Farmscaping and EPMIntegrated Parasite, Pathogen & Predator Management; Or: Plant It and They Will Come! Richard C. McDonald, Ph.D. Symbiont Biological Pest Management Patryk Battle Living Web Farms
Farmscaping Definition: Dr. Robert Bugg - Deliberate use of specific plants and landscaping techniques to attract and conserve “Beneficials”. All Trophic levels (soil, plants, insects) must be healthy & balanced; especially soil! Once these levels are set, then “Governing Forces” can take control - Balance of Nature - tip it in our favor slightly View pests as messengers - what are they saying - Rome - kill the bearer of bad news.
Farmscaping - 5 Main Points I. Increase plant species diversity (correct ones). II. Increase plant structural diversity (food, mating sites, overwintering sites, pupation sites, etc.). III. Increase the time these resources are available. IV. Decrease distance beneficials have to travel to find requisites. V. Take advantage of insect and plant behavioral traits.
Farmscaping EPM - Integrated Parasite, Pathogen and Predator Management (IPPPM) 1969 - Everett Dietrich’s Paper on IPPM - read and understand his 5 principles. Shift focus away from ‘pest’ to having a healthy population of beneficials as the primary focus. Prevention is primary. BB50 - beneficial insect seed blends – read through the instructions – key ideas.
Farmscaping My EPM goal: When sampling, I want to see 1/4 to 1/3 of the plants with beneficial insect(adult wasps, beetles, larvae, cocoons, insect pupae, mummies, partially eaten egg masses, etc.) activity or plants should be fairly pest free - economic threshold. Sample size power analysis to determine how many plants to sample.
Farmscaping is Proactive! These two systems are totally different in the amount and kinds of beneficials that are present, based on the biodiversity of plants present. Rebuilding clock: how long it takes to create a healthy farmscape.
Farmscaping: Applied PrinciplesI. Increase plant and insectspecies diversity BB50 - 1) Multiple Redundant Systems - both plants and beneficials - Guilds Goal - Bracketing - having a natural enemy(s) present for every life stage of the pest(s).
Farmscaping Principles: I. Increase plant and insect species diversity⇒ Pest Stage Egg Larva 1 Larva2 Larva3 Larva4 Larva5 Pupa Adult Ladybugs Braconids Same Assassin Same Paper Pteromal Dragonfly usImported Syrphids Ladybugs As Bugs, As Wasps Robber puparum,Cabbage- Lacewings Syrphids Larva Carabid Larva Bugs, Fly Trichogramma Bugs,Worm Lacewing 1 Stink 3 Carabid Spiders Carabi Bug Beetles dsJapanese Carabids Nematodes Tiphia Tiphia, No No None Tachinid-Beetle Nematodes (Hb), vernalis Nemas, Such Such Istocheta Milky Nemas Milky Stage Stage aldrichi spore Milky Spore Spore
Farmscaping PrinciplesII. Increase Plant Structural Diversity Think Ahead - encourage the right beneficial insects to be there when needed them to attack the pests. Timing of ladybugs/Trichogramma wasps to attack the eggs of caterpillars. Work Backwards from the PEST to the Beneficials to the plants/requisites that attract the beneficials.
Farmscaping PrinciplesII. Increase Plant Structural Diversity Fennel is great for attracting parasitic wasps, syrphid flies, and ladybugs. So one plant can bring in a guild of beneficials.
FS Principles- II. Increase PlantStructural Diversity:Overwintering It turns out that many beneficials make cocoons and hibernate in or very near the plants where they find their hosts. Recent research has shown that yarrow and comfrey are also excellent overwintering plants for parasitic wasps.
FS Principles - III. Increase time plantresources are available 1 to 5% of crop area should be planted in farmscaping plants- “lots of clumps of food plants spread out over an area is much better than one big clump”. Or, incorporate farmscaping into borders, ditches, and fencerows.
FS Principles: Have somethingblooming all the time Flowers are prime food & mating sites for wasps. Important to have a well fed, mated female beneficial! Green House – use to Jump- start garden areas.
FS Principles: Nectar! Nectar – liquid sugar food + vitamins for beneficials. Nectar is critical for optimum performance of many beneficials. Many beneficials will lay over 3-10 fold more eggs if properly fed.
FS Principles: Extra-FloralNectaries Nectar glands that are not associated with flowers. Peonies, Sweet potatoes, bachelor buttons, kenafe, all have extrafloral nectaries. Parasitic insects use these extrafloral nectaries as important food sources.
FS Principles: Pollen Is an alternative form of protein. Once again, many plants in the wild carrot family can provide pollen. Another good pollen producer is the corn plant. Syrphid flies need pollen to lay eggs.
FS Principles: IV. Decrease Distancebeneficials travel ⇒ Low Medium High Dispersion Dispersion Dispersion (Stay in field) (forage 1/4 (forage > 1/4 mile) mile) Ground Beetles Most Parasitic Syrphids – (Carabids) wasps Hover Flies Ladybeetles Predatory Dragonflies, (when happy) Wasps – Paper Tachinid Flies Smaller Predatory Bugs Larger Parasitic Parasitic Wasps Wasps
FS Principles: V. Take Advantageof Insect/Plant Behavior:Entrainment Entomologists have discovered that insects (especially parasitic wasps and flies) can perform associative learning, so if you get insects (especially young ones) happy in their environment, they will “tune in” to a particular pest and food plants.
FS Principles: Drought/Stress These systems can also fail! In drought years insects from all over will come to your area and can overwhelm a system. Be ready with backups additional insects, ladybugs/lacewings, Bt, soaps, diatomaceous earth.
FS Principles: Hold Yer Fire! “I didn’t know what is was….. So I killed it.” Remember you need some pests around in order to feed your beneficials. If you have to spray, use materials that are biorationals (like Bt) and won’t kill your beneficials. Realize that broad-spectrum pesticides kill everything and you are resetting your beneficial clock back to
FS Principles: Lastly -EncourageDiversity! Remember that insects are part of the web of life in your garden or farm. The beneficial insect complex is not only composed of parasitic wasps and flies, predatory beetles, lacewing larvae, ladybugs and so on, but ALSO the pollinators, antagonists/competitors that occupy and compete for space and food with potential pests, and finally the saprophytes and decomposing insects that help complete the food cycle back to the soil so the cycle can start again.