- Vegetables: cucurbits
- Crop Production: cropping systems
- Pest Management: cultural control
Vegetable producers in Oklahoma have identified pest control issues as a major concern during Cooperative-Extension-facilitated listening sessions. For cucurbits, the single most important insect pest is the squash bug, Anasa tristis DeGeer. Squash bug management typically involves multiple applications of chemical insecticides. There is considerable qualitative information regarding this insect, but more quantitative data are needed. In particular, the scientific literature contains very little information about non-insecticidal approaches to squash bug management.
The concept of companion planting as a potential pest management tool has received some attention recently as interest in sustainable and organic vegetable production has grown. Example studies are cited in the project proposal. Results have been mixed, and none of these studies has addressed squash bug management. This project will provide information on the potential of companion plants as tools for pest management of squash bug in commercial production of summer squash.
Project objectives from proposal:
Our hypothesis is: Companion plantings of yarrow and feverfew will reduce populations of, and damage from, squash bugs in commercial fields of summer squash compared to controls grown without companion plants. If successful, this system will increase the sustainability of summer squash production by reducing pressure from squash bugs, which in turn will decrease the need for frequent applications of highly toxic chemical insecticides.
- Provide on-farm-research-based information on the potential of companion plants as tools for pest management of squash bug in commercial production of summer squash.
- Demonstrate sustainable squash production systems to producers and provide education in the newly-developed pest management systems.