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  • Author or Editor: Donn T. Johnson x
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Agricultural monocultures with intensive pest management practices reduce diversity and create instability in agricultural ecosystems, thereby increasing reliance upon pesticides. This study compares the influence of three insect pest management programs in vineyards on arthropod diversity as well as parasitism and control of grape berry moth (Endopiza viteana), the key pest of grapes (Vitis labrusca) in eastern North America. Vineyards in Bald Knob, Hindsville, Judsonia, Lowell, and Searcy, Ark., were managed with a range of intensity of insecticide use, a reduced insecticide program with Exosex-GBM dispensers for mating disruption, or no pesticide use in abandoned vineyards. Arthropod diversity and carabid (Carabidae) density in each vineyard was sampled with pitfall traps. Grape berry moth flight was monitored by pheromone traps. Grape berry moth–infested grapes were collected from the field and reared in the lab until parasites or moths emerged. There were significant differences in arthropod diversity between vineyard sites, with Shannon diversity index values generally higher in woods and managed vineyards with conventional sprays and/or mating disruption than in abandoned sites. Shannon index values for arthropod diversity were significantly lower at the vineyard edge in Searcy (recently abandoned), vineyard center and edge in Bald Knob (abandoned), and the vineyard edge in Hindsville (conventional sprays). In 2003, carabid density was significantly highest in the edge and center of the Hindsville vineyard (high insecticide usage) and the abandoned Bald Knob vineyard had significantly lowest carabid density. Apparently, insecticide sprays resulted in more food on the vineyard floor for carabids. The vineyard floor management was too variable among vineyards to deduce its effect on carabid density. With some exceptions, low-spray and no-spray vineyards generally showed greater diversity and parasitism of grape berry moth than high-spray vineyards. Parasitism was higher in some high-spray vineyards than in low-spray with mating disruption vineyards. Grape berry moth flight and berry damage were more dependent on spray timing than intensity. This study demonstrates that insect pest management programs impact arthropod diversity and parasitism. Further testing is needed to determine why parasitism of grape berry moth decreased in the vineyards using the mating disruption tactic.

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Insecticides were compared for control of codling moth (Cydia pomonella) and oriental fruit moth (Grapholita molesta), and effects on european red mites (Panonychus ulmi) and predatory mites (Neoseiulus fallacis) in `Red Delicious' apple trees (Malus ×domestica). Ten days after treatment with azinphosmethyl, celerylooper (Anagrapha falcifera) nuclear polyhedrosis virus, rotenone-pyrethrin, or codling moth granulosis virus, fruit damage by larval codling moth and oriental fruit moth was significantly less than trees treated with Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki or water (control). Trees treated with azinphosmethyl or celery looper nuclear polyhedrosis virus had fewer damaged fruit where larvae exited than did other treatments. By 21 days after the last treatment, all treatments had significantly more wormy or damaged fruit than did azinphosmethyl. At 10 days after treatment, the two viruses were more deleterious to codling moth than to oriental fruit moth causing a <1:3 ratio of these larvae compared to >3:1 ratio for the other treatments. On 16 June, 100 predatory mites were released onto the trunk of each tree. The minimum ratio of predatory mites to european red mites (>1:10) that favors biological control of european red mites occurred in all treatments by 14 July, except those treated with azinphosmethyl or rotenone-pyrethrin that had significantly more cumulative mite days of european red mites than the other treatments. The use of azinphosmethyl delayed biological control of the european red mites until 27 July whereas rotenone-pyrethrin treatment never attained biological control of the mites.

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The broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus) was found in association with leaf-curling symptoms on primocane-fruiting blackberry (Rubus rubus) in Arkansas in 2007–2009. Broad mite had not been previously reported on blackberry. The plots sampled in this study were part of a study comparing harvesting in the fall versus harvest in spring and fall, high tunnels versus ambient conditions, and three genotypes, all under organic production. Leaves were sampled, broad mites per leaf counted, and leaf area and trichome density measured. Results indicated that broad mite is capable of overwintering in a moderate temperate climate and that it reduces leaf area of primocane-fruiting blackberry. The fall-only harvest system had fewer broad mites than fall and spring harvest. There were a range of genotype effects on broad mite populations, including one genotype, ‘Prime-Jan®’, on which broad mite populations remained low, and one genotype, APF-46, on which mite populations grew significantly. Observations indicate that the broad mite may be a pest of ‘Prime-Ark® 45’, another primocane-fruiting cultivar.

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