Date of Award

2011

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Mathematics

Advisor

David E. Hiebeler

Second Committee Member

William A. Halteman

Third Committee Member

Thomas E. Stone

Abstract

One of the tenets of integrated pest management is reduction of pesticide use in order to protect human health, the environment and the sustainability of agriculture. An susceptible-infected-susceptible (SIS) epidemiological community model is analyzed to study how redistributing pesticides among agricultural fields can increase pesticide efficacy. We model the spread of a pest from plant to plant like an infection through a population. The population of plants is partitioned into fields called communities where the pest can spread quickly and slowly jump from one community to another. Each community receives treatment (pesticide) which removes the pest. In-stead of uniformly treating every community, we investigate targeted treatment where highly infected communities proportionally receive more treatment. The purpose of targeting is that the efficacy of treatment can be increased by applying it to where it is most needed. Using analysis and computer simulation we show that although the endemic density of pests does not change after targeting is implemented, it slows the population's overall infection rate. Also, targeted treatment increases the likelihood of the pest population dying out due to random fluctuations when pest densities are low.

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