- Fruits: peaches, general tree fruits
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
- Pest Management: biological control, integrated pest management
- Production Systems: holistic management, organic agriculture, transitioning to organic
Field research in Georgia and Florida peach orchards indicated that entomopathogenic nematodes (aka beneficial nematodes) can control lesser peachtree borer and peachtree borer at the same level as standard chemical insecticides. A sprayable gel formulation enhanced protection of nematodes for aboveground sprays against lesser peachtree borer, and in soil applications for peachtree borer control. Peachtree borer control with nematodes was achieved using various standard agricultural sprayers in both preventative and curative applications. Thus, entomopathogenic nematodes are excellent biological control agents for control of key borer pests; these results may be applicable to other cropping systems as well.
Our overall goal is to develop a sustainable management system for southeastern peaches. In this project we will tackle the two primary remaining research challenges to implementing entomopathogenic nematodes as a biocontrol agent for borer pests in peach; additionally, we will investigate the impact of the novel control tactics on the system. Specifically, our objectives are:
- To determine the optimum method of applying entomopathogenic nematodes for control of peachtree borer (on a commercial scale).
- To determine the optimum entomopathogenic nematode formulation for control of lesser peachtree borer.
- Assess the impact of biocontrol applications on natural enemy systems.