- Fruits: berries (other)
- Crop Production: application rate management
- Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
- Pest Management: biological control, field monitoring/scouting
Tarnished Plant Bug (TPB) has been a limiting factor in the profitability of organic strawberry production here at Littlewood Farm. I have been growing strawberries organically with varied results over the past 13 years and have no duplicated our early successful yields. TPB damage to the later forming fruits have cut our picking time by 7-10 days. Anaphes iole (AI) is a predatory wasp that parasites TPB eggs by laying its own eggs in the TPB eggs. I would like to try releasing this predator at an increased rate. I tried using them at 10,000 per acre 3x last year with poor control. I want to use them 20,000/acre 4x this season and compare the results to last season. The usefulness of this insect in TPB has been suggested by West Coast studies, but a formula for their successful use in the Northeast has yet to be found. I would also like to try out another alternative pest control, garlic. Liquefied garlic is currently labeled as a repellent for TPB, but as yet no one in this region can site any studies of its effectiveness. I would like to use garlic as a pre-bloom spray with fish emulsion as a wetting and sticking agent. Vacuuming of the strawberry plants to remove TPB is another possible non-chemical control method. David Marchant has researched IPM for strawberries at the University of Massachusetts and has also attempted organic practices with mixed results. He typifies the forward thinking commercial grower who would adopt organic techniques if they can be shown to be reliable. I feel that these alternative technologies deserve a trial and that it would be an appropriate use of SARE funds to test them.