Using Chickens Guineas and Geese to Break the Life Cycle of the Curculio Beetle Through the Bird's Consumption of Dropped Fruit

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2010: $5,980.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:
John Baumann
Baumann Farm

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: apples, apricots, berries (blueberries), cherries, peaches, pears, plums, berries (strawberries), general tree fruits
  • Vegetables: asparagus, beans, broccoli, garlic, greens (leafy), peas (culinary), peppers, sweet corn, tomatoes
  • Additional Plants: herbs
  • Animals: poultry


  • Animal Production: free-range
  • Crop Production: food product quality/safety
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, networking, on-farm/ranch research, youth education
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, feasibility study, value added
  • Pest Management: weeder geese/poultry
  • Production Systems: holistic management, organic agriculture
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, social networks, sustainability measures

    Proposal summary:

    Problem /Solution Curculio Beetle: this is a topic that comes up often in orchard talk and especially in organic orchard talk. I have read all of the previous studies I could find regarding this topic and there has been limited success in the results. I would like to propose a new twist on the matter. Over the last few years I have picked up more bad (impregnated with beetle larvae) fruit than I could ever hope to sell. From my observation these beetles don’t just lay eggs in the spring and go away. They wage an all out war on the fruit for the entire growing season. They drill the fruit, females insert eggs (larvae) and males drill to eat scaring the fruit. The larvae infected fruit ripens prematurely and drops to the ground so the larvae which have now developed into a worm can exit into the soil. The worm then gestates into a beetle to wreak havoc the next season. I attribute any success that we have had to the diligence of my wife and children along with myself picking up the dropped fruit not allowing the larvae to enter the ground, hampering the life cycle of the Curculio. But there has to be an easier way. Once the fruit starts to drop I no longer want to mow or trim under the trees to prevent smashing the fruit into the ground rendering it impossible to pick up. I would like to introduce weeder geese as a means of keeping grasses down in the orchard and consuming downed fruit breaking the life cycle of the curculio beetle. I would also install chickens and guineas in the orchard. My research will stem from the effectiveness of each bird and their ability to reduce the insect population in their designated areas.

    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.