January 2019 - 29

TOMATOES
might have also killed many of the
predators. The physical barrier
prevented other predators from
naturally colonizing in these tunnels.
Ingwell found using
beneficial insects can
work in some scenarios,
but getting the right
balance is tricky.
" Airflow was significantly reduced
by the screens, which trapped so much
heat that it changed the environment
inside the tunnels making it
inhospitable for the predators we
released, " Ingwell said. " The mites and
aphids, which damage crops, seem to
be less affected by the heat stress. They
may be able to better handle those
temperatures, or they may reproduce
so quickly that their populations were
better able to survive. "
In another set of tunnels, flowers
and chemicals meant to attract
predatory insects were used. The
flowers provide alternative food for
the predators when prey populations
are low and the chemicals, called
A spined soldier bug feasts on a prey insect in a high-tunnel system employing augmentative biocontrol.
herbivore-induced plant volatiles,
attract predators because they mimic
the scents created when pest insects
damage crops, signaling to predators
that a meal is nearby. In those
tunnels, twice as many minute pirate
bugs were retained.
Ingwell suggests growers consider
using flower varieties that can be sold
commercially so as not to waste space
that might be used for crops. For this
study, Benary's giant golden yellow zinnia
and fireworks gomphrena were effective.
The take-away message from
Ingwell is that using beneficial insects
can work in some scenarios, but
getting the right balance is tricky.
" In general, augmentative
biocontrol may not be worth the
investment because in most cases,
those insects aren't staying or
surviving long enough to have an
effect, " Ingwell said. " Unless you
alter those environments to keep the
predators there, this may not be a
cost-effective method for controlling
crop pests. "
Ingwell is continuing to test screen
sizes and different predator pests to
improve pest control in high tunnels.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture
National Institute of Food and
Agriculture funded this study. VGN
VGN | JANUARY 2019 | 29

January 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of January 2019

January 2019 - 1
January 2019 - 2
January 2019 - 3
January 2019 - 4
January 2019 - 5
January 2019 - 6
January 2019 - 7
January 2019 - 8
January 2019 - 9
January 2019 - 10
January 2019 - 11
January 2019 - 12
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January 2019 - 14
January 2019 - 15
January 2019 - 16
January 2019 - 17
January 2019 - 18
January 2019 - 19
January 2019 - 20
January 2019 - 21
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January 2019 - 24
January 2019 - 25
January 2019 - 26
January 2019 - 27
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January 2019 - 29
January 2019 - 30
January 2019 - 31
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January 2019 - 33
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January 2019 - 40
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January 2019 - 44
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