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  • Author or Editor: Robert J. O'Neil x
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More than 500 Master Gardeners in Indiana and Illinois were taught alternatives to the use of insecticides in workshops that focused on biological control of insect pests in home gardens. Gardeners also learned to conduct experiments in their backyards and were encouraged to participate in a summer research program that tested specific control methods. Workshop participants were surveyed before the workshop, and in two successive growing seasons to measure changes in their pest management practices. Overall, a significant percentage of gardeners stopped applying insecticides for up to two consecutive growing seasons after attending workshops. In addition, the adoption of biological control by participants appeared to be linked to their insecticide use and willingness to participate in the research process. A significant increase in the adoption of biological control was noted among garden researchers who did not use insecticides before the workshop or had reduced insecticide use following the workshop. No such change was noted for gardeners that did not conduct research. The relative contributions of workshop participation and hands-on research experience in pesticide reduction and biological control adoption are discussed.

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