Insect Management

Evaluating Benefits of Winter Annual Cover Crop Systems for Organic Sweet Potato in North Carolina

North Carolina is the second largest producer of organic sweet potatoes in the U.S., with a rapid 42% increase in acreage transitioning to organic from 2014 to 2016. Despite a steady demand for organic sweet potatoes, marketable yield often does not reach the yield potential for this region due to challenges in weed, insect and soil fertility management. Through farmer consultation soil borne pests such a wireworm and weed proliferation were identified as two areas of concern for organic farmers in North Carolina.

 

Corn Earworm Management: A Survey of Organic Sweet Corn Growers

The objectives of this project are to attain information about the corn earworm management strategies of organic sweet corn growers. This information will be used to achieve two outcomes: creation of an extension publication about corn earworm management strategies, aimed at organic farmers, and collection of data that will inform longer-term efforts of developing earworm-resistant sweet corn cultivars for organic farmers.

Developing a Cover Crop-Based, No-Till System for Small-Scale Vegetable Producers: Effects on Soil Health, Weeds, Arthropod Communities, and Yield

In the Midwest, one limitation faced by small- and mid-scale organic producers involving cover crop-based, no-till systems is the expense associated with equipment such as a roller crimper needed to terminate the cover crop for spring planting. Thus, the development of an effective no-till system that does not require the use of expensive equipment would be beneficial to producers.

Flowering Plants in Organic Strawberry Fields to Enhance Natural Enemies and Pollinators and Improve Pest Control and Fruit Quality

Methods to conserve and augment beneficial insects in modern horticultural production systems are needed given issues with pest resistance to insecticides, pest resurgence due to lack of natural enemies, and replacement of native with invasive species. Production systems also require pollinators and, in recent years, declines in managed and wild species have been well documented. Organic agriculture systems are less disturbed by insecticides and well suited to benefit from practices designed to improve abundance and diversity of beneficial insects.

A New Approach for Successful Organic Peach Production in the Southeast

The production of organic peaches is extremely difficult under the humid conditions of the Southeast due to high pest and disease pressures, and the lack of effective, organically approved pesticides. Consequently, only very few growers have taken the risk and transitioned into organic peach farming. This proposal aims to provide growers in the Southeast with a new tool to reduce the risk of transitioning to organic production of peaches. This strategy consists of the use of paper bags to physically protect the fruit from pests and diseases to reduce reliance on spray applications.

Evaluation of Kaolin-based Particle Film Coatings on Insect and Disease Suppression in Apples

The objective of the study was to evaluate and document the efficacy and potential of a kaolinbased particle film coating in suppressing plum curculio, codling moth, red-banded leafroller, oriental fruit moth, and certain bacterial and fungal pathogens in apples, while fine tuning application recommendations for Midwestern growers.

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. 

Bat Houses for Integrated Pest Management-- Benefits for Bats and Organic Farmers: Phase I

The first objective of this study (Phase I) was to establish four bat houses (two pairs each of a proven nursery design) at 10 organic farms in California and Utah. Larger, experimental designs were to be installed at five of these sites for testing purposes. Data from the North American Bat House Research Project shows that pairs or groups of houses are more successful than single houses.