Extension and Outreach

UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels. We work closely with members of our local community to discover, educate, and support a variety of initiatives that benefit agriculture, homes and other structures, and the environment. Our specialists closely collaborate with ecologists, toxicologists, soil scientists, plant geneticists, horticulturists, agronomists, veterinarians, health and pest management professionals, Extension personnel, and non-governmental and governmental organizational representatives. Our specialists use their expertise in alternative methods of insect and disease management to help meet the need for healthy homes, landscapes and healthful food production without or with reduced use of pesticides.

When knowledge specific for Tennessee problems does not exist, Extension specialists conduct applied research to fill this void. Graduate students are uniquely trained in the fields of applied research, Extension and outreach equipping them with the skills to communicate with other researchers and our many stakeholders. Information is disseminated through the training and support of county Extension agents, other professionals, volunteers and other stakeholders using a combination of traditional and innovative communication methods. Departmental Extension activities support 4-H, agricultural and horticultural crops, the environment and natural resources, family health, housing and other structures, and lawn, garden and landscaping. Members of the EPP Department provide annual educational training and update materials, which are commonly provided to the public through direct contacts. Training of Extension personnel includes diagnosis and management of insect or plant problems (including invasive pests), beekeeping skills, and updates on new pest management strategies. Extension programs within EPP also include the Pesticide Safety and Education Program which trains county agents and thousands of private and commercial applicators on the proper and safe use of pesticides. EPP Extension personnel annually provide information included in numerous publications, news articles, and online resources for the benefit of all Tennesseans.



UT honey bee Extension efforts focus on supplying accurate research-based information to extension agents and beekeepers to improve the beekeeping industry, promote pollination of fruits and vegetables and help beekeepers “keep” their honey bee colonies alive.

Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey

The Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) is a combined effort by Federal and State agricultural organizations to conduct surveillance, detection, and monitoring of agricultural crop pests and biological control agents. Survey targets include weeds, plant diseases, insects, nematodes, and other invertebrate organisms. In Tennessee, the CAPS program is coordinated from within the University of Tennessee Entomology and Plant Pathology Department.

Distance Diagnostics

The Distance Diagnosis through Digital Imaging System at the University of Tennessee, Extension Service allows text based information and digital images to be submitted from county Extension offices for rapid diagnosis by resource professionals at the Soil, Plant, & Pest Center, in Nashville, Tennessee. County Extension faculty are trained to submit plant disease or pest images and information using digital cameras, microscopes, computers and the internet. The system uses conventional software and hardware proven to be effective and reliable.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

IPM programs are conducted in crops (UT Crops.com), and around structures (Bed Bugs, Fire Ants, School IPM, Urban Integrated Pest Management in Tennessee).

Invasive Species

Species of plants, insects, animals, or diseases which rapidly overtake and harm existing ecosystems can be classified as invasive species. These are usually (but not always) non-native species to the area. The most familiar example to people in the southeast is the kudzu plant, which prevents other plants from becoming established, and as a result takes away forage and habitat from indigenous species.

Pest Management Information Network

Tennessee is assisting the Southern Region Integrated Pest Management Center (SRIPMC) by connecting a diverse array of people who have an interest in pest management policy and implementation throughout the State. These include pest management users (farmers, nurserymen, park and turf managers, building superintendents, pest control operators, homeowners, gardeners, and others), consumer and environmental groups, governmental regulatory agencies, researchers, and educators. Communications channels will be effective only if all parties can consistently access the same reliable information. Research-based information is essential to our network’s ability to make sound pest management decisions in any context, from a backyard garden to national regulatory offices. Tennessee is working with the support of SRIPMC and USDA, by contributing to building a comprehensive database that eventually will hold all kinds of scientifically tested pest management information. This database is continually being maintained and developed by the SRIPMC and is available on the World Wide Web for use by anyone.

Pesticide Safety Education Program

Pesticide Safety and Education Program (PSEP) in Tennessee is a statewide educational program with an overall goal to protect the environment and the public health from improper use of pesticides by providing applicator and public education. The primary target audience includes certified and non-certified pesticide applicators of all kinds, farmworkers, and the general public.​​​

Soil, Plant and Pest Center

The University of Tennessee Soil, Plant and Pest Center is located at Ellington Agricultural Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The Soil, Plant and Pest Center is your one stop service and education place! Our laboratories have served homeowners, farmers, nursery growers and researchers since 1949 providing information to assist in all areas of production. Our services include soil nutrient and physical property analysis, forage analysis, plant tissue analysis, insect identification and plant disease identification.

Tennessee’s Plant Pest Surveillance Network

The mission of our statewide network is to enhance Tennessee’s and the nation’s agricultural security by quickly detecting introduced pests and pathogens. This will be achieved by creating a functional statewide network of county offices with a cohesive, distributed system. Tennessee’s network is a component of the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN).

Tennessee Entomological Society

The members of this Society have one thing in common – we love BUGS, and we are dedicated to the dissemination of entomological knowledge and enthusiasm throughout Tennessee! If you have a strong affinity towards insects or would just like to learn more about these diverse and abundant creatures, then our Society may interest you. Our Society is OPEN to everyone, from professionals to hobbyists to amateurs. Whether you are employed with a federal or state agency, public or private college or university, industry, or private business – whether you are a researcher, regulator, teacher, student, or just are interested in insects, we extend to you an invitation to join the Tennessee Entomological Society.