Special Issue "Urban Small Farms and Gardens Pest Management"

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Mary L. Cornelius
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
USDA ARS Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, MD, USA
Interests: biological control; integrated pest management; natural enemies; invasive species; behavioral ecology of insect parasitoids and predators
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Small farms and urban gardens are emerging as key components in local and regional food production.  Since many of the small-scale commercial farms and backyard gardens are located in urban and suburban areas, there is a need to develop alternatives to insecticide use. The diversity of crops grown in small farms and urban gardens requires complex solutions that target a variety of pest species. In many cases, there are no suitable pest management solutions for controlling pests attacking crops grown in small farms and urban gardens. Novel pest management practices will need to be developed that address pest problems without relying on insecticide use. Alternative pest management solutions could include (1) the development of biological control strategies to enhance populations of natural enemies of pests, (2) the use of pheromone-based lures to attract and kill pests, (3) the use of microbial insecticides to control pests, and (4) the use of biopesticides using botanical compounds or RNAi techniques to control pests. This Special Issue will focus on identifying the pest problems associated with small farms and urban gardens and on developing alternative solutions for improving pest management practices in urban and suburban areas.

Prof. Dr. Mary L. Cornelius
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Use of Flowering Plants to Enhance Parasitism and Predation Rates on Two Squash Bug Species Anasa tristis and Anasa armigera (Hemiptera: Coreidae)
Insects 2019, 10(10), 318; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10100318 - 25 Sep 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 945
Abstract
A two-year study evaluated the effect of a flowering border of buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum Moench on rates of egg parasitism, egg predation and adult parasitism on two squash bug species, Anasa tristis (DeGeer) and Anasa armigera Say, by comparing rates in squash fields [...] Read more.
A two-year study evaluated the effect of a flowering border of buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum Moench on rates of egg parasitism, egg predation and adult parasitism on two squash bug species, Anasa tristis (DeGeer) and Anasa armigera Say, by comparing rates in squash fields with and without a flowering border. Furthermore, we evaluated whether there was an edge effect by comparing parasitism and predation rates in plots located in the corner of a squash field with plots located in the center of a squash field for fields with and without a flowering border. The egg parasitism rates were not affected by either treatment (flowering border or control) or plot location (edge or center). Anasa armigera egg masses only accounted for 4.3% of the total egg masses collected. The egg parasitism rates increased gradually throughout the season, peaking in the last week of August in 2017 at 45% for A. tristis egg masses. The most common egg parasitoid recovered was Gryon pennsylvanicum (Ashmead) followed by Ooencyrtus anasae (Ashmead). Adult parasitism was not affected by treatment, but A. tristis adult parasitism rates were higher in plots located on the edge of squash fields compared with plots located in the center of squash fields in 2016. Since adult parasitoid, Trichopoda pennipes (Fabricius) flies were observed visiting buckwheat flowers, future studies could explore the possibility that the flowering buckwheat may have a more impact on adult parasitism if there was a greater distance between fields with and without a flowering border. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Small Farms and Gardens Pest Management)
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Article
Creating the Urban Farmer’s Almanac with Citizen Science Data
Insects 2019, 10(9), 294; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10090294 - 11 Sep 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2037
Abstract
Agriculture has long been a part of the urban landscape, from gardens to small scale farms. In recent decades, interest in producing food in cities has grown dramatically, with an estimated 30% of the global urban population engaged in some form of food [...] Read more.
Agriculture has long been a part of the urban landscape, from gardens to small scale farms. In recent decades, interest in producing food in cities has grown dramatically, with an estimated 30% of the global urban population engaged in some form of food production. Identifying and managing the insect biodiversity found on city farms is a complex task often requiring years of study and specialization, especially in urban landscapes which have a complicated tapestry of fragmentation, diversity, pollution, and introduced species. Supporting urban growers with relevant data informs insect management decision-making for both growers and their neighbors, yet this information can be difficult to come by. In this study, we introduced several web-based citizen science programs that can connect growers with useful data products and people to help with the who, what, where, and when of urban insects. Combining the power of citizen science volunteers with the efforts of urban farmers can result in a clearer picture of the diversity and ecosystem services in play, limited insecticide use, and enhanced non-chemical alternatives. Connecting urban farming practices with citizen science programs also demonstrates the ecosystem value of urban agriculture and engages more citizens with the topics of food production, security, and justice in their communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Small Farms and Gardens Pest Management)
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Article
Living on the Edge: Using and Improving Trap Crops for Flea Beetle Management in Small-Scale Cropping Systems
Insects 2019, 10(9), 286; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10090286 - 05 Sep 2019
Viewed by 1155
Abstract
The use of trap crops to manage pest insects offers an attractive alternative to synthetic pesticides. Trap crops may work particularly well at smaller production scales, being highly amenable where crop diversification and reduction of synthetic inputs are prioritised over yield alone. This [...] Read more.
The use of trap crops to manage pest insects offers an attractive alternative to synthetic pesticides. Trap crops may work particularly well at smaller production scales, being highly amenable where crop diversification and reduction of synthetic inputs are prioritised over yield alone. This paper describes a series of experiments. The first was to demonstrate the potential of turnip rape (Brassica rapa L., var. Pasja) as a trap crop to arrest flea beetles (Phyllotreta spp.) to protect a main crop of cauliflower (Brassica oleracea L., var. Lateman). The subsequent experiments explored two possible approaches to improve the function of the trap crop—either by separating trap and main crop plants spatially, or by introducing companion plants of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill., cv Amateur) into the main crop. In caged field experiments, feeding damage by flea beetles to crop border plantings of turnip rape far exceeded damage to cauliflower plants placed in the same position, indicating a “trap crop effect”. Neither turnip rape plants nor cauliflower as a border significantly reduced flea beetle damage to main crop cauliflower plants, although the numbers of feeding holes in these plants were lowest where a turnip rape border was used. In similar cages, leaving gaps of 3–6 m of bare soil between turnip rape and cauliflower plants significantly reduced feeding damage to the latter, as compared to when plants were adjacent. The results of a small-scale open field trial showed that a turnip rape trap crop alone reduced flea beetle damage to cauliflower, significantly so later in the season at higher pest pressures, but that addition of tomato companion plants did not improve pest control potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Small Farms and Gardens Pest Management)
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Communication
Pest Control Potential of Social Wasps in Small Farms and Urban Gardens
Insects 2019, 10(7), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10070192 - 28 Jun 2019
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3660
Abstract
In environments undergoing constant transformation due to human action, such as deforestation and urbanization, the emergence of pests has become a challenge for agriculture and human welfare. In Brazil, over a thousand tonnes of pesticides are used annually, causing serious environmental damage such [...] Read more.
In environments undergoing constant transformation due to human action, such as deforestation and urbanization, the emergence of pests has become a challenge for agriculture and human welfare. In Brazil, over a thousand tonnes of pesticides are used annually, causing serious environmental damage such as the decline of insect populations. It is necessary to search for control alternatives in order to reduce the environmental impact caused by insecticides. This review aims to describe the use of social wasps as agents of biological control, focusing on the perspectives of their use in small farms and urban gardens, and to discuss the benefits of using this method. Studies have shown that 90–95% of the prey captured by wasps in small crops is made of leaf-eating caterpillars. In urban gardens, wasps diversify their prey, among which potential disease vectors, such as dipterans, stand out. We outline techniques for managing social wasp colonies in small farm and urban garden settings, including the use of artificial shelters. Among the advantages of using wasps as control agents, we highlight the practicality of the method, the low operational cost, the absence of prey resistance and the decrease of the use of insecticides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Small Farms and Gardens Pest Management)
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Article
Influence of Insect Growth Regulators on Stephanitis pyrioides (Hemiptera: Tingidae) Eggs and Nymphs
Insects 2019, 10(7), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10070189 - 28 Jun 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1400
Abstract
The azalea lace bug, Stephanitis pyrioides (Scott) (Hemiptera: Tingidae), is an important insect pest of azaleas (Rhododendron L. spp.) in the USA. Stephanitis pyrioides feeds on azalea foliage and causes extensive chlorosis, which reduces the aesthetic value and marketability of these plants. [...] Read more.
The azalea lace bug, Stephanitis pyrioides (Scott) (Hemiptera: Tingidae), is an important insect pest of azaleas (Rhododendron L. spp.) in the USA. Stephanitis pyrioides feeds on azalea foliage and causes extensive chlorosis, which reduces the aesthetic value and marketability of these plants. Because the use of neonicotinoid insecticides has been dramatically reduced or discontinued, growers and landscape managers are seeking alternative tools or strategies to control this insect. Although insect growth regulators (IGRs) are known for their activity against immature insect stages, their activity against egg hatching has not been addressed thoroughly, specifically against S. pyrioides. Thus, a series of experiments was conducted to understand the ovicidal activity of IGRs using novaluron, azadirachtin, pyriproxyfen, and buprofezin against S. pyrioides. The number of newly emerged young instars was significantly lower when leaves implanted with eggs were sprayed on both sides with novaluron, azadirachtin, and buprofezin compared to nontreated and pyriproxyfen treatments. When IGRs plus adjuvant were applied to the adaxial surface of the leaves, the densities of the newly emerged nymphs were significantly lower under the novaluron treatment compared to the nontreated leaves. However, there was no significant difference in the number of nymphs that emerged in the absence of adjuvant. Furthermore, close monitoring revealed reduced levels of egg hatching in the presence of adjuvant with novaluron compared to its absence. The data show that the survival of S. pyrioides first instars was not affected by exposure to dried IGR residues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Small Farms and Gardens Pest Management)
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Article
Local and Landscape Drivers of Carabid Activity, Species Richness, and Traits in Urban Gardens in Coastal California
Insects 2019, 10(4), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10040112 - 19 Apr 2019
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1680
Abstract
Urban ecosystems, as mosaics of residential, industrial, commercial, and agricultural land, present challenges for species survival due to impervious surface, degradation, fragmentation, and modification of natural habitat, pollution, and introduced species. Some urban habitats, such as community gardens, support biodiversity and promote ecosystem [...] Read more.
Urban ecosystems, as mosaics of residential, industrial, commercial, and agricultural land, present challenges for species survival due to impervious surface, degradation, fragmentation, and modification of natural habitat, pollution, and introduced species. Some urban habitats, such as community gardens, support biodiversity and promote ecosystem services. In gardens, local factors (e.g., vegetation, groundcover) and landscape surroundings (e.g., agriculture, built or impervious cover) may influence species abundance, richness, and functional traits that are present. We examined which local and landscape factors within 19 community gardens in the California central coast influence ground beetle (Carabidae) activity density, species richness, functional group richness, and functional traits—body size, wing morphology, and dispersal ability. Gardens with higher crop richness and that are surrounded by agricultural land had greater carabid activity density, while species and functional group richness did not respond to any local or landscape factor. Gardens with more leaf litter had lower carabid activity, and gardens with more leaf litter tended to have more larger carabids. Changes in local (floral abundance, ground cover) and landscape (urban land cover) factors also influenced the distribution of individuals with certain wing morphology and body size traits. Thus, both local and landscape factors influence the taxonomic and functional traits of carabid communities, with potential implications for pest control services that are provided by carabids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Small Farms and Gardens Pest Management)
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Review

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Review
Non-Entomopathogenic Roles of Entomopathogenic Fungi in Promoting Plant Health and Growth
Insects 2019, 10(9), 277; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10090277 - 01 Sep 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1697
Abstract
Multiple genera of hypocrealean fungi infect and kill a wide variety of arthropod pests. Several formulations based on these soilborne fungi are commercially available as biopesticides for controlling urban, garden, greenhouse, and agricultural pests. These fungi are an important part of integrated pest [...] Read more.
Multiple genera of hypocrealean fungi infect and kill a wide variety of arthropod pests. Several formulations based on these soilborne fungi are commercially available as biopesticides for controlling urban, garden, greenhouse, and agricultural pests. These fungi are an important part of integrated pest management strategies to maintain pest control efficacy, reduce the risk of chemical insecticide resistance, and offer environmentally sustainable pest suppression. While the entomopathogenic or pest management role of these fungi is well documented, several studies in the past decade or two have provided insights into their relationship with plants, soil, and plant pathogens, and their additional roles in promoting plant growth and health. This review highlights these endophytic, mycorrhiza-like, and disease-antagonizing roles of entomopathogenic fungi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Small Farms and Gardens Pest Management)
Review
Local and Landscape Effects to Biological Controls in Urban Agriculture—A Review
Insects 2019, 10(7), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10070215 - 22 Jul 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2302
Abstract
Urban agriculture is widely practiced throughout the world. Urban agriculture practitioners have diverse motivations and circumstances, but one problem is ubiquitous across all regions: insect pests. Many urban farmers and gardeners either choose to, or are required to forego, the use of chemical [...] Read more.
Urban agriculture is widely practiced throughout the world. Urban agriculture practitioners have diverse motivations and circumstances, but one problem is ubiquitous across all regions: insect pests. Many urban farmers and gardeners either choose to, or are required to forego, the use of chemical controls for pest outbreaks because of costs, overspray in populated areas, public health, and environmental concerns. An alternative form of pest control is conservation biological control (CBC)—a form of ecological pest management—that can reduce the severity of pest outbreaks and crop damage. Urban farmers relying on CBC often assume that diversification practices similar to those used in rural farms may reduce insect pest populations and increase populations of beneficial insects, yet these management practices may be inappropriate for applications in fragmented urban environments. In this review, we assess urban CBC research and provide a synthesis for urban agriculture practitioners. Our findings indicate that local and landscape factors differentially affect insect pests and beneficial arthropods across the reviewed studies, and we identify several on-farm practices that can be implemented to increase biological control in urban agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Small Farms and Gardens Pest Management)
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Review
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for Small-Scale Farms in Developed Economies: Challenges and Opportunities
Insects 2019, 10(6), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10060179 - 21 Jun 2019
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2545
Abstract
Small-scale farms are an important component of agricultural production even in developed economies, and have an acknowledged role in providing other biological and societal benefits, including the conservation of agricultural biodiversity and enhancement of local food security. Despite this, the small-farm sector is [...] Read more.
Small-scale farms are an important component of agricultural production even in developed economies, and have an acknowledged role in providing other biological and societal benefits, including the conservation of agricultural biodiversity and enhancement of local food security. Despite this, the small-farm sector is currently underserved in relation to the development and implementation of scale-appropriate Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices that could help increase such benefits. This review details some of the characteristics of the small farm sectors in developed economies (with an emphasis on the USA and Europe), and identifies some of the characteristics of small farms and their operators that may favor the implementation of IPM. Some of the challenges and opportunities associated with increasing the uptake of IPM in the small-farm sector are discussed. For example, while some IPM tactics are equally applicable to virtually any scale of production, there are others that may be easier (or more cost-effective) to implement on a smaller scale. Conversely, there are approaches that have not been widely applied in small-scale production, but which nevertheless have potential for use in this sector. Examples of such tactics are discussed. Knowledge gaps and opportunities for increasing IPM outreach to small-scale producers are also identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Small Farms and Gardens Pest Management)
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