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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 2010

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Project Leaders: Abby Seaman, NYS IPM Program, Ruth Hazzard, University of Massachusetts, and Tom Kuhar, Virginia Tech

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. We have worked with 44 farmers over three growing seasons to provide wasps, education, and technical support to help familiarize them with the use of the wasps. Interviews with growers indicate that all have experienced one or more performance target benefits from using the wasps. We were granted a no-cost extension to this project that moves the evaluation year forward to 2010. We will not be supplying wasps to farmers in 2010 but will provide collaborating growers and others with information support as needed to make the transition to purchasing and releasing on their own. Wasps are commercially available from IPM Laboratories in Locke, NY. We will survey collaborating growers and others who order T.ost in 2010 to determine whether they released wasps, benefits to their operation, how this project influenced their use of the wasps, and future needs to help them continue successful use of T.ost.