Beneficial Insects for High Tunnel Pest Management

– [Narrator] This video
provides a short description of how high tunnel crop
producers can utilize shade cloth for pest exclusion with
minimal side affects. Basic principles of the high
tunnel pest exclusion system have been described in part one and in part two of this series. Mention of company names
and products does not mean an endorsement. Shade clothes are sold by many vendors. The high tunnel models with lock stitch shade cloth shown here, have wide openings that provide a range of pest exclusion at a relatively low cost. The monofilament shade cloth
manufactured by Farm Tech has fine openings. All these models that were
used for laboratory-based beneficial insect studies,
have an opening at the bottom for introducing aphids as a substrate or food for beneficial insects. Test were replicated three times
and results are as follows. Convergent Lady Beetles were
bought from Arbico Organics. We focused on the adult beetle
movement across shade cloths since they are the first
colonizers in field crops infested with aphids. We have examined lady beetle
behavior in response to two aphid species. Using about 200 potato
aphids as substrate, the only fabric that completely
excluded lady beetles was the 50% Farm Tech shade cloth due to the fine knitting. We found a stronger movement
of lady beetles in response to sugarcane aphids which is an
invasive insect pest of sorghum in Alabama. Using field collected aphid colonies, the test again showed
a partial exclusion of Convergent lady beetles with
50% Farm Tech shade cloth. It is easy to estimate these
results will be very different if lady beetle larvae
were used in the study. Green lacewing adults are
larger than lady beetles, especially with large exposed
wings attached to the thorax. This explains the significant
differences observed with various grades of shade cloth. A 50% fine shade cloth
excluded lacewing adults, where as 40% shade cloth
slowed their entry. This slide shows the aggressive
host searching behavior of lady beetles moving through
various types of fabric. Wide opening of the 40 or
50% knitted fabric from Poly-Tex and Green-Tek allows
lady beetles to penetrate while stopping leaffooted
bugs, a major pest of solanaceous crops. Super light insect barrier and
other thin fabric can be used to temporarily protect crops
from pest and high tunnels not using the permanent exclusion system. If needed, producers can release
lacewings and lady beetles sold commercially by vendors like Gardens Alive, Arbico Organics
and Rincon-Vitova Insectaries for controlling small insect pest. Contact the author or
a regional Extension agent for developing a suitable IPM
plan for your farm. Please refer to these publications
to read more about the HTPE system. You can also find additional
pest and beneficial insect pictures on our Facebook page. We recommend new and beginning
farmers to subscribe to the Alabama IPM Communicator e-newsletter, using the website for receiving
up to date pest management information.

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