Cornell Program Adds Vegetable IPM Educator
The New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYS IPM) at Cornell University announces that Marion Zuefle, M.S., has joined its staff as a vegetable IPM educator. She holds a Masters of Science in entomology and applied ecology from the University of Delaware.
Zuefle, who previously served as a NYS IPM vegetable implementation specialist and fruit survey technician, will work closely with growers and researchers around New York and the Northeast.
More recently, Marion has taken responsibility for the sweet corn pheromone trap network, an important resource for farmers, Extension educators, and consultants throughout the state. She’s improved the network’s web interface for reporting results and created resources to help cooperators deploy traps and identify catches for accurate results and recommendations. And she’s obtained funding for research to help determine whether spotted wing drosophila (SWD), a known pest of small fruit, also poses a threat to tomatoes.
Among Zuefle’s first farmer outreach contacts is Keith Slocum of Our Green Acres in Owego, NY. Slocum was concerned that SWD — a new and worrisome invasive pest hardly larger in size than a comma — could have become established at Our Green Acres. SWD can spell ruin for blueberries and fall raspberries, important crops at this U-pick farm.
Zuefle’s immediate response was to determine what Slocum required. “Marion sent me just what I needed to tell if we had SWD,” Slocum says; the traps indicated that the farm was still safe from SWD. “She has a good head on her shoulders,” Slocum says.
Zuefle’s interests and expertise includes research that helps understand and cope with newly arrived invasive species. Right now she has her antennae out for two exotic diseases and one exotic insect pest of tomatoes. She’s also helping research new ways of using soil temperature readings that suggest when different weeds are likely to germinate.
“Given Marion’s rich and varied background in entomology, vertebrate biology, botany, and microbiology, her ability to create collaborative projects with other researchers will be limited only by funding,” says Julie Carroll, NYS IPM’s fruit coordinator. “Among her talents, and there are many, Marion’s presentations are both easy to understand and highly accurate.”