logo

EAB University, offering free webinars, and information on invasive forest pests

Sometimes they hide in wood packing material from shipping ports all over the world. Other times they hitch a ride in a load of firewood going to a campground or summer cottage. But once they’re here, the trees are never safe.

Sounds a bit like a horror movie, but invasive forest pests like the emerald ash borer (EAB) can wreak havoc on North American woodlands and urban forests. As the pest invasion continues across the U.S. and Canada, communication and outreach is vital to combat the onslaught, but in these days of slashed travel budgets and increased conference expenses, it takes some creative thinking to get this information to those who want it.

EAB University – Free Webinars and Invasive Forest Pest Information

That’s where Emerald Ash Borer University comes in. EAB University is a series of free webinars that bring information on the latest issues surrounding EAB and other invasive forest pests to anyone needing the information. The webinars are given by scientists and experts in the field, and anyone with a computer with Internet access can view them. EAB University was developed by Michigan State University, Purdue University and the Ohio State University communications specialists who have been dealing with the invasive pest since it was discovered in North America in 2002, and is funded by the USDA Forest Service, Forest Health and Economics Division. Webinars are much like a presentation given at a conference, but the conference room encompasses the world. Participants are able to comment and ask questions via a “chat” function during the webinar, and the presenters provide contact information for anyone needing additional information.

EAB University was launched in 2010, and quickly became a hit. More than 1,200 people registered for the sessions, and those who weren’t able to “attend” the live webinars were able to watch the recorded sessions, which are archived on the website.

New this year –  expanded curriculum covers more invasive forest pests

This year, EAB University has expanded the curriculum to include webinars on other wood-boring pests and diseases, such as hemlock wooly adelgid, thousand cankers, Asian longhorned beetle and viburnum leaf beetle.

Extension educators, arborists and tree care specialists have offered EAB University webinars as part of their education and outreach meeting schedules. Continuing education credits are available for many of the live webinars. These sessions are the next best thing to having the experts in person.

Visit Emerald Ash Borer University on the website. You can watch an archived webinar, or mark your calendar for an upcoming session of interest. These webinars bring experts from around the country right to your computer, anytime and anywhere. Thanks for your
interest in keeping those bad bugs at bay!