- Fruits: berries (blueberries)
- Crop Production: application rate management
- Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
- Pest Management: biological control, biorational pesticides, botanical pesticides, chemical control, economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management
Early-season blueberries are an important economical assessment for Florida and southern Georgia, due to the production of high quality blueberries early in the year (April and May). One of the major threats to blueberry production in southeastern United States is flower-thrips. The differences in climatic conditions and the diversity of blueberry species produced in the various regions of Florida demand specific and local research and extension activities in all regions to effectively address this problem. Some research has been done to develop monitoring techniques. However, research on alternative strategies which incorporate reduced-risk insecticides, biocontrol agents and cultural control techniques need to be explored to reduce the use of traditional insecticides. Our plan is to involve blueberry growers in our activities, thus monitoring and controlling thrips in a more environmentally friendly manner. Our ultimate goal is to reduce health risks associated with the use of toxic pesticides on blueberry fields in the region while maintaining effective control of thrips. Our objectives are to use reduced-risk insecticides and natural enemies in blueberry ecosystems for thrips control. Blueberry producers collaborating on the project will be able to use the experience acquired to disseminate information to other producers in the region. We will use extension publications, grower meetings, extension agents and crop consultants to reach producers that could not participate in our on-farm demonstration trials, but who would like to have access to information on alternatives to conventional insecticides for managing this key pest in blueberries.
Project objectives from proposal:
- To evaluate the interaction between Orius insidiosus and Amblyseius cucumeris as an alternative to pesticides in maintaining reduced populations of flower-thrips To evaluate reduced-risk insecticides and their interaction with Orius sp. (Heteroptera: Anthocoridae) and A. cucumeris, natural enemies of flower-thrips To compare the effectiveness of reduced-risk insecticides with conventional insecticides for controlling flower-thrips To collaborate with growers, extension agents and agricultural consultants to generate and distribute new information on thrips control for early-season blueberries