Risk of invasive pests in green yard waste

Project lead: Dr. Juli Carrillo, Dr. Lisa Neven, Martina Clausen

PIEE Lab Members associated with this project: Chelsea Gowton, Sadie Garcia,  Sadie Larter,  Dennis Chiu, Savi Raghuraman

Our team is evaluating the risk of introducing invasive pest insects in green yard waste moved from British Columbia into Washington state. Of particular interest is the Japanese beetle, an invasive insect pest first documented in B.C. in the False Creek area of Vancouver in 2017.

The objectives of this project are to: 

1) Identify insect pests found in B.C. green yard waste

2) Quantify the risk of introduction of potential insect pests from B.C. to WA through the solid waste transportation pathway 

3) Assess the establishment and spread risk of potential insect pests from B.C. to WA 

4) Compare and match the climatic conditions of source sites with that of waste processing and receiving sites

In 2019 and 2020, our team collected green yard waste samples from three sites in metro Vancouver; the Vancouver Landfill,  the Marine Drive Transfer Station and the Olympic Village Quarantine Zone. In those two years, a total of 342 samples were collected in 19 sampling events.

Map with sampling locations (Photo: Google earth)

Back in the lab, the samples were grinded, frozen and then sent to the USDA-ARS laboratory in Wapato, WA for DNA extraction and amplification to identify pests, using molecular barcoding techniques. 

Results of this research will be shared with the Washington State Department of Agriculture and the City of Vancouver to help inform regulations and restrictions of waste movement from BC into WA State. 

The project was conducted in collaboration with the City of Vancouver, USDA-ARS Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Unit, and the Center for Sustainable Food Systems,

Check back for future updates regarding the results of this project.