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Early-Career Parenting: Surviving, If Not Thriving

June 10, 2022

Early-Career Parenting: Surviving, If Not Thriving

by Katlyn A Catron, PhD

This article was originally published in the Summer 2022 edition of “American Entomologist”
https://doi.org/10.1093/ae/tmac040

The early stage of an entomologist’s career is filled with difficult decisions: do I take a postdoc, an industry job, or just light my degrees on fire and become a bog witch? For many early-career professionals (ECPs), a major but infrequently discussed choice must be made during this same period—can my career survive a child right now?

I accepted a postdoc position in October of 2020, and a little over a month later found out that I was pregnant. I was ecstatic, but that joy was marred with uncertainty and nausea from more than just hormones. How on earth would I move across the country and complete a field season in a new research system while gestating, birthing, and then caring for a tiny human … all with no support system? I am privileged that both my Ph.D. and postdoc supervisors have been wonderful, but neither they nor I had any idea how to map out the transition from grad student to postdoc while I also navigated new motherhood. Despite a medically complicated pregnancy, I managed to meet or exceed the metrics set for me in my first year, thanks to the help of my colleagues and PI, and my son is now a vibrant 8-month-old.

Not all ECPs choose to have children, but working parenthood is more common than ever before, and many more women are working during pregnancy or while raising young children (Levi 2012). This is likely the result of a new focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, including not discriminating against people that are pregnant or already have children. This new “approval” of female parents in progressing careers is a start, but currently, the intention seems to outweigh the effort. We must move past acceptance toward tangible institutional support with approaches that help parents and their supervisors navigate this exciting, important, and challenging time.

For example, as of 2018, only 17% of American workers had access to any paid parental leave (BLS 2019). It falls to workplaces to provide this, and some universities or state governments do, but paid time off to care for themselves and their new child should be guaranteed for ECPs whether they are postdocs, tenure-track faculty, or industry professionals (Morgan et al. 2018). Childcare availability in the U.S. is comparably abysmal and prohibitively expensive for many ECPs. If employers don’t provide on-campus childcare, they should offer subsidies so that parents can find and afford off-campus care for their children. Time off to have a child (and a safe place to put them while we work) are the absolute minimum needed for ECP parents to survive, but we could thrive with support like specialized mentorship, formal guidance on adjusting timelines (like tenure and grant funding) to account for maternity leave, and learning sessions for supervisor–employee communication, to name a few.

It stings an ECP parent to hear the oft- repeated phrase, “it takes a village to raise a child.” As folks just starting our careers, we are uprooted from the friends and family that would make up our villages. We are scientists—intelligent, creative, and driven—but we are set up to fail when we try to balance parenting and productivity with minimal support. If universities and industry workplaces want the fresh perspectives and resilient determination ECP parents offer, they must step up and help us build our village.

Katlyn Catron is a postdoc at Washington State University and works in cherry pest management. Her free time is occupied with keeping the aforementioned small human alive and the occasional nap.


References Cited

BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). 2019. Access to paid and unpaid family leave in 2018. TED: The Economic Daily, 27 Feb 2019. https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/access-to-paid-and-unpaid-family-leave-in-2018.htm

Levi, M.D. 2012. How paid family leave affects mothers in the labor force. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Monthly Review (Précis), March 2012: 66–67. https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2012/03/precis.pdf

Morgan, A.C., S.F. Way, M. Galesic, D.B. Larremore, and A. Clauset. 2018. Paid parental leave at US and Canadian universities. https://aaronclauset.github.io/parental-leave/

New Phenology Based Psylla Management

March 1, 2022

Pear Psylla Phenology IPM Guide will help manage pear psylla using the new degree day model!

As temperatures warm and the snow melts, it is time to think about pear psylla management. In warmer areas like Oregon and southern Washington, psylla are already back in the orchards and laying eggs. In central and northern WA, psylla will move into orchards once the snow melts.

IPM strategies for pear psylla provide optimal season-long control by utilizing selective sprays and cultural strategies to suppress psylla while conserving natural enemies. If you have ever wondered why psylla control falls off toward the end of the season, it is likely due to a lack of natural enemies from too many broad-spectrum sprays. This is why we encourage the use of selective management approaches, such as kaolin clay, insect growth regulators (IGRs), organic insecticides, and cultural techniques like tree washing and summer pruning.

In order to help you choose the right approach for your orchard and better understand the development of pear psylla in your region, WSU has created a pear psylla degree day model and associated management strategies. Visit the new page Phenology Based Pear Psylla Integrated Pest Management for the model and strategies. The website is a work in progress and subject to change as we continue to perform experiments and refine the conventional and organic management strategies.

Sustainable Control of Pear Psylla

mostly white slide with drawing of tree fruits in the lower left corner, a small video feed of the speaker in the upper right corner and the title be brave pear psylla management

February 22, 2021

Be BRAVE: Pear Psylla Management

On Thursday, February 18, 2021 as part of an OSU/WSU webinar, Stijn van Laer gave a talk on pear psylla management in northern European pear orchards.  Stijn is a crop consultant that works for company called FruitConsult based in Belgium.  They are a private consulting firm that does not sell products (i.e., chemicals), just management recommendations. Stijn discussed management of pear psylla in European orchards with conservation biological control (i.e., only using soft insecticides and at economic thresholds) and by augmentation of earwigs.  He also discussed the importance of proper sprayer calibration and how this can make or break effective management.

2021-2022 Pear IPM Study Circles

green anjou pear with droplets of water on the side

Join us for pear study circles this winter – they’re free!  It’s a great learning opportunity for growers, consultants, researchers, and industry professionals.  Our goal is to improve pear profitability and sustainability. Each study circle will include a 30 minute presentation and 2 hours of facilitated discussion.

Topics include:

  • Oct 19, 2021 – Choosing products that work: A discussion of pesticide efficacy
    2019-2021 research results from Louis Nottingham, WSU Entomology. Grower experience from the field.
  • Nov 23, 2021 – Honeydew Washing Systems – Adding a Cultural Control to your Toolbox
    2020 research results from Tianna DuPont, WSU Extension. Grower presented case studies.
  • Dec 14, 2021 – Using pear psylla phenology to better time applications
    Outline of the new psylla phenology model from Louis Nottingham, WSU Entomology. Examples of scouting information showing when the model has worked and when it has not. Brief intro to potential scouting app. Discussion of getting weather stations to improve accuracy. Discussion of how growers/consultants want to best access data.
  • Jan 11, 2022 – Assembling IPM programs that work
    Discussion of IPM and bio-based IPM programs step by step through the season and new research on natural enemy impacts of current products, Louis Nottingham, WSU Entomology.
  • Feb 8, 2022 – How can we integrate thresholds and scouting?
    Current research on thresholds for psylla and natural enemies. Input on phone application/website for data access.

Download a flyer here, or visit the WSU Tree Fruit web site events page for more information.  Hope to see you there!

Plant Defense Elicitors

November 18, 2021

Test of plant defense elicitors for arthropod pest suppression and PR-1 gene induction in pear orchards

Plant defense elicitors (PDEs) are chemicals that stimulate plant defenses against pathogens and herbivores. Previous work shows that PDEs acibenzolar-S-methyl (ASM) and harpinab protein (harpin) can induce the pathogenesis-related gene PR-1 in plants and suppress herbivorous arthropods. In this study, we tested the potential for these PDEs to induce PR-1 in pear, Pyrus communis L. (Rosaceae) orchards and suppress pear psylla, Cacopsylla pyricola (F€orster) (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), and spider mites, Tetranychus spp. (Acari: Tetranychidae). In 2017, we compared densities of each pest on mature pear trees following a single application of either an ASM product (Actigard; Syngenta), a harpin product (Employ; Plant Health Care), or no PDE treatment in four commercial and two research center orchards. In 2018, we sampled pear psylla and used qPCR to assess PR-1 induction in pear leaf samples before and after PDE treatments at one commercial orchard. Neither PDE treatment showed evidence of pest suppression in either year, and no differences in PR-1 expression were detected. Potted greenhouse trees treated with ASM in 2019 showed higher PR-1 expression relative to untreated trees, verifying that our procedures can detect induction and suggesting that a single PDE application was sufficient to induce PR-1 in potted but not mature pear trees. We conclude that plant defense elicitors may contribute to pear pest suppression in some contexts, but effects are unlikely to be strong or consistent. Our results highlight the need for field experiments to advance plant defense elicitor knowledge towards effective field applications.

Leafhopper Insecticide and Particle Film Summaries

4 leaves are in a shallow dish of dirt, in a white insect net cage

2020 and 2021 Leafhopper Insecticide Trials

By Dr. Louis Nottingham and Dr. Katlyn Catron

Methods:

Colladonus reductus leafhoppers were collected from organic or unsprayed orchards’ groundcover (Fig. 1) via sweep nets, then returned to the lab. Leafhoppers were exposed to insecticides by direct sprays or previously treated leaves from cherry trees. After exposure, leafhoppers were kept in ventilated arenas with treated cherry leaves (Fig. 2) for 24-48 hours, then rated as alive or dead. Between 25-50 leafhoppers were examined per treatment in each experiment.

Combined 2020 & 2021 Results:

Columns show average percentage mortality (dead ÷ total x 100) from each insecticide and exposure type. Values above dotted line are averages from at least two trials; below are from a single trial.

2021 Particle Film and Oil Repellency Trial

By Dr. Louis Nottingham and Dr. Katlyn Catron

Methods:

Leafhoppers were collected from orchard groundcover and returned to the lab. Forty leafhoppers were added to cages with leaves treated with either H20, IAP oil 1%, Surround WP (kaolin) 50 lb/acre, or Celite (diatomaceous earth) 50 lb/acre (Fig. 3). Four experiments were conducted. In the first two, Surround and Celite were mixed with 1% oil, in the second two, no oil was mixed with these two products. Two visual evaluations were conducted for each experiment, (5 hours and 24 hours after treatment) to determine how many leafhoppers occupied each leaf.

Results:

Leaves treated with Surround or Celite had the fewest leafhoppers, followed by 1% Oil (Fig. 4). Some leafhoppers were found on Surround, and Celite treated leaves, generally in areas with less or no particle film residues. Although particle films demonstrated significant repellency in this test, more testing is needed to understand if particle films or oil can reduce the spread of x-disease phytoplasma.

Fig. 4. Presence of leafhoppers on treated leaves. Treatments not sharing a letter are significantly different.

Funding: Thanks to the WA Tree Fruit Research Commission and OR Cherry Groups for research funding.

**Use pesticides with care. Apply them only to plants, animals, or sites listed on the labels. When mixing and applying pesticides, follow all label precautions to protect yourself and others around you. It is a violation of the law to disregard label directions; it is a legal document. Always read the label before using any pesticide. You, the grower, are responsible for safe pesticide use. Trade (brand) names are provided for your reference only. No discrimination is intended, and other pesticides with the same active ingredient may be suitable. No endorsement is implied.

Evaluations of Insecticides Against Leafhoppers: Summer 2021 Results

plastic cup with a layer of brown soil at the bottom and a green leaf in inserted in the end of a water filled tube on top of the soil

Written by Louis Nottingham and Katlyn Catron, August 9, 2021

Introduction

Data showing efficacy of insecticides against leafhopper vectors of x-disease is still relatively sparse. To address this, we performed two lab bioassays to screen insecticide products against Colladonus montanus reductus, the most abundant leafhopper vector of x-disease found in Washington cherries. We evaluated insecticides in both direct-spray and residue decline experiments to assess the immediate and longer-term efficacy of these products on the leafhoppers.

Contact Spray Lab Bioassay – 2021
Methods

Leafhoppers (C. reductus) were collected from weedy row middles in an organic commercial apple orchard bordering a conventional cherry block and returned to the lab for processing. They were sorted into bioassay arenas composed of an 8 oz plastic deli cup with a layer of moist soil on the bottom, an excised cherry leaf, and a lid with a plastic mesh cutout to allow for application of treatments and air circulation (Fig. 1). Approximately six leafhoppers were placed into each assay arena, then treatments (Table 1) were applied through the mesh cutout on the deli cup lid using a hand-pump aluminum spray bottle. Five replicates per treatment were completed. Assay arenas were moved to a greenhouse for 24 hours before mortality was evaluated.

Results and Discussion

All products provided significant control compared with the check, and were statistically similar (Table 2). Numerically, the group 4A (neonicotinoid) insecticides, Admire Pro and Actara, provided the highest efficacy at or near 100% mortality. The group 4C insecticide, Transform, also provided high efficacy at 90% (± 3.7%). Magister, a 21A METI, was on the lower range for these products, at 80% mortality. This was the first evaluation of Magister against leafhoppers, so additional testing is needed before recommendations are made.

Insecticide Residue Bioassay
Methods

To evaluate the longer-term efficacy of several insecticides, potted cherry trees were treated with insecticide products (Table 2) using hand-pump aluminum spray bottles. Trees remained exposed to outdoor ambient conditions, including sunlight and occasional rain, for the duration of the experiment. Treated cherry leaves were excised at predetermined intervals, after 0 h (fresh residues), 72 h (3 days), 168 h (7 days), and 336 h (14 days). After excision, leaves were placed in arenas as described in the Contact Spray Lab Bioassay above (Fig. 1), and approximately six C. reductus adults were exposed to the aged residues per replicate (3-5 replicates per treatment per time interval). After 24 hours, mortality was evaluated.

Results and Discussion

C. reductus mortality after exposure to fresh insecticide residues ranged from 88.3% in the Pyganic (pyrethrins) treatment to 100% in the Actara (thiamethoxam) treatment (Fig. 3). Mortality in leafhoppers exposed to Actara remained higher than 80% even after two weeks (336 h) of residue aging outdoors. In the Asana (esfenvalerate) and Pyganic treatments, leafhopper mortality dropped considerably after 72 h of residue aging, with neither insecticide causing greater than 60% mortality when aged. Pyrethroids are notoriously unstable when exposed to UV light, which explains the reduced efficacy of Pyganic after treated leaves were exposed to outdoor conditions for 72+ hours. Asana provided slightly better control after 72+ hours of residue aging, which may be due to its oil-based formulation specifically designed to withstand UV rays and rain wash-off. Regardless, Actara provided the highest levels of control for the longest periods of time in this bioassay.

Conclusions

The results from these trials will inform future insecticide work with leafhopper vectors of X-disease in Washington. In the next year, additional products will be screened in both direct-spray and aged residue bioassays to help form a more complete picture of control methods available to and effective for growers. Furthermore, other economically relevant species of leafhoppers will be incorporated into similar trials to assess their susceptibility to these insecticides.

Acknowledgements:

Thanks to our funding from the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission (Cherry), Oregon Sweet Cherry Commission, Corteva and Gowan for support of this research.

Contact

Katlyn Catron
Postdoctoral Research Associate
WSU TFREC
katlyn.catron@wsu.edu

 

 

 

 

 

Louis Nottingham
Research Assistant Professor
WSU TFREC
louis.nottingham@wsu.edu

 

 

 

Use pesticides with care. Apply them only to plants, animals, or sites listed on the labels. When mixing and applying pesticides, follow all label precautions to protect yourself and others around you. It is a violation of the law to disregard label directions. If pesticides are spilled on skin or clothing, remove clothing and wash skin thoroughly. Store pesticides in their original containers and keep them out of the reach of children, pets, and livestock.

YOU ARE REQUIRED BY LAW TO FOLLOW THE LABEL. It is a legal document. Always read the label before using any pesticide. You, the grower, are responsible for safe pesticide use. Trade (brand) names are provided for your reference only. No discrimination is intended, and other pesticides with the same active ingredient may be suitable. No endorsement is implied.

Pre-Harvest Pear Phenology Update

graphs showing the current pear phenology (adult and egg, blue; early nymph yellow; old nymph orange) for three sites: cashmere, Hood River and Wapato, and Medford

Pear Phenology Update, August 9, 2021

Pear Psylla’s Current Status:

The 2nd generation of summerform adults are at or past peak in most regions. Young nymphs of the 3rd generation are nearing peak and increasing. Hardshells of the 3rd generation are within the first 25% and rising. If biocontrol is present in orchards (IPM and organic orchards) the nymphs of the 3rd generation will likely remain below injury level without need for further management.

graphs showing the current pear phenology (adult and egg, blue; early nymph yellow; old nymph orange) for three sites: cashmere, Hood River and Wapato, and Medford

Graphs: Pear psylla life stages (curves) by degree days (x-axis) for three pear growing regions. Each life-stage curve shows relative abundance of the total predicted population. Adults and eggs are combined because the summer generations occur almost simultaneously. The vertical line represents Aug 8, 2021.

Pear Psylla IPM Recommendations (by Category):

  • Particle Films: Due to the proximity to harvest, it is not recommended to spray particle films. Additionally, particle films can increase pressure from spider mites and rust mites.
  • Honeydew Washing: Nymph numbers are increasing; honeydew washing may be necessary in the next 1-2 weeks, targeting 3700DD (between early nymph and hardshell peak). Scout weekly looking for dripping leaves and wash as necessary to remove honeydew.
  • Summer Pruning (“suckering”): Manually removing vegetative shoots is an effective way to remove psylla nymphs and improve spray coverage. However, this tactic can be risky at this point in the season due to the potential for sunburn. If you choose to summer prune, consider lighter pruning (20-50% shoot removal). Have pruners select shoots with the most honeydew to remove as much psylla and potential injury as possible.
  • Psylla Insecticides:
    • Conventional: The optimal time to spray (if necessary) is at 3500DD when young nymph are at peak, which will occur within the next 1-2 weeks, depending on your region. Choose a material that has low potential to disrupt natural enemies and offers some systemic action such as Admire Pro (imidacloprid) or Actara (thiamethoxam). Be mindful of your harvest time and the PHIs of each material.
    • Organic: Most organic orchards should have adequate biological control to make spraying for psylla unnecessary at this point. If this is not the case, the two most effective materials for psylla are neem products (Aza-Direct, Neemix, Rango) and Cinnamon oil (Cinnerate). These products can be safely mixed to increase efficacy and they are still unlikely to harm natural enemies. Be aware that either of these products can pool at the calyx end of fruit causing a ring. This seems to be related to spray volumes around 200 gpa, so it is important to calibrate sprayers to avoid this marking. Do not use neem product on Comice due to phytotoxicity.
  • Spider Mites:
    • Conventional: Many people have been battling mites all year. It is important to remember that mites are induced by over-spraying broad spectrum insecticides and miticides or particle films. In the future, follow soft or organic spray programs to avoid this issue. Soft materials that are still (relatively) effective against spider mites include Nealta, Onager, Apollo, and Acramite; Vendex. Envidor, Agri-mek, and Zeal are moderately soft. Other products that may still be effective but are less selective are FujiMite and Nexter. Be sure to check PHIs of any material selected.
    • Organic: Organic options for mite control are limited, but mites are often less of a problem in organic orchards due to biocontrol. Mites can be flared by some organic materials such as particle films or spinosad products like Entrust. Cinnerate and Rosemary oils (TetraCurb, Ecotec and others) help suppress spider mites with minimal non-target effects.

Codling Moth:

Codling moth is more of a challenge in further south regions and when more apples are present. If you are in a region that primarily grows pears and is cooler, codling moth is probably easily controlled with mating disruption, oil and 1 or 2 Altacor applications. If your pressure is high, you may need to include additional sprays, but they can still be soft. Consider using virus (Cyd-x HP) for mid to late summer sprays. Soft codling moth programs are much more effective when coupled with mating disruption, so if you are not currently using it, consider doing so next year.

collage of four photos showing closeups of "derry" psylla predator, ladybugs, lacewing eggs and trechnitesNatural Enemies:

Keep an eye out for natural enemies in your orchards (check out this beat tray sampling tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-kXrHh0MP0). If you can find at least 1 natural enemy in 10-15 taps, you likely have better biological control than you realize. These predators and parasitoids will control your psylla and mites for free, so try to conserve them by using soft spray materials and avoiding unnecessary sprays.

Funding and Acknowledgements: This project is funded by the Fresh and Processed Pear Committees of Washington and Oregon and a WSDA Specialty Crop Block Grant. The psylla model was developed by Dr. Vince Jones. Model visualization graphics are being performed by Dr. Robert Orpet. Thanks to Dr. Rebecca Schmidt-Jeffris and Tianna Dupont for data and help with recommendations.

Use pesticides with care. Apply them only to plants, animals, or sites listed on the labels. When mixing and applying pesticides, follow all label precautions to protect yourself and others around you. It is a violation of the law to disregard label directions. If pesticides are spilled on skin or clothing, remove clothing and wash skin thoroughly. Store pesticides in their original containers and keep them out of the reach of children, pets, and livestock.

YOU ARE REQUIRED BY LAW TO FOLLOW THE LABEL. It is a legal document. Always read the label before using any pesticide. You, the grower, are responsible for safe pesticide use. Trade (brand) names are provided for your reference only. No discrimination is intended, and other pesticides with the same active ingredient may be suitable. No endorsement is implied.

 

head shot of a smiling man with dark hair wearing a dark suit with a white shirt and striped tieWritten by:
Louis Nottingham, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
Dept. of Entomology, WSU TFREC, Wenatchee WA
louis.nottingham@wsu.edu