Final Report for FNE00-304

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2000: $2,285.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2000
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $1,100.00
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Michael Glos
Cornell University
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Project Information

Summary:

Results from one year were very mixed. Some week’s one spray
seemed to depress populations" while the next it would not.
None of the sprays appeared to be, effective’ at controlling
TPB. But as in all research this left us with new questions
and ways that we could potentially use and evaluate the sprays
better. Each spray has a different mode of action arid it’
wasn’t until we were well into the experiment that we fully
understood how each one works. Beauveria bassiana is an
insect specific fungus. It is important to apply it well in
advance of the presence or at, least outbreak of the pest. It
would best be applied two weeks prior to flowering. Neem is.
an insect growth regulCitor and repellent. It is not designed
to kill the insect but rather restrict its growth and repel
it. This also needs to used before," an outbreak. Nettle tea,
as we also found out. 1-atte.r is mi:linly a deterrent but its
whole mode of action is not known. Spraying weekly starting
very early has anecdotally found to effective with lettuce.
Sabadilla is the only pesticide we used that is designed to
actually kill TPB., But as we found it is not always very
effective. Its effectiveness is also limited because TPB is
highly mobile and your crop can be recolonized in a matter of
days by other TPB. Sabadilla’ is also no longer or legally
registered. .
After a thorough examination’ of a Season’s worth of data we came
to several conclusions.
• Diverse un-managed areas had. high populations of TPB but also
the most diverse community ?f insects including beneficial.
• Plant species were more important than the height in mowed
areas. Areas of clover had high TPB populations while the
population was low in pure grass stands.
• TPB counts were highest in crops• during and just following
flowering. .
Mowing appears to reduce TPB but to, have an effect on the crop
it is• suspected that a• very’ large’ area (300′ + to the crop)
would have to be mowed because: T.PB is so• mobile

Introduction:

We are a diverse farm that raises a mixture of crops and meat.
With free range poultry we raise, process and direct-market
800 broiler chickens and 50 turkeys. We also raise 250 layers•
(for eggs) on pasture. We pasture pigs for meat and aiding in
our production of high quality compost for field and
greenhouse use. . In . addition . we also raise a small number of
young beef cattle. We intensively cultivate about an acre of
vegetable, herbs, and flowers. These are sold fresh, dried~
and as valued added products on farm, at a local farmers
market; and at select seasonal festivals. All fieldwork is
done by hand and our team of draft’ horses and ponies. Karina
is on the farm full time• .. arid I additionally work in
‘Agricultural Research and Extension at Cornell University •. We
own.• 100 acres of open land" pasture,.• and woods. This includes•
approximately 20 acres of pasture, an acre of cultivated land,
and 75+ acres of managed woodland.

Project Objectives:

The goal of the project was to learn about Tarnished Plant Bug
and evaluate organic management and control of it.

Research

Materials and methods:

Our first approach involved using commercially available•’ and
homemade preparations. Historically Sabadilla has been the
most common organic control but we had heard conflicting
reports on its effectiveness . and availability. From
researching .what was available and what had been used we came
up with four different sprays: Beauveria bassiana (Naturalis
L),’ Neem (Neemix 4.5), Nettle Tea. (homemade), and Sabadilla
(Necessary Organics Sabadilla Dust). In a plot of potatoes we
sprayed each spray four times on one-week intervals. We began
before flowering when, we started noticing TPB and finished
three weeks following flowering. We did insect counts just
prior to spraying and the following day.
Our second approach was through habitat modification. We
monitored TPB (with traps, visual counts, and sweep nets) over
the season to learn how the population changed in response to
mowing of headlands, mowing of cover crops, cultivation of
weeds and cultivation of cover crops. We monitored populations
in the crop and in the modified areas. We attempted to see if
habitat modification could "have a significant effect on
controlling TPB. We were interested in whether disturbing TPB
would depress the population or just cause it to move to the
crop and thus be a worse problem. It was our hypothesis that
we could manage headlands and weeds so as to provide a "sink"
for TPB rather than a source. We didn’t want to actively breed TPB but at the same time we needed to provide an
alternative place (other than our crop) for TPB to go.

Research results and discussion:

Results from one year were very mixed. Some week’s one spray
seemed to depress populations" while the next it would not.
None of the sprays appeared to be, effective’ at controlling
TPB. But as in all research this left us with new questions
and ways that we could potentially use and evaluate the sprays
better. Each spray has a different mode of action arid it’
wasn’t’ t until we were well into the experiment that we fully
understood how each one works. Beauveria bassiana is an
insect specific fungus. It is important to apply it well in
advance of the presence or at, least outbreak of the pest. It
would best be applied two weeks prior to flowering. Neem is .
an insect growth regulCitor and repellent. It is not designed
to kill the insect but rather restrict its growth and repel
it. This also needs to use before ," an outbreak. Nettle tea,
as we also found out. 1-atte.r is mi:linly a deterrent but its
whole mode of action is not known. Spraying weekly starting
very early has anecdotally found to effective with lettuce.
Sabadilla is the only pesticide we used that is designed to
actually kill TPB., But as we found it is not always very
effective. Its effectiveness is also limited because TPB is
highly mobile and your crop can be recolonized in a matter of
days by other TPB. Sabadilla’ is also no longer or legally
registered. .
After a thorough examination’ of a Season’s worth of data we came
to several conclusions.
• Diverse unmanaged areas had. high populations of TPB but also
the most diverse community ?f insects including beneficial.
• Plant species were more important than the height in mowed
areas. Areas of clover had high TPB populations while the
population was low in pure grass stands.
• TPB counts were highest in crops• during and just following
flowering. .
Mowing appears to reduce TPB but to ,have an effect on the crop
it is• suspected that a• very’ large’ area (300′ + to the crop)
would have to be mowed because: T.PB is so• mobile

Research conclusions:

Concerning the sprays, we plan to try the sprays again but by
themselves, on larger areas,• and timed to correspond with
their particular mode of action. Because Sabadilla is no
longer produced and very broad spectrum we are discontinuing
its use. We encourage other growers to experiment with
commercial and homemade sprays defining how to use them and
what crops they are effective on. Concerning habitat
modification we will focus on not providing unnecessary hosts
or habitats. This past year we tried to keep in field weed
hosts to a minimum. We also used more succession planting and
mowed down plantings before they went to flower. This worked
well for dill and cilantro- both crops we• had had severe
damage with in previous years. Despite very high population
this past year we were able to have weekly harvests through
the season.

Participation Summary

Education & Outreach Activities and Participation Summary

Participation Summary

Education/outreach description:

I spoke at the NQFA-NY winter" conference,
the regional NOFA summer conference, in
Included is an article published in
Extension vegetable newsletter.
in Syracuse, NY and at
Amherst, MA in August.
the local cooperative

Project Outcomes

Assessment of Project Approach and Areas of Further Study:

Potential Contributions

Brian Caldwell, local vegetable extension specialist provided us
with information and helped us plan and carry on the project.
Michael’ Hoffman, researcher and professor at Cornell University
provided us with information concerning the lifecycle of TPB and
proper design of our experiments.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.