The 12th annual University of Wyoming Entomology Short Course brought 21 participants from 13 Wyoming counties to Laramie March 15-17 to learn the fundamentals of insects, insect eggs, pupae, ecology, and insect-caused disease diagnosis.
Most participants are from the county weed and pest districts, says Scott Schell, UW Extension entomologist and research scientist in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management. Schell led the course with extension entomologist Alexandre Latchininsky, a professor in the department, and other invited experts.
“Weed and pest district employees don’t always have a background in entomology,” says Schell. “This gives them a quick education.” Conservation district employees and master gardeners also typically attend.
This year’s participants learned insect identification using Peterson’s Field Guide, lucid keys, and microscopes, as well as specimen handling. “Insect ID is the first step in IPM,” says Schell.
IPM is integrated pest management, a broad-based approach to solving pest problems using prevention, life-cycle strategies, and biological, cultural, physical, mechanical, and chemical methods as needed for specific sites. A session taught by extension specialist John Connett addressed IPM in schools.
Connett says, “IPM emphasizes common sense combined with a variety of biological insights, including life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment.”