Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for Hydroponics and Protected Agriculture

Managing Greenhouse and Protected Ag vegetable pests –

Predator and pest identification

Hands-on microscope observation and more! Continue reading

Research team finds that natural enemies help delay insecticide resistance, protect Bt crops

Despite the controversy over them, transgenic crops have helped growers fend off some of the most destructive pests. The higher yield that results has provided consumers more affordable food. When used properly as a part of an integrated pest management program, transgenic crops can be an effective and economical way to manage certain pests, diseases and weeds. Unfortunately, as the failures of Roundup Ready crops have shown, transgenic crops are not sustainable when used as the sole pest management tactic.

When Bt technology came out, the Environmental Protection Agency instituted a requirement to have a “refuge” plot of crops not protected with Bt to maintain a population of pests that were not exposed to the Bt toxin. The refuge could be treated with an insecticide; it just couldn’t be treated with Bt. The theory behind the refuge was that having a plot of the crop that was treated with a different insecticide would give the pest species a non-Bt alternative, so that those individuals would still be susceptible to Bt, mate with individuals who had been exposed to Bt and pass on their Bt-susceptible genes to the next generation, therefore delaying resistance. Continue reading

Preying on predators

This post comes from Scott Stewart’s UTCrops News Blog. Predators are important in IPM, so I thought this was worth sharing.

Assassin bug and lady beetle

Assassin bug attacking a lady beetle

The critter pictured right is one of the several kinds of assassin bugs found in field crops (family Reduviidae).  Assassin bugs are excellent predators of many insect pests, but this guy didn’t get the memo and is eating an adult lady beetle (another beneficial insect).

Assassin bugs are pretty large, and thus can take down some big prey such as large caterpillars.  Of course, the immature stages are smaller and feed on smaller prey.  The species pictured belongs to the genus Zelus, and it is commonly seen in soybean and cotton.  The adult is about one-inch long.  Assassin bugs will bite, so handle carefully!