Cynthia Scott-Dupree

Head shot of Cynthia.
Phone number: 
(519) 824-4120 Ext.52477
Bovey Building 2110

Cynthia grew up in southwestern Manitoba and worked closely with her father in his hobby beekeeping operation of 100 colonies. She also had many relatives involved in farming and grew up being aware of the complications of getting food from farm to table. She did her Masters and PhD degrees in pest management focusing on how to mitigate insect pest problems of crops and trying to minimize the impact of management tactics on non-target beneficial insects such as pollinators and beneficial insects often used for biological control. This has been the focus of her research at the University of Guelph since 1986. Most recently she has initiated a series of projects that focus on management of Insect pests of indoor and outdoor grown cannabis and looking at innovative IPM tactics like Sterile Insect Technique and RNAi to control insect pests.

Meet Prof. Cynthia Scott-Dupree

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Cynthia Scott-Dupree is a professor in our School of Environmental Sciences and also holds the Bayer CropScience Chair in Sustainable Pest Management. Her research focuses on developing sustainable pest management for growers to control damaging and invasive insect pests. 

Check out Cynthia's 60 second snapshot video here.

Academic History

  • Doctorate, Entomology, Simon Fraser University, Biological Sciences, 1986/03
  • Master in Pest Management, Simon Fraser University, Biological Sciences, 1983/01
  • B.Sc., Honours, Zoology, Brandon University, Zoology, 1980/05

Affiliations and Partnerships

  • 2003/11 Joint appointment Collaborative Environmental Biology – Toxicology Program

Awards and Honours

  • Bayer Chair in Sustainable Pest Management April 2014 – May 2019.

Research Impact

Cynthia’s current research interests include sustainable management (IPM) of insect crop pests using environmentally compatible control methods in horticultural, field and greenhouse cropping systems including cannabis, management of invasive alien insect species, and impact of agro-ecosystems on non-target organisms, including beneficial insects such as honey bees, bumble bees, native bees and natural enemies of insect pests (i.e., biological control agents primarily for greenhouse IPM). She is also focusing on alternatives to chemical controls including sterile insect technique, RNAi and biological controls.

Current Research Projects

The sterile insect technique as a novel tool for control of pepper weevil (Anthonomus eugenii Cano) in greenhouse pepper crops.

The pepper weevil (PW) is a significant economic pest of Capsicum peppers in Ontario and internationally, with the capacity to cause crop yield losses of up to 100% if severe infestations are left unmanaged. Currently, cultural control techniques along with use of insecticides are largely relied upon for management of PW. However, there is great interest in identifying alternatives to the use of insecticides given that they are largely ineffective against this cryptic pest and insecticide resistance is prominent. The objective of this research is to determine whether sterile insect technique is an effective alternative control for PW.

Improving integrated pest management for cannabis production in greenhouses.

This research focuses on the current lack of information on biological control of insect pests in cannabis. Cannabis production occurs in both greenhouse and other contained environments. In traditional floriculture and horticulture greenhouse crops there has been decades of research focused on developing efficacious IPM for insect pests, but conversely, very little is known about IPM for cannabis production systems. Furthermore, there are few registered pesticides available to Canadian cannabis producers. Understanding how biological control could be utilized as an effective tactic within a cannabis IPM program is an integral part of dealing with this problem. However, due to differences in the cannabis production system (i.e., presence of plant derived organic compounds and artificial lighting), existing IPM methods in floriculture and horticulture greenhouses are not entirely transferable to the cannabis industry. We currently do not understand how available biological control agents (BCAs) will behave in cannabis production systems. The objectives of this research is  is assess the performance of biological control agents (BCAs) for use in cannabis production, including dispersal, predation rate, and oviposition to assess the effects of cannabis derived organic compounds (i.e., terpenes and cannabinoids), on BCAs; and to determine the life history of cannabis aphid in a cannabis greenhouse production system.

The use of companion plants in outdoor cannabis production.

The arthropod pests associated with outdoor cannabis cultivation in Ontario have yet to be determined. The first objective of this project will be to describe the insects associated with outdoor cannabis cultivation in Ontario including both beneficial insects and pest species. Furthermore, due to the lack of registered insecticides, growers must rely on other integrated pest management tools to control arthropod pests. Conservation biological control involves modifying the landscape to promote beneficial insects while also disrupting pests. The second objective of this project will be to evaluate plants like marigold, sunflowers, aromatic herbs, and borage as companion crops to attract beneficial insects and disrupt pests. Using standard arthropod collection (e.g. pit fall traps, sticky traps, sweep netting, egg rearing, ect), the diversity of insects associated with cannabis, and the effects of companion crops will be evaluated over two field seasons. This will allow growers to make informed decisions and promote the use of IPM tools to control insect pests.

Biology and host plant preference of the invasive insect pest, the box tree moth, Cydalima perspectalis in Ontario.

Native to Asia, the box tree moth (BTM) (Cydalima perspectalis) (Walker, 1859) is an invasive pest first confirmed in Toronto, Ontario in November 2018. The preferred host of BTM is boxwood (Buxus sp.), however, alternate hosts, including Euonymus species, have been documented within its native range. In the invaded range of BTM, there is negligible data available on the suitability of Euonymus hosts in terms of successful reproduction of the insect pest. Determining the suitability of alternative hosts for BTM survival and development is crucial for the nursery and landscape industry to understand any potential phytosanitary risks as well as trade implications. This research examined the alternate host suitability of two Euonymus species, E. alatus and E. fortunei. In addition, monitoring surveys of BTM on the Toronto region have been conducted for 3 years in order to determine its rate of dispersal, number of generations per year and key phenological markers associated with its life cycle.

Graduate Student Information 

Cynthia enjoys her interaction with graduate students and is always amazed at what they are able to teach her about their specific research areas. She has an open door policy and is always available to attend meetings focused on research updates and upcoming conference presentations. Cynthia considers that grad students should be effective communicators and believes this is an important skill to develop and carry forward into their professional careers. She is very supportive of students participating in conferences, webinars, workshops and providing posters, reports or outreach material on their research outcomes. Staying connected to the client groups that are most impacted by the results of their research is critical and provides students an opportunity to hone their written and oral presentation skills to a variety of audiences.

Note: Dr. Scott-Dupree is not taking on any new graduate or post-doctoral students.

Featured Publications

  • Lemay, J., Y. Zheng and C. Scott-Dupree. 2022. Factors influencing the efficacy of biological control agents used to manage insect pests in indoor cannabis (Cannabis sativa) cultivation. Frontiers: Pest Management, Special Edition: Cannabis Pest Management. Accepted: April, 2022.
  • Jabeen, A., L-T Lim, A. Zaitoon and C.Scott-Dupree. 2021.Toxicity of five plant volatiles to adult and egg stages of Drosophila suzukii Matsumura (Dipter: Drosophilidae), the spotted-wing drosophila. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. DOI 10.1021/acs.jafc.1c1384. 69(33): 9511-9519.
  • Zaitoon, A., A. Jabeen, C. Ahenkorah, C. Scott-Dupree and L-T Lim. 2021. In-Package Fumigation of Blueberries Using Ethyl Formate: Effect on Spotted-Wing Drosophila (Dosophila suzukii Matusumura) Mortality and Fruit Quality. Food Packaging and Shelf Life. 30, 100717.
  • Gradish, A., C. Scott-Dupree, G. C. Cutler, van der Steen, J., D. Goulson, O. Klein, B. O’Neill, D. M. Lehmann, J. Lückmann, N. Raine, B.Sharma, and H. Thompson. 2019. Comparison of Pesticide Exposure in HoneyBees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) and Bumble Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae): Impications for Risk Assessments. Environmental Entomology 48(1):12-21.
  • Sultan, M., R. Buitenhuis, G. Murphy and C. Scott-Dupree. 2017. Development of a mechanical sex separation method to improve efficacy of a sterile insect area-wide release program to control American Serpentine Leafminer in Canadian ornamental greenhouses. Pest Management Science. 73: 830-837.
  • Cutler, G.C., C. Scott-Dupree, M. Sultan, A. McFarlane and L. Brewer. 2014. A large-scale field study examining effects of exposure to clothianidin seed-treated canola on honey bee colony health, development, and overwintering success. PeerJ.



Area of Research

Plant and Environmental Health