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A trap crop system for managing tarnished plant bug damage in strawberries 2010

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Project Leaders: Greg Loeb, Professor, Dept. Entomology, Cornell University, NY State Ag. Exp. Stat., Geneva,  NY

Marvin Pritts, Professor and Chair, Dept of Horticultural Sciences, Cornell University

Abstract: The goal of this project was to determine the potential of using an attractive trap crop to "pull" tarnished plant bug (TPB) away from strawberry thereby reducing their abundance and damage in strawberry. We proposed to 1) Evaluate winter canola cultivars and planting practices to optimize effectiveness as a trap crop and 2) Quantify influence of winter canola on TPB abundance and damage in strawberry under field conditions.

A winter canola variety trial was seeded in the fall of 2009 and evaluated in the spring of 2010. TPB densities were assessed on three occasions between 6 May and 27 May. Adult TPB were recorded on all three of the sample dates and no significant differences were found among cultivars. Immature TPB were not present in the first two samples but were recorded on the third sampling date. The only significant difference among six treatments (five different cultivars plus a mixture of the five) with regards to density of immature TPB was recorded between the cultivar Sitro, and the treatment containing the five cultivars as a blend. Phenology of the canola was measured between 29 April and 3 June. No stark phenological differences were found among cultivars that could impact the level of effectiveness as a trap crop with perennial strawberries. All cultivars had achieved a mean stage of development of flower initiation by the first assessment on 29 April. All cultivars had achieved a mean stage of open flowers between 5 May and 11 May. Open floretes were present for all cultivars through 3 June.

Two replicated experiments, one in at the Geneva Experiment Station and the other near Ithaca, were conducted in 2010 to evaluate the influence of a winter canola border on TPB abundance and feeding damage to strawberry fruit. Both trials contained four replicated plots of the strawberry variety Jewel, with and without a winter canola border. TPB adults were predominantly found in the winter canola boundary throughout the season. That effect was stronger for the Geneva site than the Ithaca site. Immature TPB were not found during the early season. In Geneva, middle season samples indicated that immature tarnished plant bugs were found to be in higher densities in the canola associated strawberry plots than the control associated strawberry plots. In late season samples from Geneva, the density of immature tarnished plant bug was found to be greater in the winter canola border than the strawberry plots. In Ithaca, middle and late season densities of immature tarnished plant bug were relatively similar between control and canola strawberry plots, and those densities were higher than those found in the winter canola border. Harvest data from both sites combined indicated higher levels of damage on the edge of plots in comparison to the interior of plots, but there were no differences between winter canola and non-canola plots.