A study led by Michigan State University and published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment highlights examples of farmers turning to natural vetebrate controls to reduce pesticide use and increase yields. Pest-consuming vertebrates can be attracted to agricultural areas with habitat enhancements. Examples include nest boxes that attract kestrals to blueberry fields and cherry orchards where they reduce damage from grasshoppers, rodents, and birds. Bats can also provide growers with insect-pest control assistance. In some situations, birds can help control insect pests. The next stage of this team's research will be to identify the best practices for using natural controls and measure the impacts and costs of specific improvements.
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