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Research

Fungi, Predatory Mites and Guardian Plants for Thrips IPM in Organic Greenhouse Ornamentals

This project addressed a serious pest of organic greenhouse production nationally. In Vermont, thrips are the most common reason for organic growers suspending organic practices in their greenhouse crops, fearing the loss of their entire crop to this persistent virus-transmitting pest. Even growers who rely on chemical control find the standard insecticides ineffective due to resistant pest populations. Biological control approaches for thrips will directly benefit organic producers, but will also meet the need of “traditional” growers who seek to produce plants more ecologically.

Integrating songbird conservation and insect pest management in organic California vineyards

Objectives Statement

Test the hypothesis that biological control of cicadellid and lepidopteran vineyard pests is enhanced through conservation of insectivorous birds via the establishment of songbird nest boxes. 

Enhancement of Biological Control with Insectary Plantings

Beneficial insectary planting is a form of conservation biological control that involves introducing flowering plants into agricultural and horticultural systems to increase nectar and pollen resources required by some natural enemies of insect pests (Landis et al. 2000). Many predatory and parasitic insects rely on pollen and nectar for their survival and reproductive success. Two examples of such insect groups are hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) and several species of predatory and parasitic wasps (Hymenoptera).

Cucumber beetle mass trap development and field evaluation

On most farms, Diabrotica beetles are only severe in certain years, a pattern for which there is yet no analysis. Therefore, for most organic farms these beetles are tolerable in most years. However, in certain seasons some help in reducing numbers may mean the survival of many crops, particularly where beetle damage to seedlings essentially destroys the crop. Example crops are beans and early season cucumbers. Sweet corn is also such a crop, although the damage only interferes with the proportion of kernels which are fertilized.

Control of flea beetle in cole crops with cruciferous trap crops

Objectives: To evaluate a wide variety of potential trap crops for use in cole crop production. To test various configurations of trap crop plantings in production fields to test the potential for reducing damage by flea beetles to crops.

Study of plant diversity adjacent to a monoculture system: Effects on beneficial arthropod populations and vineyard pest control

From March 15 and throughout the 1997 growing season, intensive weekly sampling of herbivorous insects (mainly leafhoppers and thrips) and associated natural enemies (mainly Anagrus sp and Orius sp) have been conducted in two adjacent Chardonnay vineyard blocks of 5 acres each, North of Hopland. Both blocks are managed organically with half of the area of each block planted to summer cover crops (buckwheat and sunflower), and the other half maintained with bare ground.

Trapping squash bugs with board traps and ammonia

Objective

To test the use of trap boards and lures based on ammonia (ammonium carbonate and household ammonia) to concentrate squash bugs in a small area for monitoring or control. Although I received funding from the OFRF for just one year, 1997, 1 actually started the experiments in my proposal in 1996 and continued with a different approach in 1997.

The impact of dust deposits on insectary-reared and released parasites in transitional and organic citrus orchards using perennial vs. annual tilled cover crops

As a critical component to the sustainability of both transitioning and organic citrus orchards it is important to understand the impact of foliar dust deposits on the survival of insectary reared Aphytis melinus and Metaphycus helvolus used respectively for the biological control of California red scale and black scale.

Mass-rearing and release of a locally adapted female-only strain of Trichoqramma nr. platneri for supplemental control of codling moth in coastal organic apple orchards

Previous research (with the support of OFRF) has been done with coastal apple growers in support of pheromone-based codling moth management and organic growers have now accepted and are using this method of pest control. However, in some orchards, mating disruption and other organic methods cannot alone keep codling moth damage at a manageable level. The addition of a locally-adapted egg parasitoid released at egg-laying of the first codling moth generation could make an economic difference for local organic apple growers in terms of lowered codling moth infestation at harvest.

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