Submit a paper now for a chance to present on integrated, scientific approaches to stopping the spread of insects that infest food, make people sick and cause major economic losses. These submissions are part of the Third International Conference on Area-wide Management of Insect Pests: Integrating the Sterile Insect and Related Nuclear and Other Techniques from 22 to 27 May 2017, where academics, industry experts and policy makers will explore how to increase the effectiveness of insect pest control. Of the more than 400 participants expected, many will include professionals in areas beyond the field of entomology, such as geneticists and applied researchers, human, animal and plant protection specialists, public health and medical personnel, and officials in sanitary and phytosanitary regulatory bodies.
Deadline to submit an abstract is 31 December 2016. Find out more about how to submit your abstract to this conference organized by the IAEA in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Managing insect pests
Insects, like fruit flies and tsetse flies, cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage to food crops and livestock each year, and some insects such as mosquitoes are responsible for spreading human diseases like malaria and the Zika virus. Scientists have spent decades researching and developing insect pest control methods using a range of techniques. While some approaches have been successful, the field of insect pest management continues to rapidly evolve and key challenges remain.
“We have proven ways to control some insect pests, but conventional methods are frequently uncoordinated, which often makes them less effective,” said Rui Cardoso Pereira, Acting Head of the Insect Pest Control Section at the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. “We also have to find approaches that help us deal with issues like climate change that affect how insects behave and globalization that help insects travel to new habitats. Finding new ways forward is part of what this conference can help us do.”
The conference will explore new developments, trends and challenges related to insect pest management in the fields of agriculture and public health, and will serve as a platform for experts to share information and exchange ideas. Among the topics to be discussed are recent developments in molecular biology, genetics and microbiology that can lead to new biotechnological tools and a better understanding of the role of symbionts and other microbiota associated with insects.
Better coverage, better control
A major focus of the conference is the area-wide integrated pest management approach, which has been a primary insect pest control method used over the last 50 years. The approach is designed to cover an entire target area using more than one control method, such as combining the nuclear-based sterile insect technique (SIT) with other suppression methods like sanitation, bait stations and mass-trapping. It also offers the unique opportunity to take preventive steps rather than reacting when a pest appears.
“The area-wide integrated pest management approach is a way to optimize how we control insect pests because it doesn’t rely on just one method,” said Cardoso Pereira. “By combining control methods, we can address the ecological, environmental and economic dimensions of pest management. This enables us to more effectively and quickly suppress a pest population, which ultimately helps cut down on costs and achieve a more sustainable result.”
The conference will include keynote speakers from academia and industry, poster sessions, interactive round table sessions, and panel discussions that cover, among others, related regulatory and economic issues, tools for programme implementation and management and information systems. The conference deliberations are expected to shape future insect pest control approaches by governments worldwide.