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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Cranberry Genetic Improvement and Insect Pest Management

Location: Vegetable Crops Research

Title: From planning to execution to the future: An overview of a concerted effort to enhance biological control in apple, pear, and walnut orchards in the western U.S.

item Jones, Vincent
item Mills, Nicholas
item Brunner, Jay
item Horton, David
item Beers, Elizabeth
item Unruh, Thomas
item Shearer, Peter
item Goldberger, Jessica
item Castagnoli, Steven
item Lehrer, Nadine
item Miliczky, Eugene
item Steffan, Shawn
item Amarasakare, Kaushalya
item Chambers, Ute

Submitted to: Biological Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/4/2015
Publication Date: 3/30/2016
Publication URL:
Citation: Jones, V.P., Mills, N.J., Brunner, J.F., Horton, D.R., Beers, E.H., Unruh, T.R., Shearer, P.W., Goldberger, J.R., Castagnoli, S., Lehrer, N., Miliczky, E., Steffan, S.A., Amarasakare, K.G., Chambers, U., et al. 2016. From planning to execution to the future: An overview of a concerted effort to enhance biological control in apple, pear, and walnut orchards in the western U.S. Biological Control. 102:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2016.03.013.

Interpretive Summary: An inter-disciplinary team of scientists (entomologists, horticulturists, economists, sociologists) from the University of California, Oregon State University, and Washington State University worked together on a multi-year, multi-state project to better understand how the practice of biological control can be improved in the major fruit growing regions of the West. This study employed herbivore induced plant volatiles as lures within traps to reveal previously unknown arthropod diversity in commercial orchard systems. Certain attractants were clearly shown to be superior as lures for select insect groups, such as lacewings, syrphids, and parasitoids. The impacts of reduced rates of insecticides were revealed to help natural enemy populations. The economics of these IPM programs were examined to show that they were viable and reliable from a grower standpoint. Impact Statement: The project revealed remarkable insect diversity, particularly among the parasitic Hymenoptera. Importantly, this work also showed how reduced-risk compounds can replace many of the older, highly toxic, broad-spectrum materials used in industrial agriculture.

Technical Abstract: We embarked on a large project designed to help enhance biological control in apple, pear and walnut orchards in the western U.S., where management programs are in the midst of a transition from older organo-phosphate insecticides to mating disruption and newer reduced risk insecticides. A “pesticide replacement therapy” approach resulted in unstable management programs with outbreaks of spider mites and aphids that were unpredictable. Our project was designed to provide growers and pest managers with information on the effect of newer pesticide chemistries on a suite of representative natural enemies in both the laboratory and field, potential of new monitoring tools using herbivore-induced plant volatiles and floral volatiles, phenology of the key natural enemy species, economic consequences of using an enhanced biological control program, and value of an outreach program to get project outcomes into the hands of decision-makers. We present an overview of both the successes and failures of the project and of new projects that have spun off from this project to further enhance biological control in our systems in the near future.

Last Modified: 09/24/2017
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