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For current information, please contact Margaret Skinner at the Univ. of VT at

News Archive

February 12, 2006 

BBC's Romaine Lancaster visted ICARDA recently to film their research on Sunn pest. Part of the BBC World's Earth Report (Hands On), the film is part of a series
titled "Plague to Plenty." You can listen to the audio (mp3) here and download a PDF file.
Watch the film online (flash player) at BBC Hands On. (scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

Bread is a staple food for millions of people around the world, especially in West and Central Asia. But the wheat, from which most bread is made, can be affected by
insects known as the Sunn Pest. Even a small infestation can render a harvest worthless and ruin farmers. Now research is examining the insect’s natural weaknesses
to give the farmers a chance to fight back

audio(mp3) | text (PDF)


Below is an excerpt from a press release from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)
 that describes the current situation of Sunn Pest in two districts of Afghanistan.

You can download and view the PDF.

Pest detective

article in The International Development magazine online

Louise Tickle tells the story of the hunt for a natural defence against the virulent Sunn Pest...

(Read more here)

May 2004

International Sunn Pest Conference (PDF) held at ICARDA July 19-22, 2004

2004 Regional Infestation Survey

March 2003

Helm and Wheat Crop Saved from Sunn Pest Infestation

Click here for more information

February 2003

University of Vermont Scientists Helping
Rebuild Agricultural Capacity in Afghanistan

Click here for more information

October 2002

The second annual Sunn Pest IPM Meeting, attended by participants in the DFID Sunn Pest project being conducted in West Asia, was held October 19-23rd, 2002 in Tehran, Iran.

Abstracts of papers presented at this meeting will be posted on this web site in the very near future. Subjects covered included: sampling methods for use in Sunn Pest overwintering sites, progress with entomopathogenic fungi for management in overwintering sites and wheat fields, molecular characterization of Beauveria bassiana isolates, semiochemical studies, host plant resistance, socioeconomic investigations and results of farmer field schools held at pilot sites in Syria, Turkey, and Iran.

Please watch for the abstracts as some interesting information was presented.

Click here for abstracts

June 2002

ICARDA's June newsletter, the CARAVAN, contained an article entitled,

Integrated Management of Sunn Pest - A Safe Alternative to Chemical Control

This article by M. El Bouhssini, R. Canhilal, and A. Aw-Hassan gives a brief background of past and current research of Sunn Pest conducted at ICARDA.

Page1 (jpeg)

Page 2 (jpeg)

October 2001

Sunn Pest Field Guide produced by ICARDA and
UVM Entomology Research Laboratory

New 120-page full color publication is now available. "Field Guide: Insect Pests of Wheat and Barley in North Africa, West and Central Asia" by Bruce L. Parker, Mustapha El Bouhssini and Margaret Skinner. This field guide is an important addition to the many diagnostic publications offered by ICARDA. Growers, pest managers and extension workers throughout West and Central Asia have needed a practical comprehensive guide to help them identify economically important insect pest problems in their wheat and barley fields. This guide, for the first time, offers them a user-friendly encyclopedia, with pictures that will help them identify the insect pests and the damage they cause. It will also be useful as a training manual.

Click on the following links to view cover and some example pages of this publication:

Cover (jpeg)
Damage (jpeg)
SunnPest (jpeg)

Copies can be obtained by writing the following:
P.O. Box 5466
Aleppo, Syria
or emailing:

July 16th, 2001

New Sunn Pest Brochure Produced by ICARDA and
the UVM Entomology Research Laboratory

ICARDA and UVM have produced an informational brochure for extension specialists and farmers who are dealing with the Sunn Pest in West and Central Asia.  The brochure gives general information about Sunn Pest including a few management suggestions.  The brochure is published in English, Turkish, Arabic, and Russian.  Click on the following links to view a scanned version of the publication (images will open in a new browser window):

To obtain copies of this publication, write:
P.O. Box 5466
Aleppo, Syria

Integrated Sunn Pest Management in Iran1

The history of Sunn Pest in Iran control dates back to at least 300 years ago, when King Nadar ordered to burn the vegetation of mountain hibernation sites.  During this long period the Iranians have tried different ways to control this noxious pest of wheat and barley.

Sunn Pest research also has a long history of more than 50 years.  Recently a 5 year nation-wide program has been initiated as the first step of understanding more about integrated Sunn Pest management.  The results of this monitoring program will shed light on the correct timing of insecticide spraying, determination of EILad ET, wheat variety resistance, pest ecology, and preliminary data for biological control.

1Dr. Gholam Abbas Abdollahi
General Director
Plant Pest and Diseases Research Institute (AREERO)
P.O. Box 19395-1454
Tehran, Iran

Sunn Pest in Turkmenistan

A serious Sunn Pest infestation was recently discovered in northern Turkmenistan by Lloyd Garcia2.  The infestation was found just outside Dashougouz.  The scale and magnitude of the Sunn Pest problem in Turkmenistan is under investigation.  Sunn Pest will be a severe issue as wheat is one of Turkmenistan's four strategic crops (the others being cotton, sugar beet, and rice).

Sunn Pest damage in Turkmenistan - photo by Annageldy Arazmuradov

Sunn Pest infestation in Turkmenistan
photos by Annageldy Arazmuradov
Program Manager, Winrock International,
Dashogouz, Turkmenistan

2Lloyd Garcia
NCSU, Dept. of Crop Science
4402 Williams Hall, Raleigh, NC 27695

July 4th, 2001

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