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Novel Barrier and Repellent Technologies Combined with Mating Disruption to Prevent Borer & Rodent Damage to Apple Plantings

Investigators
Curtis, Paul; Agnello, Arthur M
Institutions
New York Agricultural Experiment Station
Start date
2010
End date
2012
Objective

1 - Develop fibrous and non-fibrous formulations for sprayable barriers to prevent dogwood borer and rodent damage to dwarf apple rootstocks

2 - Screen potential barriers in small-scale controlled field trials for voles

3 - Compare field efficacy of fibrous and non-fibrous barriers in preventing dogwood borer infestation

4 - Compare longevity of barrier materials

5 - Assess pheromone mating disruption as a supplemental or alternative borer control measure

6 - Educate growers on the benefits of this management tactic and incorporate this approach into ongoing extension programs and information resources to stimulate further adoption.

Activities will consist of conducting experiments in the following areas: assessments of different methods for creating barriers against pest infestation, including

1) fibrous barriers produced using a commercial applicator that melts plastic beads and sprays the cooling fibers around tree trunks; and

2) elastic wall-covering materials applied using a customized spray gun, combined with abrasive or chemically repellent components.

Potential barriers will be screened in small field trials for their efficacy in preventing vole damage to small sections of apple trees. Promising candidate barriers will be used to treat established apple trees in commercial orchards, as protection against dogwood borers as well as vole pests. Insect management efficacy will be compared with that obtained from a trunk application of a standard insecticide during the spring, as well as with a pheromone-only treatment for mating disruption of the dogwood borer moths. Growers will be educated on the benefits of this management tactic by incorporating this approach into ongoing extension programs via a demonstration site that can be viewed by stakeholders interested in the methodology for using these techniques and the overall progress of this work. Data will be generated on the overall efficacy of these approaches, along with estimates of the equipment costs and time requirements for applying each of the different treatments, to allow construction of a budget for labor and scheduling purposes. Dissemination of the project results will be conducted through events such as a series of educational meetings that takes place throughout the growing season as well as a regional summer tour and field day that will highlight the progress of this research. A tour stop to view these plots will be included as an opportunity to share the concept and progress of this approach with a broad grower audience. Additionally, separate field day meetings will be held in designated commercial orchards during the early post-harvest and delayed-dormant periods, to demonstrate one or more of the recommended barrier application techniques using candidate trees, to give growers a better understanding of how to implement these tactics and encourage them to consider incorporating them into their operations.

More information

NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY:
Trunk damage to apple trees caused by pests including insects, such as dogwood borer (DWB), and rodents is a significant problem that receives inadequate attention in most commercial production regions, including the northeastern US. Current management approaches rely on the use of insecticide trunk sprays for borers, and trapping/exclusion methods plus poisoning with rodenticides for voles, mice and rabbits. None of these approaches are entirely effective; because of the time and effort required to employ them, their need for frequent re-treatment, or their hazard potential to farm workers, they are often used improperly, sporadically, or not at all, resulting in continued or expanded incidence of the infestations. We propose to evaluate a combination of non-insecticidal alternatives to control trunk-damaging pests consisting of novel barrier technologies, either used alone or in combination with pheromone mating disruption. Candidate barrier formulations to be evaluated include fibrous barriers made of non-woven ethylene vinyl acetate generated by a hot melt adhesive unit fitted with a hand-held spray head, and non-fibrous barriers made of common elastomeric compounds used as commercial building coatings, applied either alone or combined with various repellent or abrasive materials such as sand, perlite, charcoal, or capsaicin (the spicy component of chili peppers). All barriers will be screened for efficacy against voles in small-plot trials in non-orchard locations with known high vole pressure. To further examine efficacy of DWB control in commercial orchards, all the barrier trials will be replicated in larger scale field tests, both in combination with DWB mating disruption and without it. Pheromone dispensers containing a newly available DWB sex pheromone blend will be deployed in the orchard blocks, and incidence of trunk damage from borers as well as voles will be compared. Barrier field life and durability will be assessed on a regular basis throughout the 2-year study and for a third year after the project has terminated. This project addresses PMAP Objectives by developing IPM tactics to control a significant class of pests in apple cropping systems, using techniques that are alternatives to current pesticide-based methods. These tactics will be evaluated in the field to assess their efficacy against insect and vertebrate pest species, and their utility in apple production operations will be demonstrated to commercial growers through informational winter meetings, hands-on field day demonstrations, and university pest management guidelines and newsletters via print and web formats. Successful implementation will result in improved tree health and orchard long term viability, and avoidance of unnecessary pesticide sprays and their attendant impact on farmworkers, the orchard environment, and food safety.

APPROACH:
Among the efforts to deliver knowledge obtained through this project to audiences able to use it is that a prominent western NY grower has agreed to cooperate by designating orchards where these treatments will be evaluated and following suggested management guidelines in consideration of ongoing treatment efficacy evaluations during the term of the project. This will serve as an opportunity for peers to be exposed to the efforts and progress being made, as this operation includes a commercial nursery that is highly visible to the regional industry. Also, two of this project's co-Directors have direct responsibility for providing control recommendations for the NY pest mangement guidelines, ensuring that the results identifying the most effective and economical treatments for preventing trunk damage by these pests will be incorporated into the printed and online reference publication used most frequently by the region's apple growers. Success of the project will be evaluated by comparing the field efficacy over time of the barrier and pheromone treatments in preventing insect borer and vole infestation in the trial orchards. Data will be taken to evaluate the following criteria: The percentage of burrknots infested per tree will be determined. Any apparent phytotoxic effects on treated trees will be noted. The data recorded for each treatment will be the number of burrknots present and the number of burrknots infested at the time of examination. This trial will take place over two years, but a third observation will be conducted the year after expiration of the grant so that barrier longevity can be further evaluated. Vole activity in the orchards will be monitored each year with an apple activity index, which will be used to compare relative vole densities for the various treatments in the different blocks. Barriers on the trees will be examined monthly beginning one month after application and throughout the remainder of the experiment to estimate the percentage of barrier material remaining on the trunk. Digital photography will be used to capture baseline images of barriers at the time of application and then compared with images of the same trees taken at later dates. In order to compare the efficacy of using pheromone mating disruption to control dogwood borer, either as a stand-alone tactic or in combination with any of the barrier treatments, communication disruption will be assessed by deploying pheromone traps, and trap catch reduction in these plots will be assessed and related to amounts burrknot infestation caused by borers in these vs. untreated plots. Grower surveys have identified their willingness to address this problem if there were a method that was easy to use and had more long-term effectiveness than current options. Cost of implementation would naturally be a factor as well, but this could be justified by sufficient improvement in these first two areas. The approaches in this proposed study will be tested and demonstrated to obtain realistic evaluations of their pest management efficacy, their durability under representative orchard conditions, and the cost (time, labor, and materials) needed to implement them.

PROGRESS: 2010/09 TO 2012/08
OUTPUTS: We evaluated a combination of non-insecticidal alternatives to control trunk-damaging dogwood borer (DWB) consisting of novel barrier technologies, either used alone or in combination with pheromone mating disruption. Candidate barrier formulations evaluated included fibrous barriers made of non-woven ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) generated by a hot melt adhesive unit fitted with a hand-held spray head (applied 7-8 June 2011), and non-fibrous barriers made of a rubberized paint product (elastomer) used in commercial building coatings (applied 24-25 May 2011). To examine the efficacy of DWB control in commercial orchards, all the barrier trials were replicated in large scale field tests, both in combination with DWB mating disruption and without it. Three experimental plots in North Huron, NY, that are infested by dogwood borer at varying levels, were selected for these field trials. Pheromone dispensers containing DWB sex pheromone blend were deployed in the orchard blocks at a rate of 100 dispensers/acre between 11-26 May (2011) and 27 April-18 May (2012), prior to the beginning of the dogwood borer flight each year. Lorsban 4E was applied as a grower standard treatment in additional plots on 15 June (2011) and 18 July (2012). Pheromone-baited traps were deployed 1 June (2011) and 22 May (2012), and were checked weekly through September. Trunk inspections to determine whether mating disruption and the barrier formulations were effective in reducing actual tree infestation were conducted 19-23 Sept (2011) and 24-26 Sept (2012). Barrier field life and durability was assessed on a regular basis throughout the 2-year study by taking an extensive series of photos of designated treatment trees roughly every 4 months and comparing their degradation over time due to weathering and other environmental effects, including animal damage. Barriers on each of 10 trees replicated 3 times per treatment at each site were rated as: 100% intact, or 50%, or 100% exposed. These barriers were also screened for efficacy against voles in small-plot trials in non-orchard locations with known high vole pressure; they were tested either alone, combined with a repellent (Thiram) and, in the case of the elastomer only, combined with an abrasive (sand). Each barrier treatment was applied on 18 Nov 2001 to cut sections of apple tree branches attached to wooden stands, and placed in 3 non-orchard sites near Ithaca, NY, having a preferred habitat for voles and showing evidence of vole activity. The apple wood was inspected 1 and 14 Dec, 9 Jan, 9 and 28 Feb, and 23 Mar 2012 for evidence of vole damage. Results from this project were disseminated at the Orchard Pest & Disease Management Conference, Portland, OR (2011 & 2012); Upper Hudson/Champlain Tree Fruit School, Lake George, NY (2011 & 2012); Entomological Society of America Eastern Branch Meeting, Harrisburg, PA, 2011 and Hartford, CT, 2012; Lake Ontario Summer Fruit tour, Appleton, NY, 2011; Great Lakes Fruit Workers Meeting, Grand Rapids, MI, 2011; Cumberland-Shenandoah Fruit Workers Conference, Winchester, VA, 2011; and Hudson Valley Commercial Fruit Growers School, Kingston, NY, 2012. PARTICIPANTS: Arthur Agnello, Dept. of Entomology, Cornell University, is co-PI of this project and responsible for evaluation of barrier and pheromone treatments in the large-scale orchard studies. David Kain, Dept. of Entomology, Cornell University, works in the Agnello program and was responsible for application of the insecticide treatment and pheromone dispensers; conducting annual infestation/damage inspections; and conducting barrier inspections for the longevity study. Courtney Sekulic, Elizabeth Swartele, Dylan Tussey, Cortni McGregor and Kristin McGregor were Summer Technical Assistants in the Agnello program and were responsible for weekly trap inspections and plot maintenance; damage assessments; data collation and entry. Michael Hoffmann, Dept. of Entomology, Cornell University, is co-PI of this project and has barrier formulation and application responsibilities. Jeffrey Gardner, Dept. of Entomology, Cornell University, works in the Hoffmann program and was responsible for barrier applications, equipment maintenance and cleanup. Paul Curtis, Dept. of Natural Resources, Cornell University, is co-PI of this project and responsible for barrier effectiveness evaluation against voles in small-plot studies. Michael Ashdown, Dept. of Natural Resources, Cornell University, works in the Curtis program and was responsible for setting up and evaluating small-plot barrier screening trials. TARGET AUDIENCES: The target audience for this work primarily comprises tree fruit growers in the region whose orchards are susceptible to infestation by this trunk-damaging pest. A series of educational meetings takes place throughout the growing season where the New York fruit grower community will be informed about the results and prospects for this project in western NY (i.e., The Empire State Fruit & Vegetable Expo in Syracuse, County and Regional Fruit Team winter meetings in the Lake Ontario, Hudson Valley, and Lake Champlain regions). Also, the regional Lake Ontario Fruit extension program conducts a summer tour highlighting current on-farm research, so a tour stop to view these plots was included as an opportunity to share the concept and progress of this approach with a broad grower audience. Additionally, separate field day meetings are held in designated commercial orchards during the early post-harvest and delayed-dormant periods, to demonstrate one or more of the recommended barrier application techniques using candidate trees, to give growers a better understanding of how to implement these tactics and encourage them to consider incorporating them into their operations. Finally, two of this project's co-Directors have direct responsibility for providing control recommendations for the NY Pest Mangement Guidelines for Commercial Tree Fruit Production (A. Agnello, arthropods; P. Curtis, vertebrate pests), ensuring that the results identifying the most effective and economical treatments for preventing trunk damage by these pests are incorporated into the printed and online reference publication used most frequently by the region's apple growers. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

PROGRESS: 2010/09/01 TO 2011/08/31
OUTPUTS: We have begun a project to evaluate a combination of non-insecticidal alternatives to control dogwood borer (DWB), and other trunk-damaging pests such as voles, consisting of novel barrier technologies, either used alone or in combination with pheromone mating disruption. Candidate barrier formulations being evaluated include fibrous barriers made of non-woven ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) generated by a hot melt adhesive unit fitted with a hand-held spray head, and non-fibrous barriers made of common elastomeric compounds used as commercial building coatings, applied either alone or combined with an abrasive material (sand). All barriers will be screened for efficacy against voles in small-plot trials in non-orchard locations with known high vole pressure. To further examine efficacy of DWB control in commercial orchards, all the barrier trials are being replicated in larger scale field tests, both in combination with DWB mating disruption (MD) and without it. Three experimental plots in North Huron, NY, that are infested by dogwood borer at varying levels, were selected for these field trials. Isomate-DWB pheromone dispensers, containing a newly available DWB sex pheromone blend, were deployed in the orchard blocks at a rate of 100 dispensers/acre between 11 May and 26 May, 2011, prior to the beginning of the dogwood borer flight. Lorsban 4E was applied as a grower standard treatment in additional plots on 15 June. Pheromone-baited traps were deployed 1 June, and were checked weekly through September 14. Trunk inspections to determine whether mating disruption and the barrier formulations were effective in reducing actual tree infestation were conducted 19-23 September. Barrier field life and durability will be assessed on a regular basis throughout the 2-year study and for a third year after the project has terminated. In August 2011, the candidate barrier formulations were demonstrated to approximately 200 participants of the Lake Ontario Summer Fruit tour, Appleton, NY, to introduce the project objectives and techniques to the fruit grower community. Additionally, in November 2011, a 15-minute research presentation on the progress of this project was given to 40 participants of the Great Lakes Fruit Workers Conference in Grand Rapids, MI. PARTICIPANTS: Arthur Agnello, Dept. of Entomology, Cornell University, is co-PI of this project and responsible for evaluation of barrier and pheromone treatments in the large-scale orchard studies. David Kain, Dept. of Entomology, Cornell University, works in the Agnello program and was responsible for application of the insecticide treatment and pheromone dispensers; conducting annual infestation/damage inspections; and conducting barrier inspections for the longevity study. Courtney Sekulic and Elizabeth Swartele were Summer Technical Assistants in the Agnello program and were responsible for weekly trap inspections and plot maintenance; damage assessments; data collation and entry. Michael Hoffmann, Dept. of Entomology, Cornell University, is co-PI of this project and has barrier formulation and application responsibilities. Jeffrey Gardner, Dept. of Entomology, Cornell University, works in the Hoffmann program and was responsible for barrier applications, equipment maintenance and cleanup. Paul Curtis, Dept. of Natural Resources, Cornell University, is co-PI of this project and responsible for barrier effectiveness evaluation against voles in small-plot studies. Michael Ashdown, Dept. of Natural Resources, Cornell University, works in the Curtis program and was responsible for setting up and evaluating small-plot barrier screening trials. Other collaborators included: Paul Wafler, Wolcott, NY, who allowed us to conduct these trials in his orchards Aijun Zhang, USDA-Beltsville, who donated pheromone lures Greg Stamm, CBC (America) Corp, who donated pheromone MD dispensers NYS Apple Research & Development Program, who supplied partial funding for some of the field activities. TARGET AUDIENCES: The target audience for this work primarily comprises tree fruit growers in the region whose orchards are susceptible to infestation by this trunk-damaging pest. A series of educational meetings takes place throughout the growing season where the New York fruit grower community will be informed about the results and prospects for this project in western NY (i.e., The Empire State Fruit & Vegetable Expo in Syracuse, County and Regional Fruit Team winter meetings in the Lake Ontario, Hudson Valley, and Lake Champlain regions). Also, the regional Lake Ontario Fruit extension program conducts a summer tour highlighting current on-farm research, so a tour stop to view these plots has been included as an opportunity to share the concept and progress of this approach with a broad grower audience. Additionally, separate field day meetings will be held in designated commercial orchards during the early post-harvest and delayed-dormant periods, to demonstrate one or more of the recommended barrier application techniques using candidate trees, to give growers a better understanding of how to implement these tactics and encourage them to consider incorporating them into their operations. Finally, two of this project's co-Directors have direct responsibility for providing control recommendations for the NY Pest Mangement Guidelines for Commercial Tree Fruit Production (A. Agnello, arthropods; P. Curtis, vertebrate pests), ensuring that the results identifying the most effective and economical treatments for preventing trunk damage by these pests will be incorporated into the printed and online reference publication used most frequently by the region's apple growers. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
NYG-621538
Accession number
222658
Categories
Bacterial Pathogens
Pesticide Residues
Natural Toxins
Parasites
Viruses and Prions
Chemical Contaminants
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Meat, Poultry, Game