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Research

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.

Genetic population structure of a parasitoid wasp

Parasitoid insects that use different hosts can have a subdivided population structure that corresponds to host use. A subdivided population structure may favor local adaptation of subpopulations to small-scale environmental differences and may promote their genetic divergence.

Habitat manipulation to improve biological control in apple orchards

This project will assess the impact of perennial flowering habitat plantings on biological control of several insect and mite pests of apples. This document reports our progress during 1995, the first year of this 3 to 4 year study. During 1995, plant species were chosen and the habitat plantings were established at two commercial apple orchards in Wisconsin; one orchard is certified organic and the other is managed using conventional IPM practices. To date, no insect sampling has been conducted. 

Leaf sap brix and leafhoppers in vineyards

The advantages of practicing integrated pest management (IPM) with a "Plant Positive" rather than a "Pest Negative" perspective are becoming increasingly clear. As outlined by Eliot Coleman and many other capable deep agricultural thinkers, this Plant Positive perspective allows us to approach pest outbreaks with an emphasis on their basic causation, instead of simply treating the same old symptoms.

Using living straw mulch to suppress Colorado potato beetle on potatoes

The use of straw mulch for the suppression of the Colorado potato beetle (CPB) on potatoes has been demonstrated (Zehnder and Hough-Goldstein, 1989). It was suggested that to eliminate the cost of purchasing and transporting commercial grain straw, growers could rotate potatoes with a cover crop suitable for mulch such as wheat, rye, vetch, etc.. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the feasibility of using such a cover crop as a source of "living mulch." 

Monitoring the activity of cabbage, seed corn and onion maggots on an organic farm

Information on the basic biology of insect pests is extremely helpful in planning control strategies for insect pests. Part of the problem with the maggot complex of insects is that they are poorly understood in California conditions. In addition, it is not readily apparent to growers when the flies are active because they are nondescript and easily confused with many other types of flies that are active and in great abundance. Monitoring for their eggs is also tedious and time consuming.

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