With the recent revival of the hops industry in New England, the European Corn Borer (ECB) has been discovered as a new pest for many farms and created a burden in both properly controlling them and related crop loss. Unlike most hop pests which are easily scouted and controlled, the ECB has proven difficult to due to the nature of the pest living within the plant and the soil. Hops traditionally were only grown west of the Rockies, where the ECB has not been known to be a pest in hops. Therefore, standardized scouting and control protocols are not available for hop farmers in the east to leverage in determining how to best deal with these pests.
Our objective will be to seek to understand how to accurately detect ECBs in New England hop yards and create standardized scouting and control protocols. If this can be done, the major crop loss from ECB that many farms have experienced recently can be reduced or eliminated. We aim to compare three different detection methods–pheromone traps, degree day models, and pest scouting methods to monitor populations of ECB moths and determine an economic threshold for treatment before damage can occur.
Our outreach strategy will include presentation and handout of results and a scouting/control plan for ECB at the 2020 University of Vermont Hop Conference, as well as a write-up on our website and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension site, and discussions with many of the local hop farms we currently work with.
Project objectives from proposal:
This project seeks to understand how to accurately detect the European Corn Borer in New England hop yards and in turn create standardized scouting and control protocols. If we can understand the best way to detect ECBs and control damage, hop production in New England will see better yields and a higher quality crop. We aim to compare three different detection methods–pheromone traps, degree day models, and pest scouting methods–to monitor populations of European corn borer moths and determine an economic threshold for treatment to decrease the amount of spray intervals needed to control this pest. We will evaluate these detection techniques to better understand when ECB moths begin moving into hops starting in late spring. That will lead to the creation of the standardized scouting and control protocols, which will be shared and leveraged by farms throughout the region.