Best Practices for Predator Releases: Lacewings, Beetles, and Mites
Fruit and Vegetable Insect Research
2011 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1. Survey organic orchards on predator release practices
2. Develop methods to allow differentiation between released and naturally occurring predators
3. Develop methods to optimize release methods
4. Conduct laboratory trials to compare efficacy of reared and released species
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Organic apple growers will be surveyed to determine extent to which insectary reared natural enemies are released as components of biological control programs in orchards. We will develop molecular methods allowing us to differentiate among field-collected predators originating from releases versus naturally occurring populations. Tests of release efficacy will be done by comparing pest and predator densities in areas of the orchard receiving releases and areas in which no releases are made. Field trials will be done to assess how release methods (numbers released, timing of releases, stages of predator released, method of release) influences efficacy. Laboratory trials will be done to confirm that insectary-reared predators feed and develop on target pests.
This project is an extension of research on the management of insect pests of temperate tree fruits and addresses objective 4 of the related in-house project.
This project relates to national program component NP 304 2A - Protection of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops, Biology and Ecology of Pests and Natural Enemies by identifying biological and physical requirements needed to employ lacewings for controlling aphid pests in fruit crops. “Lacewing egg release technology” Organically grown temperate tree fruits often suffer cosmetic injury from aphids because there are no effective organically approved insecticides for these pests and their beneficial predators become active only after damage has occurred. ARS entomologists at the Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory developed a new adhesive solution and modified sprayer to spray lacewings eggs onto orchard trees, which after hatching can attack and pest aphids. This technology may lead to more economical and effective releases of this predator for aphid control in many food crops instead of pesticides.
Monitoring of activities and progress on this project was accomplished by direct supervision of on-site employees, and use of site visits, email and telephone to communicate with off-site collaborators.