A Higher Level of IPM

03/01/2010 02:00:00 AM
Renee Stern

“We’re learning a lot,” Unruh says. “But it’s slow going.”

It’s what’s for dinner

Molecular analyses of what different predators are eating have run into hitches in finding a definitive process that’s not too sensitive for speedy use.

Bats also serve as natural enemies, with codling moth DNA detected in feces up to 18 hours after feeding. But many of the controls used in conventional orchards aren’t soft on birds and bats, he says.

Some growers have added plantings near their orchards that enhance bird and beneficial arthropod habitats, he says.

Photo courtesy of the Agricultural Research Service
Washington State University entomologist Vince Jones wants to develop better phenology, or life-cycle, models for beneficials, such as ladybird beetles.
Photo by David Cappaert, Michigan State University; bugwood.org
Photo courtesy of Washington State University
Figuring out which beneficial insect consumes what pest is difficult. A team from the Agricultural Research Service is trying to solve that mystery.

“We’ve made some good progress on the project,” Jones says. Lab and field research will remain the primary focus for the next two years, after which economic analysis and outreach will come to the fore. A how-to manual and scenarios to guide growers to the most cost-effective program will be integrated into WSU’s online Decision Aid System.

“We have to be able to show that it works on a commercial scale,” Mills says.

“We’re trying to leave a legacy of information that will be synthesized for various crop systems,” Jones says. “We want to have as good an online presence as possible that people can use.”

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