NorthEast

Natural Products for Control of Parasitic Honey Bee Mites

Objective Statement:

Objectives were: 1. to provide beekeepers with safe, effective, reliable and affordable alternatives to Apistan and Coumaphos for control of parasitic mites. Currently, these chemicals must be applied twice each year to ensure colony survival, and that is often insufficient. I will investigate alternative strategies that either reduce the use of synthetic pesticides by ½ or that eliminate them all together.

Using Pediobius foveolatus as a biological control agent for Mexican bean beetle in snap beans

Objectives

1) Test two options for reducing damage from Mexican bean beetle in the first year of release: a) Raise the release rate of wasps, and b) Apply one spray of a botanical insecticide to reduce the initial density of adult beetles, then release the wasps at the usual rate after the spray residue is gone and when remaining beetles are in the appropriate larval stage. 

Insect management and fruit thinning in commercial organic apple production systems in New York

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

1. Develop an integrated, sustainable arthropod management system that will allow the production and marketing of certified organic apples.

2. Develop alternative chemical fruit thinning approaches for use in certified organic apple orchards that will result in annual cropping and large fruit size.

3. Develop alternative weed control approaches for use in certified organic apple orchards that will result in similar tree growth, yield, fruit size and leaf nutrient levels as conventional herbicides.

Investigations into the Ecology of Microtheca ochroloma and control methods for organic farmers

Objectives The original objectives of the project were as follows: 1. To determine if beetles remain active into summer if crucifers are present under field conditions. 2. To determine if initial infestation of M. ochroloma arise from within the field from the soil subsurface or whether beetle enter the field from field edges after oversummering. 3. To determine whether intercropping crucifers protects them from YMLB by hiding them among non-host plants. 4. To determine if cutting crucifers makes them easier for the beetles to find, therefore increasing infestation. 

Integrated caterpillar control in organic sweet corn Year 1, 2, 3

The purpose of this project is to work with a group of diversified vegetable farmers in the Northeast to evaluate an integrated non-chemical strategy for managing key caterpillar pests in sweet corn. In New England, corn earworm (Helicoverpa zea) migrates annually into the region and causes serious ear damage in late-season corn. European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) is a resident pest of sweet corn which also contributes to ear damage, especially in the later part of the season.

Intercropping to Create Local Refugia for Natural Enemies of Arthropod Pests: Flowers and Birds in Organic Agroecosystems

Farmer surveys conducted during the first year of a multi-year research program investigating the diversity and utilization of North-central Florida farmlands by birds demonstrated a great interest by organic producers in the potential impact birds have on insect populations in their cropping systems (Jacobson at al. 2003). They expressed interest in management recommendations designed to enhance the presence and foraging activities of insectivorous birds on their farms. Therefore based upon this interest we developed the following objectives for this study:

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.

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." 

On-farm nutrient budgets in organic cropping systems: A tool for soil fertility management

An assessment of the quantity of nutrients entering, leaving and remaining on a farm is the starting point for understanding nutrient cycling. When nutrient flows are documented for the entire rotation cycle, the resulting net balances can be used as a tool to help with soil management decisions and in the interpretation of soil tests.

The integration of foliar applied seaweed and fish products into the fertility management of organically grown sweet peppers

Organic vegetable growers regularly use sea-based products, such as seaweed extracts and fish emulsions, as foliar fertilizers. The effective use and the economic value of these products in organic agriculture have yet to be verified by scientific research. In these studies, we examined the effects of foliar applied seaweed and fish products on sweet bell peppers grown at three different soil fertility levels

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