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Survey & Detection Program

The Entomology Program, Bureau of Plant Industry, conducts plant pest surveys (insects, plant diseases, and nematodes). Plant pest surveys can be conducted by periodic visual surveys, sampling, or regular detection trapping programs. Surveys are conducted to determine if a particular pest exists in an area (example, in a county), and if found, how extensive the infestation is. Surveys are also needed to determine the feasibility of eradication, areas where eradication treatments need to be applied, and areas where quarantine measures need to be applied.

Plant pest survey data is needed in order to facilitate exports. Presence or absence data is important. Plant pests that may hinder or restrict plant and plant product exports should be surveyed. Laboratory diagnosis of the plant pests is crucial. This data is needed to document pest-free areas. Pest management areas will also be gained from survey data. Coordination of a statewide survey is important to the plant industry of Nebraska.

Regionalization provides for the certification of plants and plant products on a regional basis. This regional approach allows for the establishment of pest-free areas.

Area-wide Nematodes

Field locations for seed potatoes, tablestock potatoes, and nursery growers who export were sampled in September, October, and December. A total of 36 soil samples were taken in thirteen counties across Nebraska. Samples are analyzed by the UNL Plant Pathology Department for the presence of quarantine and export significant nematodes including: potato rot (Ditylenchus destructor); potato cyst (Globodera pallida, G. rostochiensis); soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines); root knot nematodes (Meloidogyne chitwoodi, M. hapla, M. javanica); and other plant parasitic nematode genera. Dr. Tom Powers, UNL nematologist, and his staff conducted morphological and molecular diagnostics of all adult and juvenile nematodes found in the soil samples. The identification of plant parasitic nematodes will establish and maintain pest-free areas for the export of plants and plant products. The documentation of species distribution will document compliance to certification of potatoes. All fields were negative.

Christmas Tree Lot Quarantine Compliance Inspection

During the 2015 season, NDA inspectors inspected Christmas trees at 15 dealers in 10 counties. Inspections took place in November and December, to verify compliance with the Federal Gypsy Moth and Pine Shoot Beetle quarantines. Inspectors confirm compliance through paperwork reviews and inspections of the trees. No violations were found.

Emerald Ash Borer

As part of a national survey, NDA set and/or monitored 30 traps in three counties at high-risk areas, such as state parks and rest stops. All traps were negative. NDA also continues to inspect nursery stock for insect and disease problems, including EAB. Particular attention is given to ash stock entering the state. NDA Inspectors also check for labeling of place of origin on nursery stock, as required by the Nebraska Plant Protection and Plant Pest Act, to ensure federal and state quarantines are being followed. NDA continues to educate the nursery industry about this potential threat to ash trees in Nebraska, through outreach programs. NDA has developed EAB outreach materials, which continue to be distributed at various industry meetings and conferences.

Firewood Dealer Quarantine Compliance Inspections

NDA inspectors have inspected firewood dealers across the state to collect data on the distribution of firewood in Nebraska, and the origins of the firewood. A total of 57 firewood dealers in 14 counties were inspected to verify compliance with the Federal Gypsy moth, EAB, and Asian Longhorn Beetle quarantines and the Nebraska Thousand Cankers Disease of Walnut quarantine. While most of the wood was of Nebraska origin, wood was also found to have originated in other states, including California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. Two Withdrawal-From-Distribution Orders were issued for 24 bundles of firewood that were missing origin information.

Outreach is also part of this effort. For more information, please see the Education and Outreach Events section

Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar)

A total of 539 gypsy moth traps were set in 2015. Of those traps, 530 were detection and 9 were delimiting traps. Traps were set in 47 counties across the state. All traps were negative.

One delimiting block was set and monitored based on positive trap catches 2013. The delimiting block was in York (York County). It was negative.

Firewood surveys are also conducted as part of Nebraska’s gypsy moth prevention efforts. For details, see Firewood Dealer Quarantine Compliance Inspections above.

Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica)

In 2015, a total of 200 JB traps were set in non-infested counties. Forty-one traps were set in known infested counties. Traps are located at airports, state parks, special quarantine compliance areas, and nurseries. Nursery stock distributors in non-infested counties that import balled and burlapped nursery stock are considered high-risk sights and, therefore, trapped individually. The traps were in place from the end of May until October.

After the 2015 trapping season, NDA declared five more counties as being infested with JB: Burt, Merrick, Otoe, Platte, and Wayne. Prior to 2015, Adams, Buffalo, Cass, Dakota, Dawson, Dodge, Douglas, Gage, Hall, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lancaster, Lincoln, Madison, Phelps, Saline, Sarpy, Saunders, Seward, Thayer, Washington, and York were already listed as infested.

Soil sampling for JB grubs was conducted in 2015, at select firms in known infested counties, where JB populations had previously been confirmed via trapping. Firms were selected based on several factors, including level of infestation, nursery production methods, and desire to ship out of state. A total of 185 soil samples were collected on over 42 acres from three firms in four counties. No JB grubs were found.

Karnal Bunt Survey

Karnal Bunt sampling occurred in July 2015. A total of 69, four-pound wheat samples were pulled in 36 counties, based on the 2015 National Karnal Bunt Survey Protocol. All samples were sent to the National Karnal Bunt Lab in Phoenix, Arizona, for analysis. All samples tested negative for Karnal Bunt.

Khapra Beetle Survey

In 2015, a total of 132 Khapra beetle traps were set at 44 sites in 11 counties. Traps were screened for Khapra beetles every 30 days while replacing lure and remained in place for 90 days before being picked up. All traps were negative for Khapra beetle.

Pine Commodity Survey

During the spring and summer of 2015, NDA conducted a detection and visual survey for various pine pests. The survey was carried out at 28 sites which included national and state parks, nurseries, and Christmas tree farms in 21 counties. The targeted species in the survey were large pine weevil (Hylobius abietis), great spruce bark beetle (Dendroctonus micans), Sakhalin pine sawyer (Monochamus saltuarius), small white-marmorated longhorned beetle (Monochamus sutor), pine shoot beetle (Tomicus destruens), pink gypsy moth (Lymantria mathura), pine beauty moth (Panolis flammea), Scots pine blister rust (Cronartium flaccidum), and needle blight of pine (Mycosphaerella gibsonii). The trapping survey consisted of 3 different types of traps, funnel, bucket, and wing. This survey was very labor intensive. In order to maintain the viability of the sample for accurate ID of the pest, traps were serviced every two weeks. Inspectors also conducted visual surveys of pine trees at each trapping site. All were negative.

Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) Soil Survey

NDA again participated in the National PCN survey from September through early November, collecting 1,710 – five-pound soil samples from potato fields in five potato producing counties. All samples were sent to the USDA Idaho Falls PCN laboratory for PCN (Globodera pallida and Globodera rostochiensis). All fields were negative.

Seed Potato Quarantine Compliance Inspection

During early spring of 2015, NDA inspectors conducted compliance inspections at 135 seed potato dealer locations in 20 counties. These inspections were to confirm compliance with Nebraska’s Columbia Root Knot Quarantine, and the Federal Potato Cyst Nematode quarantine. Ten violations were found.

Small Crops Survey

During June and July 2015, NDA inspectors set various traps and conducted visual surveys for numerous pests as part of the small crops survey. These pests included old world bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera), Egyptian cottonworm (Spodoptera littoralis) tomato leaf miner (Tuta absoluta), curcurbit beetle (Diabrotica speciosa), brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys), spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii). Traps were monitored approximately every two weeks throughout the summer. All results were negative.

Spotted wing drosophila has previously been confirmed in Nebraska, and it is believed to be relatively widespread at this time.

Thousand Cankers (TCD) Disease Survey

In 2015, NDA trapped for walnut twig beetle at a total of 12 sites in 11 counties. Each trapping site consisted of three funnel traps in various locations for a total of 36 traps in the state. This survey was very labor intensive. In order to maintain the viability of the sample for accurate ID of the pest, traps were serviced every two weeks. Along with doing trapping surveys, the inspectors also conducted visual surveys of walnut trees. Eleven visual surveys were conducted in 11 different counties. These surveys were site visits to campgrounds and nut growers/walnut plantations to look for signs and symptoms of TCD. All traps and visual surveys were negative.