The Equipment and Application Technologies program focuses on development of pest control equipment and application technologies to increase the efficacy and safety of pest control while decreasing the cost and unintended environmental impacts. Goals of this program are the minimization and accountancy of applied pesticides while investigating technologies to facilitate the replacement of synthetic chemicals with biologicals, mechanical techniques and other management strategies. Half of the program is administered through Missoula Technology and Development Center MtdC, where small-market and innovative equipment is developed. MtdC is a repository of mechanical engineering expertise in the Forest Service (FS), providing engineers on retainer to support Forest Health Protection FHP equipment needs. A plan of work is developed annually between FHP and MtdC and administered under the Equipment and Application Technologies program.
The overall program has been involved in the development of products ranging from books through computer software to heavy equipment. Among successful development areas are:
- Information to improve the placement and spacing of pheromone sources to increase the efficacy and consistency of pheromone pest control efforts.
- Development, in cooperation with state and private groups, of a vacuum/sweeper to improve sanitation in seed orchards by mechanically removing loose organic material and thus reducing pest habitat and damage.
- Development of pesticide application simulation models that facilitate planning, understanding, and evaluation of pesticide application operations, as well as providing important training tools.
- Interaction with the developers and manufacturers of DGPS Aerial Navigation systems to integrate forestry needs into commercially available systems. This interaction has included independent testing and technical consulting.
The Equipment and Application Technologies program provides support to personnel within the Forest Service as well as to other government agencies and private individuals. For instance, the ongoing work with bark beetle pheromones is reported to the Bark Beetle working group, which is composed primarily of Forest Service entomologists. Ongoing work to improve application simulation models is largely supported by the Northeastern Area and Region 8 for use in support of gypsy moth suppression efforts. An interagency agreement is in place with the United States Environmental Protection Agency to aid in the development of regulatory modeling for use in pesticide registration.