Background and Objective
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys), or BMSB, is an invasive pest that is damaging Georgia’s agriculture harvest and threatens to significantly reduce the volume and value of agricultural trade from all Black Sea countries.

During the week of Aug. 26, 2019, Trécé Inc., a U.S. manufacturer of pheromone-based monitoring and control products, is organizing a scientific mission consisting of scientists from the USDA Agricultural Research Service and four universities who focus their research and development on tools and methods for managing the BMSB. The scientific mission is being conducted with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Agriculture Program and the USAID-funded Georgia Hazelnut Improvement Project (G-HIP), which is a GDA between USAID and Ferrero.

Mission Objective
A team of highly experienced scientists will further evaluate the BMSB infestation in the Republic of Georgia and aid the Georgian Government and people, as well as others in the Black Sea Region, through the transfer of knowledge and advanced solutions aimed at managing BMSB to reasonable, economically acceptable levels.

The mission will include a scientific conference designed to contribute to the development of a partnership between Georgian and U.S. scientists. Scientists will share with representatives of the Georgian government, Georgian academia, and invited guests from the Black Sea region their experiences and knowledge on different aspects of monitoring and management of the BMSB, and help introduce innovative technologies and applications.

The foundation for the proposed activity was laid in March 2018, when an earlier U.S. scientific mission organized with the support of Trécé Inc. traveled to Georgia to establish links with Georgian scientists and to support the Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia’s
National Food Agency (NFA) in planning and implementing the BMSB State Program. As a result of that mission, recommendations on options for developing a coordinated response to the BMSB threat were developed and shared with the National Food Agency.

Biographies of Meeting Participants
Bill W. Lingren is President, CEO and Founder of Trécé, Inc. He has more than 40 years of experience in the pest management and agrichemical industries. Since founding Trécé in 1984, Lingren has overseen the development and introduction of a wide range of pheromone-based technologies and insect-monitoring and control products, including additions and improvements to more than 150 species-specific, pheromone- and/or kairomone-based kits, attractants, lures and traps offered today under the
company’s PHEROCON® and STORGARD® brands. A graduate of Oklahoma State University, Lingren holds memberships in the Entomological Society of America, California Agricultural Pest Consultants Association, Association of Applied IPM Ecologists, Bio Pesticide Industry Alliance, National Pest Management Association, American Chemical Society and other industry groups.

Kim Hoelmer, Ph.D. is Research Leader of the USDA ARS Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit in Newark, Delaware. Dr. Hoelmer participates in current USDA-NIFA specialty crop and U.S. Farm Bill-funded projects for invasive pests including Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Spotted Wing Drosophila, and Spotted Lanternfly. Dr. Hoelmer coordinates U.S. national interagency programs on biological control of BMSB and has co-authored over 20 papers on this invasive pest and its natural enemies. He has conducted foreign exploration for Asian parasitoids of BMSB and other invasive pests in China, Japan, and Korea to identify candidate agents and initiated host-specificity evaluations in U.S. quarantine laboratories. Since adventive populations of the samurai wasp, Trissolcus japonicus, were discovered in the U.S. in 2015, Dr. Hoelmer has been involved in research to monitor the establishment, impact and dispersal of these populations. He has been active in consulting with researchers in Europe, New Zealand and Australia on the potential of BMSB biocontrol in those regions and in organizing BMSB parasitoid workshops.

Christopher Bergh, Ph.D. is a Professor of High-Value Horticulture Crops Entomology at Virginia Tech’s Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Winchester, Va., where he has conducted research and extension programs in tree fruits and wine grapes since 2000. Since Dr. Bergh’s workplace is within the epicenter of the BMSB outbreak that began in 2010, he and his students have been active in researching aspects of the behavior, ecology, monitoring and management of this pest since 2011, including participation in several multi-state collaborations. Most recently, Bergh’s team has focused on projects evaluating alternative management tactics for BMSB, including pheromone-based attract-and-kill and border sprays, and the development and use of sampling tools and protocols for Trissolcus japonicus to understand its presence, distribution, spread and impact on BMSB.

Grzegorz Krawczyk, Ph.D. is an extension tree fruit entomologist in the Department of Entomology at The Pennsylvania State University. Krawcyzk’s research and extension programs are dedicated to assisting the fruit industry in practical adoption and integration of the newest biological and technological advances in insect pest management into activities supporting the sustainability and profitability of fruit production. Since the 2010 season, Krawczyk’s lab activities have been targeting the development of effective management methods to combat the BMSB Working in cooperation with other fruit and vegetable entomologists, Krawcyzk participated in the development of practical insecticide-based BMSB management methods, as well as alternative tools such as threshold-based treatments, and “attract and kill” tactics and intensive pest monitoring to reduce and eliminate the need for excessive use of insecticides to manage this pest. Since the fall of 2016, with the support of USAID, Krawczyk has
been cooperating directly with researchers and specialists from Georgia in assessing and defining the best options to mitigate the negative impact of the BMSB.

James F. Walgenbach, Ph.D. is a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at North Carolina State University. He is located at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center in Mills River, N.C. He received his BS and PhD degrees from the University of Wisconsin in 1979 and 1985, respectively, and has been a faculty member at N.C. State University since 1986. He conducts an applied research and extension program in the area of integrated pest management in tree fruits and vegetable crops. Research areas have included insect population dynamics, insecticide resistance, semiochemical control of moths and stink bugs, biological control, drip chemigation of insecticides, and economics of pest management. The BMSB has been a component of Walgenbach’s research program since 2011. This work has included studying the distribution and phenology in North Carolina, conducting life tables to help explain distribution patterns of the BMSB, identifying seasonal crop and non-crop hosts, assessing the impact of native natural enemies across agroecosystems, and examining agroecosystem effects on pheromone trap captures and damage in orchards. Walgenbach also serves as the project director of a USDA-NIFA Specialty Crops Research Initiative project to develop management programs for the BMSB in U.S. specialty crops.

Brent Short, is the Eastern Field Research and Product Development Technical Rep for Trécé, Inc. He started work with Trécé in January of 2019. His responsibilities include development of research objectives and protocols, coordination of field trials with cooperating institutions and product support across all agricultural commodities throughout the Eastern United States and Canada. Prior to joining Trécé, he was a Research Entomologist at the USDA-ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, W.V. Over his 15 years at the USDA, Short conducted research on behavioral and chemical ecology tactics to improving monitoring and management of a wide array of tree fruit insect pests. A major focus of his research during that time was native and invasive stink bugs, and in 2006 studies were initiated on the brown marmorated stink bug. Short has researched a wide range of topics on the BMSB, including basic biology, phenology, voltinism, injury identification, semiochemical response and evaluation, and behavior.

Lara Bosco, Ph.D. is an Entomologist in the Department of Food, Forestry and Agricultural Science at the University of Torino in Italy. Since 2004, she has been part of the team headed by Professor Luciana Tavella in the Sustainable Crop Pest Management research group. Starting with her PhD degree in Integrated and Biological Pest Management (2008), her main areas of expertise have been related to crop pests of agricultural importance, with particular emphasis on thrips and hazelnut bugs. Bosco has been carrying out research on the BMSB in newly invaded areas aimed at assessing its biology, behavior and distribution; evaluating its harmfulness, and implementing effective and sustainable control strategies on hazelnut crop integrated pest management within research programs of several collaborations with other countries, including the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland and Georgia. Since September 2017, she has been collaborating as external consultancy entomologist with the global humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger’s mission in the South Caucasus in support of efforts in Abkhazia (Georgia) regarding the BMSB challenge.

Gertraud Norton Ph.D. is a scientist within the Australian Government Department of Agriculture in Canberra, Australia. Since 2009, she has been part of a team that supports policy development and decision making within the Compliance Division of the departmental Biosecurity Group with scientific advice. Having completed a PhD on the biology and ecology of Fumaria sp., a serious crop weed in Australia, her main area of expertise and interest is in the field of weed and more generally pest ecology and biology. She currently utilizes this knowledge and expertise in her additional role of policy coordinator for the National Border Surveillance teams of the Department. These perform surveillance activities at international sea- and airports as well as import-related premises for the purpose of early detection of newly arrived pests that may have escaped from imported goods or vessels. Operational preparations for the next BMSB season are a major focus of her current work.

Demna Dzirkvadze, Ph.D. candidate is USDA FAS Tbilisi team leader/advisor with the expertise in agricultural, trade and rural development. Mr. Dzirkvadze manages technical capacity building programs between the United States of America and Georgia in the fields of animal and plant health, Food Safety, agricultural extension and education, scientific and agricultural exchange programs. Since 2008, he has organized over 30 capacity building and educational visits to the United States in partnership with Land Grant Universities and private sector representatives. He played a key role in establishing national Animal Health Steering Committee and now leads the formation of National Phytosanitary Steering Committee of Georgia.

Maka Murvanidze, Ph.D. is a professor of Entomology at the Agricultural University of Georgia where she focuses her research and teaching on soil zoology and ecology with a particular emphasis on Oribatid Mites. Dr. Murvanidze is the author of more than 60 scientific publications, has described more than 10 new species and subspecies. From 2001-2002 and in 2006, Dr. Murvanidze worked in the department of Soil Zoology and Ecology at the Free University Berlin. Over the years, Dr. Murvanidze has participated in various scientific conferences, leaded and participated in number of scientific projects. She leads lectures at the Agricultural University of Georgia and Iv. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. Throughout 2017 and 2018 years, Dr. Murvanidze served as a consultant to the USAID/REAP project and participated in various activities regarding monitoring and managing the invasive pest insect – Halyomorphahalys in Western subtropical regions of Georgia. Currently she serves as a coordinator of the SRNSF funded project on testing effectiveness of alternative management tools against BMSB.

Nikoloz Meskhi, Ph.D. serves as the Head of the Plant Protection Department for the National Food Agency of Georgia. Since joining the NFA in 2012, Meskhi is leading activities against various pests including the locust, fall webworm and box tree moth. Meskhi was actively involved in the implementation of the NFA’s State Program against the BMSB in 2017. In 2018 he got his PhD in plant protection.

Mari Gogniashvili, Ph. D. is a Professor of Institute of Molecular Genetics of Georgian Agricultural University. Dr. Mari Gogniashvili’s research activities are related to the plant and animal nuclear, mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA. She completed her doctoral thesis in the field of genetic engineering at the Moscow Institute of Molecular Genetics. She has been studying grape and wheat domestication system in Georgia for 15 years. She has been involved in sequencing the complete genome of four Georgian Grape varieties and annotating the genes. Dr. Gogniashvili is studying the genetic diversity and domestication of Georgian endemic wheats and their predecessors according to their chloroplast and nuclear DNA equences. Additionally, Dr. Gogniashvili studies the genetic diversity of sheep and goats spread in Georgia on the basis of the complete mitochondrial DNA sequences. She has participated in international conferences and has published in international journals. Currently, Dr. Gogniashvili is the project manager of the research project funded by Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation. Her project aims to determine the genetic diversity of the harmful insect, Halyomorpha halys, in Georgia by mitochondrial DNA analysis and develop valid and effective methods to fight it.

Medea Burjanadze, Ph. D. is a Professor, entomologist, insect pathologist, lecturer at Vasil Gulisashvili Forest Institute, Agricultural University of Georgia. The research activities deal with insect pest pathogens (microorganisms and parasitic nematodes) in agricultural crops, ornamental and woody plants in urban areas and forests. She has 35 years of experience in field experiments and project-related biological control research. She is project manager of current project SRNSF –AR “Development of mass production technology of Beauveria bassiana -“Bb007” for pest control in Georgia”, (Consultants Dr. Stefan Jaronsky USDA ARS, USA and Dr. Dietrich Stephan, JKI, Germany). She is participant and regular speaker deferent international forums (IOBC, SIP, IUFRO, and Entomological Congress). She is project manager of national, International and joint Projects (GNSF/STCU, SCOPES, CNR, BMBF, USA FRS). Medea Burjanadze is the author of more than 70 scientific publication and one monogeaphy “English-Georgian dictionary of terms for integrated pest management”.

USAID began operating in Georgia in 1992. For 26 years, the American people have provided over
$1.8 billion in assistance to Georgia through USAID. Building on this successful partnership, the U.S. Government dedicates approximately $40 million annually to 50 wide-reaching programs that support Georgia’s democratic, free-market, Western orientation.​

About The USAID Agriculture Program
The USAID Agriculture Program is a five-year activity that aims to accelerate growth of agricultural sub-sectors that demonstrate strong potential to create jobs and increase incomes and revenues of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME). The USAID Agriculture Program delivers firm-level investment and tailor-made technical assistance to entrepreneurial, market-driven enterprises, production clusters and supporting associations and service/information/extension providers to foster inclusive and sustainable market systems development. The USAID Agriculture Program provides competitive cost-shared grants and technical assistance to address identified gaps in targeted value chains that will result in the improved productivity and production capacity of MSMEs, strengthened value chain linkages, increased access to markets, and improved capacity of MSMEs, cooperatives, associations and service/information/extension providers.

The program focuses on the following value chains: berries, culinary herbs, stone fruits, pome fruits (apples), perishable vegetables, mandarins and table grapes.

About Trécé Incorporated
Established in 1984, Trécé Inc. is a leading American innovator focuses on customer needs, growing through development, manufacturing and marketing of insect pheromone and kairomone-based products, which benefit food production and the environment, while creating net economic welfare for its customers, company employees, local and global communities. The Trécé Inc. product catalog currently contains over 150 species-specific pheromone and/or kairomone-based monitoring and control systems, attractants and lures, a full line of trap models designed for a wide variety of flying and crawling insect pests that attack growing agriculture and post-harvest stored ag crops. These products are marketed under two internationally respected brand names, PHEROCON® and STORGARD®. Trécé Inc. created, registered and markets a line of insect control products under the brand name, CIDETRAK®, for orchard, vine and row crops and protection of post-harvest stored ag products in the commodity, food processing and retail segments of the industry.

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Trécé Inc.
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