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Impact of Scarab Grub Management Tactics on Non-Target Soil Fauna 2003

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Project Leader: Daniel Peck, Dept. Entomology, NYSAES, Geneva, NY

Cooperators:

Nancy Consolie, Paul Robbins, Shirley Lewis, Katie Straight (Dept. Entomology, NYSAES, Cornell Univ., Geneva, NY);Leslie Allee (Dept. Entomology, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY);Dianne Black (Freeville, NY)

Type of grant: Pheromones; biorationals; microbials; conventional pesticides

Project location: Application: throughout the Northeast. Research site: Crittenden Farm, NYSAES, Geneva, NY.

Abstract:

We are conducting a five-year study to assess the effects of control tactics on non-target microarthropod communities. Our focus is on white grub control in home lawns, which represents the major pest complex in one of the most extensive and expanding components of our urban and rural landscape. Although microarthropods are attributed a large role in certain soil processes such as decomposition, our understanding of this major component of soil fauna is quite limited. In order to gauge the benevolence of pesticides used in lawn care, we are conducting field trials to test their effects on the abundance, diversity and function of non-target arthropods, particularly those that are “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” without the aid of a microscope. Do these common lawn care products have an effect on non-target fauna (such as mites and springtails) and is this relevant to soil processes (such as decomposition)? Turf stands developed at NYSAES, Geneva, NY were treated with three standard chemical insecticides, a biological control agent, and a plant nutrient in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. Here we present an initial analysis of certain data obtained over 2001 and 2002. A several year study of this issue is important because effects on non-target soil fauna may be cumulative. In the future, this work will allow for more informed choices about pest management decisions in turfgrass ecosystems by lawn care professionals as well as homeowners.

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