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Ecology and Management of Insect Pests of Specialty Fruit and Vegetable Crops in Alabama

Investigators
Fadamiro, Henry
Institutions
Auburn University
Start date
2010
End date
2015
Objective

The goal of this Hatch project is to develop, evaluate, and implement ecologically sound IPM tactics against major insect pests of fruit and vegetable crops in Alabama. This Hatch project will specifically focus on two fruit crops (peaches and Satsuma citrus) and crucifer vegetable crops. The specific objectives of this Hatch project are to:

1. Develop, evaluate and implement IPM tactics for managing plum curculio and stink bugs in peaches.

2. Develop and evaluate IPM strategies for key pests of Satsuma citrus with special focus on leaffooted bugs.

3. Develop, evaluate and implement conventional and organically-acceptable IPM tactics for key pests of cruciferous vegetable crops in Alabama with special focus on yellowmargined leaf beetle.

More information

NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY:
The focus of this proposal is on management of major pests of important key specialty fruit crops in Alabama. Peach production is an important industry in Alabama with an estimated total annual market value of ~ $10 million (Alabama Agricultural Statistics Service, 2005). Satsuma mandarin production is an emerging industry in Alabama. About one-third of the local Satsuma mandarin crop has been sold annually to the Alabama public school system since 2003. Several arthropod pests attack fruit and vegetable crops in Alabama with the potential to cause significant economic losses to growers. Being high value crops, there is zero tolerance for insect damage. As a result growers typically rely on multiple calendar applications of conventional pesticides to produce unblemished fruits for the fresh market. Extensive use of insecticides has resulted in many drawbacks including pest resistance, food safety, and environmental pollution. Furthermore, many pesticides are being lost through government regulation (FQPA, 1996), creating an urgent need for alternative pest management strategies in fruit crops. Studies have shown that IPM potentially offers a sound alternative strategy to conventional pest control in fruit and vegetable production. For the past six years, the PI has been working with growers, extension specialists, and other stakeholders to develop IPM tactics for key pests of fruit and vegetable crops in Alabama. This Hatch project will build on the success recorded in these initial studies. Specifically, the goal of this project is to develop and implement ecologically based and cost-effective IPM practices for major and emerging pests of peaches (i.e. plum curculio, stink bugs), Satsuma citrus (i.e. leaffooted bugs) and crucifer vegetable crops in Alabama. The research will identify low-input IPM tactics that will reduce pesticide use in fruit and vegetable production, reduce human health risks, and minimize adverse environmental effects of use of toxic conventional insecticides. This proposal also addresses the goals of the National IPM Roadmap, the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), and the EPA's Strategic Agriculture Initiative program by developing and implementing environmentally friendly IPM practices that will improve economic sustainability of Alabama farms and decrease residues of toxic pesticides on fresh market fruits. Implementation of IPM is vital to the survival and expansion of the Alabama fruit and vegetable industry.

APPROACH:
The proposed project will involve laboratory, greenhouse and field studies. Laboratory experiments will be conducted at the Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology, Auburn University (AU). Greenhouse studies will be conducted at the AU Plant Science greenhouse, while field experiments will primarily be conducted at the following stations: i) Chilton Research & Extension Center, Clanton (CREC; peaches), and ii) Gulf Coast Research and Extension Center, Fairhope (GCREC; Satsuma). Field studies will also be conducted at select commercial farms statewide. The PI's lab is equipped with the necessary facility for this research including analytical tools such as gas chromatography (GC), gas chromatography coupled electroantennogram detection (GC-EAD), and gas chromatography-coupled mass spectroscopy (GC-MS), behavioral and electroantennogram (EAG) systems. Experiments will utilize standard procedures and protocols previously developed by the PI.

PROGRESS:
2013/01 TO 2013/09
Target Audience: The target audiences include conventional and organicfruit and vegetable producers and limited resource farmers in Alabama.
Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Nothing Reported. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? The results have been disseminated to the scientific community and stakeholders in form of research and Extension publications. Also, several presentations were made at professional meeting as well asproducer meetings. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Nothing Reported.

PROGRESS:
2012/01/01 TO 2012/12/31
OUTPUTS: Objective 1. Develop, evaluate and implement IPM tactics for managing plum curculio and stink bugs in peaches. On-farm evaluation of reduced and well-timed/targeted insecticide sprays programs based on pest phenology model has identified promising reduced spray programs for management of plum curculio and stink bugs in peaches. The effective targeted spray programs include 2 sprays of Imidan (Phosmet) alternated with 2 sprays of Actara (Thiamethoxam), 2 sprays of Rimon (Novaluron) alternated with 2 sprays of Actara, and 2 sprays of Rimon and Imidan tank-mixed alternated with 2 sprays of Actara. The results showed that 4 well-timed/targeted insecticide sprays can provide effective control of plum curculio and sting bugs in peaches and represent cost-effective alternatives to the conventional weekly spray program of 6-12 sprays per season. Objective 2. Develop and evaluate IPM strategies for key pests of Satsuma citrus. Three species of predacious mites (Acari: Phytoseiidae), Galendromus occidentalis, Phytoseiulus persimilis and Neoseiulus californicus, were evaluated as biological control agents for citrus red mite, Panonychus citri (Acari: Tetranychidae), Satsuma in southern Alabama. A study conducted in large plots on trees with low initial P. citri densities.

IMPACT:
2012/01/01 TO 2012/12/31
Change in knowledge: This project has resulted in increased general knowledge of integrated pest management (IPM) by fruit and vegetable farmers in Alabama. Evaluation of IPM tactics has resulted in the availability of new and effective IPM methods and technology to farmers. Training and workshops have helped farmers to acquire improved skills in IPM tools such as pest sampling, monitoring, application of pesticides, use and conservation of biological control agents, etc. Change in actions: This project has resulted in increased application of IPM knowledge and adoption of IPM methods and techniques by Alabama fruit and vegetable farmers. Change in conditions: Project has resulted in reduced pesticide use in some fruit crops in Alabama.
Impacts: Implementation of IPM programs for key fruit and vegetable crops in Alabama has allowed farmers to maximize their yields and protect their crops with practices and materials that pose minimal health and environmental risks. Fewer pesticides are being applied in several crops and farmers are now using reduced-risk pesticides. Satsuma citrus and peach growers are now using IPM tactics such as pest monitoring and applications of oils and other reduced-risk pesticides.

PROGRESS:
2011/01/01 TO 2011/12/31
OUTPUTS: Objective 1. Develop, evaluate and implement IPM tactics for managing plum curculio and stink bugs in peaches. Experiments were conducted in two peach orchards to evaluate the effects of some common orchard weed management practices on the development of the soil dwelling life stages of plum curculio. Four common orchard weed management practices (treatments) were evaluated in plots located under peach tree canopies: centipede grass understory; weed free understory; weedy (natural weeds) understory; and pine bark understory. Fewer numbers of adult plum curculio emerged from the centipede grass understory plots compared with weed free, weedy or pine bark treated understories. Objective 2. Develop and evaluate IPM strategies for key pests of Satsuma citrus. We evaluated three species of predacious mites (Acari: Phytoseiidae), Galendromus occidentalis, Phytoseiulus persimilis and Neoseiulus californicus, as biological control agents for citrus red mite, Panonychus citri on Satsuma citrus in southern Alabama. The effects of release rate (100 vs. 200 per tree), frequency (1 vs. 2), and initial prey density (low, moderate, or high) were tested in three separate experiments. These results showed that all three phytoseiid species were effective in reducing P. citri densities on citrus, however initial prey density is an important factor influencing their performance. Objective 3. Develop, evaluate and implement conventional and organically-acceptable IPM tactics for key pests of cruciferous vegetable crops in Alabama with special focus on yellowmargined leaf beetle. Field trials were conducted in spring 2011 at the E.V. Smith research center (Shorter, AL) to evaluate effectiveness of trap cropping technique for managing yellowmargined leaf beetle, Microtheca ochroloma on crucifers. Two host plants, turnip (Brassica rapa variety rapa) and napa cabbage (B. rapa subsp. pekinensis) were tested as trap crops and cabbage (B. oleraceae variety capitata) as main crop. Experimental plots consisted of seven rows of 35 ft long with outer most rows as trap crop. Trap crops were transplanted two weeks in advance to main crop. Experiment was replicated three times using a randomized complete block design. Results showed that trap crop successfully trapped ?80 per cent of beetles compared to main crop. Conferences attended: i) Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Branch of Entomological Society of America, San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 19-22, 2011; ii) Annual Meeting of SERA 3/Southern IPM Coordinator, San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 23, 2011(Presented 1 paper); iii) 2011 meeting of the International Society of Chemical Ecology, Vancouver, Canada, July 24-28, 2011(Presented 2 papers); iv) 4th European Whitefly Symposium, Rehovot, Israel, September 11-16, 2011 (Presented 1 paper); v) Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, Reno, Nevada, November 13-16, 2011 (Presented 3 papers from my program).
PARTICIPANTS: Clement Akotsen-Mensah (postdoctoral researcher - assisted with data collection) Rammohan Balusu (postdoctoral researcher - assisted with data collection) Kavita Sharma (postdoctoral researcher- assisted with data collection) Esther Ngumbi (graduate student - assisted with data collection) Prithwiraj Das (graduate student - assisted with data collection) Kate Nangle (graduate student - assisted with data collection) Tolulope Morawo (graduate student - assisted with data collection)
TARGET AUDIENCES: Fruit and vegetable growers, extension agents.
PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
ALA015-1-10030
Accession number
222180
Categories
Chemical Contaminants
Legislation and Regulations
Parasites
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Pesticide Residues
Commodities
Produce