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June 2001 |
Coordinated Control Methods Vanquish Apple
& Pear Pest By
November 26, 2001
It took time for apple and pear growers in the northwestern
United States to buy into the concept of areawide pest control. But when all
was said and done, Agricultural Research
O. Calkins--with help from many quarters, including state university
scientists, ARS scientists and private sector partners--demonstrated that
growers could band together across large areas to curb the codling moth, with
reduced use of chemical pesticides.
Without pesticides or other controls, the codling moth alone
could destroy up to 80 percent of the region's apple crop and half of its
pears. So Calkins, as the program coordinator, decided to bring to bear
everything known about monitoring the moth and curbing its spread by
Calkins convinced 68 growers to try mating disruption in their
orchards. In 1994, they began with 3,000 acres at five sites in Washington,
Oregon and California. To reduce pesticide use, they adopted classic integrated
pest management (IPM) techniques including release of pheromones to confuse
moths in search of mates and, at one site, release of sterile males to prevent
fertilization of females.
Today, Northwest orchardists have reduced their pesticide
applications by about 80 percent. This has led to new knowledge of secondary
insect pests and the natural parasites and predators that can help keep the
pests in check if pesticide use is reduced.
Fruit on more than 120,000 acres of orchards in Washington,
Oregon and California is now being grown under areawide IPM practices. And
while ARS oversight has ended, a new university-led phase continues the
innovative approach to crop protection. To read more about the five-year
Codling Moth Areawide Suppression Program and its findings, see the
November issue of
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency. Calkins leads the agency's
Yakima Agricultural Research
Laboratory in Wapato, Wash.