UNE to hold insect identification workshops around the North

Published 11 August 2011

rachelScientists from the University of New England will be running a series of insect identification workshops for agronomists and grain growers in northern NSW over the coming weeks.

The workshops form part of a free insect identification service – The Sweep Net Northern NSW Pest Identification Service – provided by UNE’s Insect Ecology Laboratory with funding from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). The service includes up-to-date information on insect identification, integrated pest management (IPM) and current pest situations through The Sweep Net blog (http://blog.une.edu.au/thesweepnet/).

“Being able to accurately identify insects within cropping systems is essential if we are to make cost-effective and sustainable pest management decisions,” said Rachel Waugh from the Insect Ecology Laboratory.

Ms Waugh (pictured here) will host an insect identification workshop at Coolah on Wednesday 24 August and at Spring Ridge on Tuesday 6 September. Both workshops will run from 9 am till lunch time. Workshops are also planned for Gunnedah in mid-September and Armidale in late September.

Participants in the workshops will be given an introduction to insect biology, taxonomy and identification techniques, along with an overview of the insect Orders that are of agricultural significance. There will also be discussion about the roles of insects within the ecosystem, and about issues of relevance to IPM in broad-acre cropping.

“Along with cultural techniques such as insect-resistant cultivars of plants and crop rotation,” Ms Waugh said, “a key aspect of IPM is the retention of beneficial insects within a cropping system. This can be achieved through the strategic use of selective insecticides where they are available, and correct insect identification is imperative in that decision-making process.”

“In addition to these planned events, we’ll be encouraging expressions of interest for insect identification workshops targeted at specific grower or agronomy groups within northern NSW,” she said. In-house workshops have already been given to Landmark agronomists in Gunnedah and Moree.

The workshops are free for grain growers and agronomists working in the northern NSW grains industry. For more information – including the venues of all the workshops and the dates and times of those in Gunnedah and Armidale – or to register interest in attending one of the workshops, contact Rachel Waugh on (02) 6773 2338 or 0457 522 509 or e-mail: Insect.ID@une.edu.au.