A Purdue University study published in Pest Management Science found that populations of pests such as tomato hornworm, cabbage looper, diamondback moth, and cucumber beetle can soar in high tunnels. The researchers believe that rolling up the sides of the tunnel for ventilation provides access for the pests, which are then prevented from escaping upward by the tunnel roof, so remain in the tunnel to damage crops. A postdoctoral researcher at Purdue is working to address the problem by using exclusion screens that allow ventilation but prevent pest entry, and is also testing adding flower crops to the high-tunnel planting mix to attract beneficial insects that are predators for pests.
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