Special Issue "Organic Pest Management of Invertebrate Pests: A Frontier Borne of Constraints?"

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450). This special issue belongs to the section "Insect Pest and Vector Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Matthew J. Grieshop
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Interests: integrated pest management in organic production systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Organic agriculture is one of the fastest growing sectors of global agricultural markets, with yearly economic growth routinely exceeding 10%. A central tenant of the organic agricultural movement has been the reduction of off farm inputs—notably plant protectants—through their replacement with biological/ecological knowledge and localized ecosystem services. Most organic certification programs mandate that growers follow a “Hierarchy of Pest Management” that proceeds from largely preventative tactics (e.g., crop resistance, crop rotation) to increasingly responsive tactics (e.g., application of biopesticides). This has resulted in a system that is largely defined by constraints on what constitutes acceptable pest management practices, creating a need for diverse invertebrate management tactics that are tuned to specific crops and regions: By constraining available tactics, organic certification demands creative approaches towards pest management.

The goal of this Special Issue is to highlight the diverse range of organic management tactics for invertebrate pests as well as to contribute to the discussion of what invertebrate pest management in organic production systems might look like in the future. To this end, suggested potential research and review topics include:

  • Development and evaluation of organic invertebrate pest management tactics;
  • Evaluation of organic pest management programs;
  • Influence of spatial scale and/or landscape context on the success of organic invertebrate pest management tactics/programs;
  • Influence of regional and/or microclimatic factors on the success of organic invertebrate pest management;
  • The role of crop/animal breeding and/or nutrient management in organic management of invertebrate pests;
  • Interactions among invertebrate pests and weeds or pathogens in organic systems;
  • Modification of conventional IPM sampling or action thresholds for organic systems;
  • Promising future areas of organic invertebrate pest management;
  • Case studies on grower adoption of organic invertebrate pest management tactics;
  • Identification of policy constraints and opportunities as they apply to organic invertebrate pest management.

Dr. Matthew J. Grieshop
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Article
Management of Onion Thrips (Thrips tabaci) in Organic Onion Production Using Multiple IPM Tactics
Insects 2021, 12(3), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12030207 - 01 Mar 2021
Viewed by 701
Abstract
Onion thrips (Thrips tabaci Lindeman) is a major pest in organic onion production and effective integrated pest management strategies are lacking. Our objective was to evaluate combinations of semi-glossy (“Rossa di Milano” and B5336AxB5351C) and waxy (“Bradley”) onion cultivars with reflective mulch, [...] Read more.
Onion thrips (Thrips tabaci Lindeman) is a major pest in organic onion production and effective integrated pest management strategies are lacking. Our objective was to evaluate combinations of semi-glossy (“Rossa di Milano” and B5336AxB5351C) and waxy (“Bradley”) onion cultivars with reflective mulch, with or without biopesticides (spinosad + neem oil tank mix), to manage T. tabaci in organic onion production. Thrips densities were assessed weekly and bulbs graded and weighed at harvest. Onions sprayed with spinosad + neem oil had fewer T. tabaci (adults: 74% (2019); larvae: 40% (2018), 84% (2019) and produced higher yields (13% (2018), 23% (2019)) than onions that were unsprayed, regardless of mulch type or onion cultivar. “Rossa di Milano” had relatively fewer adult and larval thrips populations compared with “Bradley” (21% (2018), 32% (2019)) and B5336AxB5351C. However, “Rossa di Milano” had the lowest marketable yield in both years. Reflective mulch reduced densities on certain dates in both years compared to white mulch, but the largest and most consistent reduction only occurred in 2019. Reflective mulch had no impact on bulb yield. While spinosad + neem oil reduced thrips numbers and increased yield alone, none of the treatment combinations were effective at suppressing populations of thrips. Future T. tabaci management in organic onions will require optimization of the available effective biopesticides. Full article
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Article
Effect of Cultural Practices on Neopamera bilobata in Relation to Fruit Injury and Marketable Yields in Organic Strawberries
Insects 2020, 11(12), 843; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11120843 - 28 Nov 2020
Viewed by 596
Abstract
The strawberry seed bug, Neopamera bilobata (Say), is an emerging pest of organic and conventional strawberries in Florida. There is limited information on this Rhyparochromidae species. Thus, the type of injury caused is not clearly documented and management recommendations are lacking. In this [...] Read more.
The strawberry seed bug, Neopamera bilobata (Say), is an emerging pest of organic and conventional strawberries in Florida. There is limited information on this Rhyparochromidae species. Thus, the type of injury caused is not clearly documented and management recommendations are lacking. In this study, we evaluated the effect of strawberry cultivars, cover crops, and the presence of runners on N. bilobata populations and yield. We also investigated the effect of select cultivars and the presence of runners on N. bilobata injury levels. In addition, we used fruit bagging experiments to investigate the effects of N. bilobata population and life stage (nymph vs. adult) on strawberry fruits. There was no effect of cover crop or cultivar on N. bilobata populations. In the 2017–2018 season, strawberry plots with runners contained higher N. bilobata populations compared with plots without runners, and adult infestation was significantly higher than nymphal infestation. In the 2018–2019 season, the trend was reversed with higher numbers of N. bilobata collected in plots with runners removed. In the 2019–2020 season, there was no significant difference in N. bilobata populations in plots with and without runners. In both 2018–2019 and 2019–2020, nymphal infestation was higher than adult infestation. Less injury was recorded in “Florida Brilliance” compared with the other cultivars tested. In the 2019–2020 season, less injury was recorded from plots without runners while the difference was not significant in 2017–2018 or 2018–2019. Releasing five and ten adult N. bilobata on ripe (red) fruit produced a similar level of injury while no injury to unripe (green) fruit was observed. Both adults and nymphs cause injury to ripe fruit. These findings can help contribute to the development of an integrated pest management program for strawberry N. bilobata. Full article
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Article
The Impact of Plant Essential Oils and Fine Mesh Row Covers on Flea Beetle (Chrysomelidae) Management in Brassicaceous Greens Production
Insects 2020, 11(10), 714; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11100714 - 19 Oct 2020
Viewed by 752
Abstract
Brassicaceous leafy greens are an important crop for small growers but are difficult to produce due to damage by flea beetles. Flea beetles are problematic for growers as they chew many small holes through leaves rendering produce unmarketable. We tested the efficacy of [...] Read more.
Brassicaceous leafy greens are an important crop for small growers but are difficult to produce due to damage by flea beetles. Flea beetles are problematic for growers as they chew many small holes through leaves rendering produce unmarketable. We tested the efficacy of several essential oils, the woven-mesh row cover ProtekNet, and the spunbonded row cover Agribon, compared to organic and conventional insecticides and no spray controls in the spring and fall of 2019. We found that the two row cover treatments (Agribon and ProtekNet) provided the best control of flea beetles and associated damage. Thyme oil was highly phytotoxic and killed the crop entirely and rosemary and neem essential oils caused mild phytotoxic burns. Organic insecticides rarely performed better than the no spray control. While conventional insecticides controlled most flea beetles, the crop was often still too highly damaged to sell. The results of our study suggest row covers offer producers an effective method of flea beetle control that reduces their dependence on insecticides for conventional and organic production. Full article
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Article
Organic Control of Pear Psylla in Pear with Trunk Injection
Insects 2020, 11(9), 650; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11090650 - 22 Sep 2020
Viewed by 874
Abstract
Organic production of pears is challenging in part because OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) approved biopesticides are short lived when applied as foliar sprays. Trunk injection is an alternative method of insecticide delivery that may enhance the performance of biopesticides for control of [...] Read more.
Organic production of pears is challenging in part because OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) approved biopesticides are short lived when applied as foliar sprays. Trunk injection is an alternative method of insecticide delivery that may enhance the performance of biopesticides for control of pear psylla. The objective of this study is to compare the efficacy of azadirachtin and abamectin in the control of pear psylla using two different application methods, airblast sprayer and trunk injection. Trunk injections of azadirachtin and abamectin were compared to airblast applications of equal labeled rates on 33-year-old Bartlett Pear trees (Pyrus communis L., var “Bartlett”). The azadirachtin and abamectin trunk injected treatments performed equally or better than the two airblast applications in the control of the pear psylla. The trunk injected trees from the first season provided a moderate level of control into the second season, one year after the injections. This study suggests that trunk injection is a superior delivery system for biopesticides used in organic pear production. Full article
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Article
Comparative Efficacy of Common Active Ingredients in Organic Insecticides Against Difficult to Control Insect Pests
Insects 2020, 11(9), 614; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11090614 - 08 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1262
Abstract
There exists a lack of control efficacy information to enable decision-making about which organic insecticide product works best for a given insect pest. Here, we summarize results of 153 field trials on the control efficacy of common active ingredients in organic insecticides against [...] Read more.
There exists a lack of control efficacy information to enable decision-making about which organic insecticide product works best for a given insect pest. Here, we summarize results of 153 field trials on the control efficacy of common active ingredients in organic insecticides against 12 groups of the most difficult to control insect pests. These trials evaluated primarily the organic products Entrust (spinosad), Azera (pyrethrin and azadirachtin), PyGanic (pyrethrin) and Neemix (azadirachtin), which reduced pest infestations by an overall 73.9%, 61.7%, 48.6% and 46.1% respectively, averaged across all trials. Entrust was the most effective control option for many insect pests, particularly providing >75% control of flea beetles, Colorado potato beetle, cabbageworms and alfalfa weevil, but was relatively ineffective against true bugs and aphids. Azera provided >75% control of green peach aphid, flea beetles, Japanese beetle, Mexican bean beetle, potato leafhopper and cabbageworms. PyGanic was less effective than Entrust and Azera but still provided >75% control of green peach aphid, flea beetles and potato leafhopper. The growth inhibition effects of azadirachtin in Neemix were particularly effective against larvae of Mexican bean beetle and Colorado potato beetle but was generally less effective in trials with insect infestations consisting mainly of adult stages. Those insect pests that were particularly difficult to control included thrips, stinkbugs, cucumber beetles and fruitworms. Several caveats pertaining to the application of the results are discussed. Full article
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Article
Deterrent Effects of Essential Oils on Spotted-Wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii): Implications for Organic Management in Berry Crops
Insects 2020, 11(8), 536; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11080536 - 15 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1213
Abstract
Due to concerns about frequent applications of spinosad and other broad spectrum insecticides for managing spotted-wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii Matsumura, SWD), we investigated the use of essential oils as an alternative to current insecticides. Essential oils from a number of plant species [...] Read more.
Due to concerns about frequent applications of spinosad and other broad spectrum insecticides for managing spotted-wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii Matsumura, SWD), we investigated the use of essential oils as an alternative to current insecticides. Essential oils from a number of plant species have been studied for their attraction and deterrence of SWD. However, these botanical products have not been thoroughly tested in the field. We conducted laboratory and field studies to determine the efficacy of botanical products, including lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Mill.) oil, catnip (Nepeta cataria L.) oil, KeyPlex Ecotrol® PLUS, and KeyPlex Sporan® EC2 on preventing SWD infestation in raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) and blueberry (Vacciniumcorymbosum L.) crops. In a two-choice laboratory bioassay, lavender oil, Ecotrol, and Sporan treatments deterred SWD from a yeast-cornmeal-sugar based fly diet. In the field trials, raspberry fruit treated with Ecotrol had lower SWD infestation (6%), compared to the control (17%), and was comparable to spinosad (6%). No differences were seen in blueberry infestation. The combination of essential oils in Ecotrol may work to decrease SWD fruit infestation under certain conditions in the field, however more research is needed on the longevity of these products. Full article
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Article
Floral Resources for Trissolcus japonicus, a Parasitoid of Halyomorpha halys
Insects 2020, 11(7), 413; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11070413 - 03 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1246
Abstract
The egg parasitoid Trissolcus japonicus is the main candidate for classical biocontrol of the invasive agricultural pest Halyomorpha halys. The efficacy of classical biocontrol depends on the parasitoid’s survival and conservation in the agroecosystem. Most parasitoid species rely on floral nectar as [...] Read more.
The egg parasitoid Trissolcus japonicus is the main candidate for classical biocontrol of the invasive agricultural pest Halyomorpha halys. The efficacy of classical biocontrol depends on the parasitoid’s survival and conservation in the agroecosystem. Most parasitoid species rely on floral nectar as a food source, thus identifying nectar sources for T. japonicus is critical. We evaluated the impact of eight flowering plant species on T. japonicus survival in the lab by exposing unfed wasps to flowers inside vials. We also measured the wasps’ nutrient levels to confirm feeding and energy storage using anthrone and vanillin assays adapted for T. japonicus. Buckwheat, cilantro, and dill provided the best nectar sources for T. japonicus by improving median survival by 15, 3.5, and 17.5 days compared to water. These three nectar sources increased wasps’ sugar levels, and cilantro and dill also increased glycogen levels. Sweet alyssum, marigold, crimson clover, yellow mustard, and phacelia did not improve wasp survival or nutrient reserves. Further research is needed to determine if these flowers maintain their benefits in the field and whether they will increase the parasitism rate of H. halys. Full article
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Article
Identifying Leafhopper Targets for Controlling Aster Yellows in Carrots and Celery
Insects 2020, 11(7), 411; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11070411 - 02 Jul 2020
Viewed by 994
Abstract
Aster yellows phytoplasma (Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris) is a multi-host plant pathogen and is transmitted by at least 24 leafhopper species. Pathogen management is complex and requires a thorough understanding of vector dynamics. In the American Midwest, aster yellows is of great [...] Read more.
Aster yellows phytoplasma (Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris) is a multi-host plant pathogen and is transmitted by at least 24 leafhopper species. Pathogen management is complex and requires a thorough understanding of vector dynamics. In the American Midwest, aster yellows is of great concern for vegetable farmers who focus on controlling one vector, Macrosteles quadrilineatus—the aster leafhopper. However, vegetable-associated leafhopper communities can be diverse. To investigate whether additional species are important aster yellows vectors, we surveyed leafhopper communities at commercial celery and carrot farms in Michigan from 2018 to 2019 and conducted real-time PCR to determine infection status. Leafhoppers were collected within crop fields and field edges and identified with DNA barcoding. Overall, we collected 5049 leafhoppers, with the most abundant species being M. quadrilineatus (57%) and Empoasca fabae—the potato leafhopper (23%). Our results revealed the most abundant aster yellows vector in Michigan in both crops is M. quadrilineatus, but we also found that E. fabae may be a potential vector for this pathogen. While several taxa reside in and near these crops, we did not find strong evidence that they contribute to phytoplasma infection. These findings indicate that M. quadrilineatus should be the primary target for controlling this pathogen. Full article
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Review

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Review
Cultural Control of Drosophila suzukii in Small Fruit—Current and Pending Tactics in the U.S.
Insects 2021, 12(2), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12020172 - 17 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1492
Abstract
Spotted-wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) (Diptera: Drosophilidae), a vinegar fly of Asian origin, has emerged as a devastating pest of small and stone fruits throughout the United States. Tolerance for larvae is extremely low in fresh market fruit, and management is primarily achieved [...] Read more.
Spotted-wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) (Diptera: Drosophilidae), a vinegar fly of Asian origin, has emerged as a devastating pest of small and stone fruits throughout the United States. Tolerance for larvae is extremely low in fresh market fruit, and management is primarily achieved through repeated applications of broad-spectrum insecticides. These applications are neither economically nor environmentally sustainable, and can limit markets due to insecticide residue restrictions, cause outbreaks of secondary pests, and select for insecticide resistance. Sustainable integrated pest management programs include cultural control tactics and various nonchemical approaches for reducing pest populations that may be useful for managing D. suzukii. This review describes the current state of knowledge and implementation for different cultural controls including preventative tactics such as crop selection and exclusion as well as strategies to reduce habitat favorability (pruning; mulching; irrigation), alter resource availability (harvest frequency; sanitation), and lower suitability of fruit postharvest (cooling; irradiation). Because climate, horticultural practices, crop, and market underlie the efficacy, feasibility, and affordability of cultural control tactics, the potential of these tactics for D. suzukii management is discussed across different production systems. Full article
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Review
The Future of Organic Insect Pest Management: Be a Better Entomologist or Pay for Someone Who Is
Insects 2021, 12(2), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12020140 - 07 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1339
Abstract
Insect pest management in certified organic production systems presents considerable challenges for growers. The Federal National Organic Program (NOP) guidelines list acceptable tactics, but their effective use requires a considerable knowledgebase in entomology. The range of tactics allowed by the NOP are viewed [...] Read more.
Insect pest management in certified organic production systems presents considerable challenges for growers. The Federal National Organic Program (NOP) guidelines list acceptable tactics, but their effective use requires a considerable knowledgebase in entomology. The range of tactics allowed by the NOP are viewed as limiting by many growers and there are important elements missing from the list such as pest monitoring and identification. Educational programs must consider utilizing instructional methods and additional means of outreach that introduce new pest management tactics that are individualized, regionally appropriate and emphasize grower adoption and collaboration with local professionals. This review describes the challenges and knowledge burden associated with the listed NOP pest management guidelines, provides an educational model that includes an additional level of professional support for enhanced adoption of novel pest management tactics, or refinement of current practices, with a special emphasis on the importance of insect pest population monitoring. Full article
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Review
How Effective Is Conservation Biological Control in Regulating Insect Pest Populations in Organic Crop Production Systems?
Insects 2020, 11(11), 744; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11110744 - 29 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 714
Abstract
Organic crop production systems are designed to enhance or preserve the presence of natural enemies, including parasitoids and predators, by means of conservation biological control, which involves providing environments and habitats that sustain natural enemy assemblages. Conservation biological control can be accomplished by [...] Read more.
Organic crop production systems are designed to enhance or preserve the presence of natural enemies, including parasitoids and predators, by means of conservation biological control, which involves providing environments and habitats that sustain natural enemy assemblages. Conservation biological control can be accomplished by providing flowering plants (floral resources) that will attract and retain natural enemies. Natural enemies, in turn, will regulate existing insect pest populations to levels that minimize plant damage. However, evidence is not consistent, based on the scientific literature, that providing natural enemies with flowering plants will result in an abundance of natural enemies sufficient to regulate insect pest populations below economically damaging levels. The reason that conservation biological control has not been found to sufficiently regulate insect pest populations in organic crop production systems across the scientific literature is associated with complex interactions related to intraguild predation, the emission of plant volatiles, weed diversity, and climate and ecosystem resources across locations where studies have been conducted. Full article
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Review
Plant-Derived Natural Compounds for Tick Pest Control in Livestock and Wildlife: Pragmatism or Utopia?
Insects 2020, 11(8), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11080490 - 01 Aug 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1172
Abstract
Ticks and tick-borne diseases are a significant economic hindrance for livestock production and a menace to public health. The expansion of tick populations into new areas, the occurrence of acaricide resistance to synthetic chemical treatments, the potentially toxic contamination of food supplies, and [...] Read more.
Ticks and tick-borne diseases are a significant economic hindrance for livestock production and a menace to public health. The expansion of tick populations into new areas, the occurrence of acaricide resistance to synthetic chemical treatments, the potentially toxic contamination of food supplies, and the difficulty of applying chemical control in wild-animal populations have created greater interest in developing new tick control alternatives. Plant compounds represent a promising avenue for the discovery of such alternatives. Several plant extracts and secondary metabolites have repellent and acaricidal effects. However, very little is known about their mode of action, and their commercialization is faced with multiple hurdles, from the determination of an adequate formulation to field validation and public availability. Further, the applicability of these compounds to control ticks in wild-animal populations is restrained by inadequate delivery systems that cannot guarantee accurate dosage delivery at the right time to the target animal populations. More work, financial support, and collaboration with regulatory authorities, research groups, and private companies are needed to overcome these obstacles. Here, we review the advancements on known plant-derived natural compounds with acaricidal potential and discuss the road ahead toward the implementation of organic control in managing ticks and tick-borne diseases. Full article
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