Evaluating the Effect of Biological Control and Planting Mixed Varieties to Manage Whitefly and Aphid Pests in Organic Squash

Project Overview

Project Type: On-Farm Research
Funds awarded in 2017: $14,821.00
Projected End Date: 03/14/2019
Grant Recipient: University of Florida
Region: Southern
State: Florida
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Oscar Liburd
University of Florida


  • Vegetables: cucurbits


  • Crop Production: intercropping
  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
  • Natural Resources/Environment: habitat enhancement
  • Pest Management: biological control, integrated pest management
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

    Zucchini squash, Cucurbita pepo L., is a high value vegetable crop in Florida. Damage from aphid and whitefly pests are major problems for many growers around the state. Information on organic pest management, particularly the efficacy of products and strategies available, is very limited and sometimes unavailable for many growers. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the biological control agent Amblyseius swirskii in a diversified planting system to determine their effectiveness in managing aphids and whiteflies in organic squash.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The specific objectives were to 1) evaluate the effect of planting multiple varieties of squash together on squash pests and disease incidence compared to pure stands of a single squash variety, and 2) determine the effect of intercropping sweet alyssum with squash on pests and natural enemy populations.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.