We embarked on a large project designed to help enhance biological control in apple, pear and walnut orchards in the western U.S., where management programs were in the midst of a transition from older organo-phosphate insecticides to mating disruption and newer reduced-risk insecticides. A “pesticide replacement therapy” approach resulted in unstable management programs with unpredictable outbreaks of spider mites and aphids. Our project was designed to provide growers and pest managers with information on the effects of newer pesticide chemistries on a suite of representative natural enemies in both the laboratory and field, potential of new monitoring tools using herbivore-induced plant volatiles and floral volatiles, phenology of the key natural enemy species, economic consequences of using an enhanced biological control program, and value of an outreach program to get project outcomes into the hands of decision-makers. We present an overview of both the successes and failures of the project and of new projects that have spun off from this project to further enhance biological control in our systems in the near future.
Vincent P. Jones, Nicholas J. Mills, Jay F. Brunner, David R. Horton, Elizabeth H. Beers, Thomas R. Unruh, Peter W. Shearer, Jessica R. Goldberger, Steve Castagnoli, Nadine Lehrer, Eugene Milickzy, Shawn A. Steffan, Kaushalya G. Amarasekare, Ute Chambers, Angela N. Gadino, R. Karina Gallardo, Wendy E. Jones, "From planning to execution to the future: An overview of a concerted effort to enhance biological control in apple, pear, and walnut orchards in the western U.S.", Biological Control, Vol. 102, 2016, Pages 1-6, ISSN 1049-9644, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2016.03.013.