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Development and Implementation of Alternative Pest Management Strategies For Emerging Crop Pests in Alabama

Fadamiro, Henry
Auburn University
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In Alabama, as in most other parts of the US, fruit and vegetable crops are attacked by numerous species of insect and mite pests. Intense pressure from pests can severely reduce yield and profitability. Fruits and vegetables are high value crops which must meet high quality production standards, including being free from insect damage. Traditionally, conventional growers have achieved pest control in their farms through applications of broadspectrum pesticides. In many cases, repeated use of pesticides has resulted in development of pest resistance, as well as concerns over food safety, human health, and the environment. The passage of the Food Quality Protection Act in 1996 (FQPA, 1996), which has resulted in cancellations or restrictions (by the US Environmental Protection Agency) of many major pesticides, has had a negative impact onfruit production and pest management. The removal or restrictionof key conventional insecticides, which historically have been used by specialty crop growers to control their major pests, has created a dire need for alternative management tactics for the major pests. In addition, removal of key conventional insecticides has also created serious concerns regarding emergence of new pests and increasing status of some minor pests inspecialty cropproduction. These issues heighten the need to develop effective and ecologically based integrated pest management strategies (IPM) for crop pests. The goal of this Hatch project is to develop and implementalternative pest management strategies for emerging crop pests in Alabama. This Hatch project will specifically focus on fruit (peaches), vegetable (cucurbits and crucifers), and field crops (soybeans). These crops have been selected based on various reasons including local needs and opportunities, and economic importance in Alabama. The project addresses the goals of USDA-NIFA-AFRI and is also relevant to the goals of the National IPM Roadmap by improving cost benefit analyses of adopting IPM practices incrop production. Furthermore, the research will identify low-input IPM tactics that will reduce pesticide use in crop production, reduce human health risks, and minimize adverse environmental effects of use of toxic conventional insecticides. The specific objectives of this Hatch project are to: 1) Evaluate and implement IPM tactics for key insect pests of peaches with special focus on plum curculio, plant bugs and scale insects, 2) Develop management strategies for key insect pests of cucurbits with special focus on squash bug, 3) Develop and implement organically-acceptable IPM program for key pests of crucifer crops with special focus on yellowmargined leaf beetle, Microtheca ochroloma, and 4) Develop alternative strategies for managing kudzu bug, Megacopta cribraria in soybeans.
Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
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Legislation and Regulations
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Chemical Contaminants
Pesticide Residues