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J.S. Caldwell, J.P. Amirault, and A.H. Christian

Eighty-two vegetable growers responded to a survey on pests, beneficial insects, and cover crop use sent in Winter 1993–94 to 314 members of the Virginia Assn. for Biological Farming (VABF) and participants at the 1993 Virginia Sustainable Agriculture Conference. Respondents reported 68 occurrences of insect pests on 99 vegetable crops and herbs. Six insects (flea beetle, squash vine borer, stink bug, cucumber beetles, and Mexican bean beetle) comprised 70% of the occurrences. Squash vine borer and cucumber beetles on cucurbits comprised 24% of all pest occurrences. Insect pests attacked summer squash on 57% and cucumber on 49% of the farms. Average severity of squash vine borer damage was 3.8 (range 0–4, where 0 = no damage and 4 = death or destroyed). Average severity of cucumber beetle damage was 3.0 (severe). Squash vine borer was not observed by farmers on non-cucurbit alternate hosts. Cucumber beetles were observed on horse nettle (10%) and wild nightshades (6%), but on no other plants in most cases (61%) when found on cucurbits. The most frequently observed beneficial insects were lady beetles (64% of the farms), preying mantises (42%), wasps (29%), assassin bugs (18%), and spiders (15%). Only 29% of the farms had purchased beneficial insects, with assassin bugs (10%) and lady beetles (7%) the most common types. Vetches, clovers, rye, and buckwheat comprised 69% of the responses on 23 types of cover crops and mulches used.

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Jianjun Chen, Richard. J. Henny, Lance. S. Osborne, Russell D. Caldwell, and Cynthia A. Robinson

Potted anthurium is becoming an important indoor flowering foliage plant because of its unique attractive appearance and continuous growth and flowering under interior conditions. However, an interior environment, with controlled optimal temperatures and relative humidity and living plants, is an ideal niche for pest development. Pests such as thrips and two-spotted spider mite on Anthurium have been great challenges to the interiorscape industry because many pesticides have been rigorously restricted for interior use. Thus, exploiting the genetic potential of cultivar resistance may be the best approach for the control of these pests. In this study, eight of the most popular Anthurium cultivars were evaluated for their resistance to a natural infestation of thrips (Hercinothrips femoralis) and two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) under three light levels: 4, 8, and 16 μmol·m-2·s-1, temperatures of 23.8 to 26.7 °C and a relative humidity of 60%. Results indicated that significant resistant differences exist among cultivars. The cultivars most resistant to thrips were not the most resistant to mite and vice versa. Cultivars that exhibited moderate resistance to thrips were also moderately resistant to mite. Low light intensity appeared to be a factor influencing thrips infestation since control plants that grew under a light intensity of 200 μmol·m-2·s-1 had no observed thrips damage. On the other hand, two-spotted spider mite infestation was not influenced by light intensity.