Insect Management

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.

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.

Shade-covered high tunnels for summer production of lettuce and leafy greens

Most varieties of greens do not grow throughout the market season in the Midwest because of the 85-degree-plus weather, which persists for much of July, August and September. High temperatures (and resulting problems with dormancy and rapid drying of soil) result in poor crop establishment, and bitterness and bolting of lettuce. Other leafy greens are severely affected by high insect populations. The ability to extend the greens season through the summer heat would benefit local growers while meeting a consumer need at peak market times.

Plant mobilization of trace organochlorine residues in vegetable cropping systems

Soil testing has long been a part of Organic Certification. As part of the certification process, each grower must submit soil tests for lab analysis. The soil is subjected to chromatography tests to determine the extent of contamination by organochlorine insecticides. These compounds classify a wide range of noxious agricultural pesticides, many with half lives exceeding twenty years. Unfortunately for conventional and organic growers, even at hardly detectable levels these contaminants are finding their way into agricultural products.

Enhancing biological control in mating disruption and organic pear orchards by understory management

Habitat management to enhance biological control in cultivated crops is an increasingly common method of pest control in both annual and perennial cropping systems. Examples of this approach include use of windbreaks or hedge rows to prompt build-up of natural enemies around crop edges, planting of insectary seed mixes as cover crops in perennial crops, or management of natural ground cover (e.g., via mowing frequency, strip mowing, or selective herbicide use) to enhance build-up of natural enemies.

Evaluation of the Efficacy of Predatory Mites in Controlling Pests of Cultivated Mushrooms in Organic Mushroom Houses

The following species are the most common predatory mites in Polish mushroom houses, in which Agaricus bisporus is cultivated: Arctoseius semiscissus, A. cetratus, Dendrolaelaps fallax (Kropczyfiska-Linkiewicz 1984), and Parasitus sp. (Lewandowski, unpubl.). Species composition of mite predators of mushroom houses with oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) is not known yet. Predatory mites are obviously of the most interest in mushroom pest control in the organic mushroom houses.

Biological control of Delia sp. in cole crops with rove beetles, Aleochara sp. Part1)

The consumer demand for organic produce is increasing. In order for growers to be able to meet this demand, effective non-chemical tools need to be available for pest management. In BC in particular there is an increase in the production of organic cole crops, hence an urgent need to develop organic integrated pest management (IPM) systems that emphasize biological, cultural and other non-chemical methods (for insect and disease management).

Biological control of Delia sp. in cole crops with rove beetles, Aleochara sp. (Part 2)

The objective of this study was to examine the use of rove beetles, Aleochara spp., for the biological control of root maggots, Delia spp. in organic cole crops. We were interested in manipulating Aleochara numbers by either conservation strategies or by augmentative releases of mass-reared Aleochara bilineata. 

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