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Demonstrate to growers and consultants how to effectively use Trichogramma ostriniae to biologically control European corn borer in fresh market sweet corn 2001

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Project Leader(s): Alan Erb, Vegetable specialist, CCE Lake Plains Vegetable Program, East Aurora, NY 14052

Abby Seaman, NYS IPM Program Office, NYSAES, Geneva, NY 14456

Cooperator(s): Don Sweet, Crop Advantage (Vegetable IPM Consultant)

Jim Coulter, Coulter Farms, Niagara County, Lockport, NY

Paul Freatman, Freatman Farms, Niagara County, Lockport, NY

Bill Henry, W.D. Henry and Sons Farms, Erie County, Eden, NY

Bill Agle, Henry Agle and Sons Farms, Erie County, Eden, NY

Jeff Partyka, Partyka Farms, Orleans County, Kendall, NY

Jeff Werner, Werner Farms, Monroe County, Rush, NY

Type of grant: Systems comparison trials

Project location(s): Niagara County, Coulter Farms and Freatman Farms in Lockport, NY

Erie County, W.D. Henry and Sons Farms and Henry Agle and Sons Farms in Eden, NY

Orleans County, Partyka Farms in Kendall, NY

Monroe County, Werner Farms in Rush, NY

Abstract: Recent research has identified the use of Trichogramma ostriniae as a biological control for European corn borer (ECB). However, this technique has not been widely tested in commercial field situations. Adoption of this control method will have a better chance of wide scale acceptance if commercial sweet corn growers can experience the advantages of this practice first hand. Trichogramma wasps were released in four fresh market sweet corn fields in Western, NY and how well they controlled ECB was compared to three fields where traditional insecticides were used for control. In each of the wasp released fields Trichogramma had an effect on ECB infestation however insecticides had to be used in three fields because ECB had already become established in the field before the wasps were released. Only one of the wasp treated fields was sprayed three times to help control the level of ECB in the field. In all cases except one the amount of marketable ears harvested from the wasp treated fields was equal or higher than the chemical control treated fields. During years when ECB pressure is lowTrichogramma releases have the potential to be a more economical and environmental way to produce fresh market sweet corn. The use of Trichogramma as a biological control of ECB on plastic fresh market sweet corn and early bare-ground sweet corn needs to be further field tested during years when ECB pressure is high and wasps are released into the field when the corn is younger than 2 weeks before tassel emergence.