Insect Biologists at land grant institutions have a historical role in providing information to farmers about insects that affect their crops. When new crops or new insects occur, insect biologists will begin the meticulous task of documentation and providing data that is useful to crop production and marketing. In 2102, the people of Colorado voted to legalize the growing of marijuana and that includes hemp. Hemp is produced from the same plant as marijuana (Cannabis), but hemp varieties have levels of THC (the medically active chemical in marijuana) that are too low for use as a drug. Hemp production has greatly increased in Colorado and is new to many growers. They need information on insects that are present in their crop and the damage caused or benefit provided by those insects.
Colorado State Extension launched a website in 2017, All About Hemp Insects. This is a valuable resource to growers about the insects they are finding in their hemp corps. The site provides pictures of insects and basic biological information. Data to support insect management and data-based recommendations will be added as it becomes available.
Hemp insect management is still in the survey stage. Initial surveys have captured some of the common insects, but insect populations may vary geographically and by year. The internet allows two way communication and the public is invited to send their questions or photos of insects they observe. This is a way for citizen scientists to engage with University Scientists to collect key information. Input from hobbyists with an interest in insects has always been an important resource for scientists.