Beneficial Insects Tag

University of Illinois researchers are involved in a multi-year project that's exploring the potential for controlling insect pests in high tunnels with predator insects, rather than chemical insecticides. Research during the first season showed that the insidious flower bug was eating aphids, thrips, whiteflies, and spider mites, while a predator mite was eating thrips, whiteflies, and spider mites. This year, research will focus on finding a predator insect to control thrips and on establishing costs for using predator insects. The research team will share its results....

A study led by Penn State researchers showed that cover crops can be more effective at reducing pest density and crop damage than insecticide applications. The research indicated that using biological controls such as encouraging pests' natural enemies through cover crop planting and not using broad-spectrum insecticides was the most effective pest management strategy. "We hypothesized that the increased early-season vegetative cover provided by winter- or spring-sown cover crops would benefit predator populations and increase their biological control potential," explained study lead author Elizabeth Rowen. The researchers found that where broad-spectrum insecticides were used, beneficial insect populations were decreased, yields...

An international, multi-disciplinary team that conducted a review of scientific literature found that honeydew contaminated by systemic insecticides poses a threat to beneficial insects. Honeydew, the excretion product of sap-sucking insects, is an important food source for many beneficial insects, including both pollinators and natural enemies of insect pests. However, researchers documented that when honeydew was produced from the sap of plants grown from seeds treated with neonicotinoids, parasitic wasps and pollinating hoverflies died after consuming the honeydew. "Our review describes how honeydew contaminated with systemic insecticides may play a role in insect declines," said Penn State University entomology professor...

“Kill two birds with one stone” — isn't it time this old adage got an update? Instead of killing two birds with one stone, why don't we save two birds with one hedgerow? And protect soil from erosion while we're at it? And protect plants from wind damage, too? And do a bunch of other great things that benefit humans, animals, and the environment?
By Katherine Favor, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist...

In this episode of Voices from the Field, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Katherine Favor heads to Terranova Ranch in the central San Joaquin Valley of California to talk about conservation hedgerows with Don Cameron, the ranch’s general manager and vice president.
NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Katherine Favor and Don Cameron, General Manager of Terranova Ranch...

Native plants bring both beauty and resilience to the farmscape. In this episode of Voices from the Field, Eric Fuselier, an environmental project manager at the Arkansas and Oklahoma civil engineering firm Crafton Tull, tells the story of native plants and the benefits they offer in a conversation with NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Nina Prater. Farmers can use native plants in many creative ways to provide such benefits as biological pest control, bioremediation, and erosion control. Eric and Nina also talk about different ways farmers can create profitable enterprises with native plants, such as native forage species for livestock, native food...

For the past growing season, my staff and I have been involved with designing and managing a cover crop mix in pecan orchards in Northern California to attract beneficials, which provide some control of two species of pecan aphids.
Rex Dufour, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist...