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Developing farmers’ skills and confidence in the use of Trichogramma ostriniae for European corn borer control in sweet corn, peppers, and potatoes. 2007

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Project Leaders: A. Seaman, NYS IPM; R. Hazzard, Dept Plant Soil and Insect Science, University of Massachusetts; T. Kuhar , Virginia Tech Eastern Shore AREC ; M. Hoffmann, Department of Entomology, Cornell University

Abstract: Numerous research and demonstration trials have shown that releases of the parasitic wasp Trichogramma ostriniae (T.ost) can be an effective management strategy for European corn borer control in sweet corn, peppers, and potatoes.  It is time to put the use of T.ost into the hands of farmers.  Organic farmers, farmers who do not use conventional insecticides, and high-level IPM adopters all stand to benefit from using T.ost releases as all or part of their ECB management strategy, through reduced crop damage, reduced use of insecticides, or both.

Growers who are trying T.ost for the first time benefit from technical support to help make the decisions needed to get good results.  An understanding of pest and beneficial biology, crop phenology, and proper release rates is needed, as well as the organizational skills to make decisions, order and release wasps, and monitor success in a timely manner. We will work closely with a minimum of 30 farmers growing sweet corn, peppers, and/or potatoes in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.  Project staff will visit collaborating farmers each week to work with farmers to track crop phenology, decide on wasp needs for the following week, and decide where and how the releases will take place.  Wasps will be supplied by the project for the first year, with farmers sharing costs the second year.  Wasps are currently available commercially through IPM Laboratories in Locke, NY.