Center for Biological Control, 2010 Friends of IPM Award Winner
Pulling Together

When Moses Kairo and his team were making the plans for the Center for Biological Control’s 10 th anniversary symposium, they didn’t realize that the group would have another reason to celebrate—they would receive a regional award for their excellence in integrated pest management.

With university and political leaders cheering them on at the 10 th Anniversary Symposium on April 9, the Center for Biological Control (CBC) received the Southern Region IPM Center’s Friends of IPM Pulling Together Award.

Comprised of experts from Florida A&M University’s College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture (CESTA); USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the team received the award during its 10-year Symposium and Open House on April 9.

“When I found out that we had won the award, I was very surprised,” Kairo said just before the award was presented. “But we very much appreciate this honor.”

The CBC won the award for outstanding integrated pest management research, education and outreach.

During its ten years of service, the CBC has analyzed and implemented ecologically-sound pest management solutions for several exotic invasive insects and weeds, including cactus moth, varroa mite and cogongrass. CBC researchers not only investigate invasive pests in the US, but they also are studying pests in The Caribbean and South America that are considered high risk for entry into the US.

In addition to publishing their research in journal articles and presentations, they also share their knowledge with students. The CBC is at the core of the cooperative Ph.D. program in entomology which is managed jointly by Florida A&M University and the University of Florida.

CBC researchers and graduate students have developed several IPM tactics to manage western flower thrips, a pest devastating to Florida’s tomato industry. Both conventional and organic vegetable growers in Florida are now using the tactics.

The CBC formally began in 1998, when leaders from USDA APHIS chose Florida A&M University as the site to build a Center that would take a biological approach to pest management. CBC team member Kenneth Bloem was the first APHIS researcher to join the CBC in 1998. In 1999, USDA-ARS agreed to support the CBC as well with funding and personnel. The CBC is now a recognized Research Center within the Florida State University System.

In its third year, the Friends of IPM Award recognizes individuals and groups who have demonstrated outstanding service in IPM. The Pulling Together award is one of six categories of awards in the program.

“Based on the nomination, the CBC is clearly deserving of the Friends of IPM Award,” said Steve Toth, associate director of the Southern Region IPM Center.

The 10-year Symposium, where Toth presented the award, gathered supporters from universities, USDA, private consulting companies and the state legislature. Staff from the offices of Congressman Allen Boyd and Senator Bill Nelson were among those who witnessed the award presentation.

“We really appreciate the recognition, especially during these tough times,” said Dr. Makola Abdullah, Dean of CESTA.