Pest Monitoring & Decision Making

Action thresholds, field distribution patterns and sampling plans are being developed for chilli thrips in strawberries and blueberries.

Pheromone lures and trap types are being evaluated for armyworm species found around strawberry fields

Unmanned aerial systems (drones) are being tested for detecting strawberry plant stress due to twospotted spider mite feeding damage

Previously, trapping systems for spotted wing drosophila were tested in strawberry fields

Biological Control

Methods for conserving and augmenting natural enemies and pollinators in strawberry fields are being tested.  This includes evaluating flower plantings along field edges for effects on flower thrips and yield quality.

More broadly, we are interested in determining relationships between agroecosystem biodiversity and pest suppression – whether increased biodiversity leads to lower and economically acceptable pest levels.  Future research will be aimed at uncovering trophic links and impacts of biological control agents using molecular tools for gut-content analysis of predatory organisms

Chemical Control

New pest control products are being evaluated in laboratory, greenhouse and small field-plot studies in strawberries.  These include biopesticides and testing against non-target organisms.

Twospotted spider mites frequently damage Florida strawberries and are notorious for developing resistance to acaracides.  Emphasis is being placed on determining how acaracide spray practices in open-field plant nurseries affect acaracide performance/ spider mite resistance development in Florida production fields.

Cultural Control

Effects of horticultural practices (e.g., fertilizer regimes) are being evaluated for effects on twospotted spider mite populations in conjunction with acaracide spray coverage.

Field sanitation (removal of dropped fruit) effects in strawberries and blueberries on spotted wing drosophila have been tested.

Post-harvest temperature conditions on spotted wing drosophila will be evaluated in a future research project.

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