2Outline Planning to avoid pests Insect Monitoring and Identification Fundamentals of Organic Insect ControlCultural PracticesSanitation, exclusionAttracting natural enemiesBotanical and biological pesticidesKey vegetable insect pests and control strategies
3Organic Control ‘Toolbox’ Example for Cucumber Beetle Habitat for natural enemiesGrow cucurbit varieties less attractive to beetlesLong distance crop rotationTransplant vs direct seedingEliminate crop residuesManipulate planting date (may miss peak markets)Row covers (may interfere with weeding)Mulch (may exacerbate other pests)Trellis plants (labor)Trap crops, baits and sticky traps (labor, cost)Approved materialsNeem, Beauveria bassiana, kaolin clay, pyrethrin, spinosadSource: Univ. of Kentucky Entomology
4First Steps Manage Soil for Healthy Plants Soil test (pH, P, K, micronutrients)Organic matter (cover crops, compost)Fertility planApplication based on crop needsAvoid excess NIf planting in turfTill before plantingCheck for grubs
6Avoid Pest Insects in Time Gather info on key pests Early planted crops generally have lower insect pressurePests with multiple generationsStink bugs, whiteflies, tomato fruitwormDon’t prolong harvestLate plantingPests that overwinter locallyCucumber beetles, bean leaf beetlesHarvest before early July to avoid Pickleworm
7Avoid Insect Pests in Space Garden Layout Plan (learn crop families) Rotate beds/plots to different plant familiesAvoid successive plantings of same crop in adjacent bedsMaximize diversityInterplantingMix different familiesAdd flowering plants
9Sampling Scheme Begin sampling at planting Sample weekly by crop Sample enough plants to represent planting area, and that can be done in a reasonable timeRecords will document what’s present, and whether populations are increasing, or decreasing
11To Spray or Not to Spray Keep organic insecticides handy Purchased, home-madeDecision to spray based onExperienceInsect’s potential for damageType of damage (direct or indirect)Stage of plant growthPopulation trends (sampling records)Does insect have natural enemies; are they present?
21Tips to Identify Larvae Lepidpotera (Caterpillars)Coleoptera: Beetles
22Tips to Identify Larvae Hymenoptera: WaspsDiptera: Flies
23Quiz: What are these?Hint: One on top will undergo complete metamorphosis; One on bottom; incomplete metamorphosis
24Cultural Practices Tillage Disrupts insect pestlife cyclesExposes them to weather, predatorsDestroys crop debrisAccelerates organic matter decompositionDepletes food for microbesDegrades soil structure, erosion
25Mulches Organic Straw mulch Retains soil moisture, lowers soil temperatureHabitat for predators (and some pests)Excellent for potatoes, cucurbits
26Mulches Plastic Black Reflective: Speeds early season crop growth Repels thrips, aphidsReduces spread of viruses
27Melon-Virus Experiments Cover crop as camouflage Annual rye planted between rows in late fallVirus incidence lower in cover crop treatmentsReflective mulch also reduced virus incidenceExperiments in South Carolina showed that rye planted between rows of melon reduced the incidence of Watermelon Mosaic Virus. The cover crop made the melon plants less attractive to aphid vectors of the disease.% Plants Infected with WMV
28Sanitation Start with pest free transplants Remove crop residue after harvestRemove diseased plantsRemove weedsEstablish perennial and flowering plants for natural enemy habitat
30High Pressure Spray (Aphids, mites, whiteflies) Water Wand: Cecil Stokes;
31Attracting Natural Enemies Making use of Nature’s Services Use of hedgerows in farmingSmall trees, shrubsPerennial grasses, forbsFlowering annualsBegin growing before cropProvide food and shelter for natural enemies
32Attracting Natural Enemies Insectary Plants in the Garden Establish insectary border(s)Pick plants for successive bloom spring-fallFruit trees, flowering shrubs, perennial and annual flowersInclude low growing plants (ground beetles)
33Insectary Plants Apiaceae (small parasitic wasps) Fennel, coriander, dill, wild carrotCompositacae/Asteraceae, mint family (predatory wasps and flies)Daisy, chamomile, zinnia, echinacea, spearmint, catnipThyme, rosemary, cloverBees, wasps, ground beetles
34Some Organic Insecticides Entrust (Spinosad)Microbial fermentation productTargets: caterpillars, thrips, leafminers, some beetlesSoft on natural enemies, but toxic to bees$550/lb1 gram/5 gal450 tanks = $1.20 each
35Bacillus thuringiensis BT kurstaki and aizawaiControls caterpillarsBT israelensisMosquito larvaeBT tenebrionisBeetle larvaeInsects must eat treated foliageGood spray coverageBetter against small larvae
36Neem Azadirachtin: extract from neem tree Multiple modes of action, including repellencyBroad spectrumBest against larvaeAlso good on whiteflies,aphids
37Pyrethrin or Pyrethrum Extract from flowers of pyrethrum daisyBroad spectrumBreaks down quickly
38Insecticidal Soap Potassium salts of fatty acids Acts by smothering and can break down insect cuticleBest against soft bodied insects (aphids, whiteflies, mites)
39Kaolin Clay Applied as a slurry before pests arrive Physical barrier, deterrent, irritantMix well, remove sprayer filterMust wash fruit
40Pepper and Garlic Sprays BTGarlicPepperKarateNeemControl
42Squash Bug ControlCrop rotation and sanitation are very important. Rotate next years crop to different area.During the summer, adults tend to congregate under shelter at night. Place boards on the soil surface near the squash in the evening and the next morning collect and destroy the pest.Destroy egg masses on the underside of leaves.A parasitic fly, Trichopoda pennipes, affects adult squash bugs and several wasps parastize the eggs. Provide habitat for these in or near the field.If squash bugs are a problem on your farm, avoid heavy mulch or no-till in susceptible crops such as zucchini. Squash bugs like shelter, and appear more numerous in reduced tillage or mulched crop systems.Pyrethrin and Neem products
44Squash Vine Borer Control Winter squash, pumpkins and zucchini are particularly susceptible. Butternut squash (C. moschata) is resistant.Soon after crop harvest, plow the vine debris deeply to bury over larvae.Rotate fields.In small plantings, it may be possible to manually remove the larvae. Find the sawdust-like frass on the affected plant stem, and then locate the larva by slicing lengthwise along the stem until you reach it. Destroy the larva, and then cover the slit stem area with soil.Keep floating row covers in place after transplanting or direct seeding until flowering.
46Cucumber Beetle Control Crop rotation and sanitation are important.Floating row covers are very effective for avoiding beetle damage. Remember to temporarily remove the covers periodically to weed early, and leave off permanently when the flowers appear to allow pollination.Use of trap crops. Cultivars vary dramatically in their attractiveness to beetles. The inexpensive variety Dark Green Zucchini and Blue Hubbard squash are effective trap crops.Yellow sticky cups or tape can trap adults. They should be replaced regularly as they become saturated with beetles and field debris.Use transplants instead of direct seeding. They will be older when beetles arrive and therefore more tolerant, or you can plant later after peak beetle activity is over.
50Flea Beetle Control Row covers Spinosad Neem products Capsaicin gives some control (45% in one study). The product, Miller’s Hot Sauce™ is OMRI-approved and labeled for use on crop plants as a mammal repellant. If so used, it will also reduce flea beetle damage.Pyrethrum: Pyganic™ has shown variable resultsKaolin clay (Surround™).
52Corn Earworm ControlCorn varieties with long, tight husks impede the entrance of the worm somewhat, but these provide only partial control. Varieties that have been reported to be less susceptible to damage include: Silver Queen, Stowell’s Evergreen, Viking RB, Supersweet JRB, Golden Bantam, Jubilee, Texas Honey June, and Bodacious.Since the pest is usually not a problem until mid to late summer, planting early to schedule harvest before expected arrival of CEW and using short season varieties will help avoid injury.BT and oil (Zea-Later); apply when silks reach full lengthSpinosad