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Pest management

Each year ICARDA conducts routine surveys in dryland areas for fungal and viral diseases and for insect pests in collaboration with NARS to determine outbreak dynamics, and to provide farmers with early warning of pest and disease outbreaks.

Fungal pathogens and insect pests are characterized using differential genotypes and molecular techniques, to generate information on pest diversity, and to help breeders target pest populations that show an ability to overcome resistance genes.

Host plant resistance is the cornerstone of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) options for the control of diseases, insect pests and parasitic weeds. It is environmentally friendly, practical, and economically acceptable to farmers.

Biological control is an important component of IPM at ICARDA, with an emphasis on the use of natural enemies of insect pests. For example, in collaboration with the University of Vermont, NARS, and CABI Bioscience, ICARDA has been developing biopesticides using entomopathogenic (insect killing) fungi for the control and management of Sunn pest in wheat.