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  • 1. Trap Cropping for Sustainable Crop Production Dr. Ayanava Majumdar Extension Entomologist Alabama Cooperative Extension System Gulf Coast Research & Extension Center 8300 State Hwy 104, Fairhope, Alabama 36532 Cell phone: 251-331-8416 PART 3A (discussion on key insect behavioral concepts)
  • 2. Objectives
    • To discuss basics of IPM
    • To help you identify & use cultural control tactics
    • To make a strong case for trap cropping (using published scientific literature)
    • Discuss some basics of insect behavior
    • Provide general trap cropping guidelines
  • 3. Point to Ponder: What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?
    • IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices .
    • IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment.
    • IPM takes advantage of all appropriate pest management options including, but not limited to, the judicious use of pesticides .
    • Organic food production applies many of the same concepts as IPM but limits the use of pesticides to those that are produced from natural sources , as opposed to synthetic chemicals.
    Source: USEPA
  • 4. Premise for using cultural pest control strategies
    • Set action thresholds: “Sighting a single pest does not always mean control is needed.” Think in economic terms!
    • Monitor and Identify Pests: “… monitoring and identification removes the possibility that pesticides will be used when they are not really needed...”
    • Prevention: “…using cultural methods…that can be very effective and cost-efficient and present little to no risk to people or the environment.”
    • Control: “Effective, less risky pest controls are chosen first, including highly targeted chemicals, such as pheromones to disrupt pest mating, or mechanical control, such as trapping or weeding.”
    Source: USEPA USEPA’s Four-tiered Model of IPM
  • 5. Multiple cropping for Diverse Habitat
    • Host plant quality hypo.: plant species can interact in a way to reduce attractiveness to pest (Theunissen 1994)
    IPM Era (1970-1990s) Natural enemies hypo. (Root 1973): cultural control tactics can conserve or increase natural enemies (Hummel et al. 2002, Peachey et al. 2002, Schmidt et al. 2004, Carmona & Landis 2003) Diverse background moderates insect behavior (1960 – 1985): insects get confused or separated! Post-IPM Era (1990-) Pre-IPM Era (-1970s) Resource concentration hypo.: herbivores (=pests) remain in an area where essential resources are concentrated (Root 1973)
  • 6. What is a trap cropping?
    • Agronomic definition:
      • Trap cropping is the planting of an attractive trap crop to protect the main crop (PAN Germany, 2009). Trap crop may or may not be harvestable.
    • Entomological definition:
      • Trap cropping is a production system that exploits insect behavior by continuously providing food plants in the preferred stage (Grossman 2008)
    “ Trap cropping is a special case of multiple cropping.” “ Presence of second crop in the vicinity of principal crop diverts a pest, which would otherwise attack the principal crop” (Van der meer 1981)
  • 7. Why should you use trap crops? Combined use of cultural control + Insecticides = IPM approach Trap crop New insecticide Corn earworm devastated sunflower (trap crop) but stayed away from peanuts Image source: ICRISAT, India
  • 8. Host finding & oviposition behavior
    • Arrestants:
    • Plant color, odor, shape (acts at a distance)
    • Texture, phytochemicals, treatments (acts after landing)
    Note: Adult females make the decision to oviposit & starts a primary infestation!
  • 9. How trap cropping works? Various behavioral theories that could explain success of trap crops.
    • Visual camouflage (Smith 1969)
    • Masking of host plant odor (Tahvanainen & Root 1972)
    • Resource concentration hypothesis (Root 1973)
    • Natural enemies hypothesis (Root 1973)
    • Physical obstruction (Perrin 1977)
    • Deterrent chemicals (Uvah & Caoker 1984)
    • Interplant interaction alters host quality (Theunissen 1994)
    • Impaired apparency of host plants to insects (Finch & Kienegger 1997)
    • Appropriate/inappropriate landings (Finch & Collier 2000)
  • 10. Trap cropping arrangements
    • Trap crop surrounds the main crop from all sides
    • Feasible on small to medium scale
    • Too resource-intensive on large scale (seed, time, management)
    • Boucher et al. (2003): bell pepper/cherry peppers/pepper maggots
    Perimeter Trap Cropping TRAP CROP Trap crop MAIN CROP
  • 11. Trap cropping arrangements
    • Dr. Sam Pair, USDA-ARS
    • Trap crop = early planted squash, apply insecticide on borders
    • Squash lured 66% cucumber beetles and 90% squash bugs
    Perimeter Trap Cropping (contd.) Main crop (watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber) Trap crop (squash)
  • 12. Trap cropping arrangements
    • Planting trap crop (alfalfa) in rows within the main crop (cotton)
    Row Trap Cropping Alfalfa Cotton Cotton Sustainable American Cotton Project, NCAT Southern green stink bug
  • 13. Trap cropping arrangements
    • Planting trap crop (alfalfa) in rows within the main crop (strawberry) & a using vacuum!
    Row Trap Cropping (contd.) Alfalfa Strawberry (34 rows) Strawberry (34 rows) Strawberry production in California Western tarnished plant bug damage
  • 14. Trap cropping arrangements Strip Trap Cropping
    • Planting trap crops in a strip along one common border between two or more crops
    • Tillman (2006): cotton/sorghum/southern green stink bug…integrated pheromone trap + trap crop
    Also reported high parasitism rates from tachinid fly in sorghum
  • 15. Trap cropping arrangements Strip Trap Cropping (mechanism) Sorghum (trap crop) Cotton Peanut (reservoir for pest) Green stink bugs migration
  • 16. Trap cropping arrangements
    • Tillman (2006): IPM approach to stink bug control
    Strip Trap Cropping (contd.) Sorghum trap crop Picture source: Agricultural Research Magazine, January 2008
  • 17. Trap cropping systems
    • Trap crop is highly attractive to the insect pest, but the trap crop does not support its growth & development.
    • Diamondback moths are attracted to yellow rocket over cabbage, trick is:
      • Trap crop planted in higher densities (more eggs)
      • Trap crop planted earlier than main crop (increase attractiveness)
    Dead-end Trap Cropping (Shelton & Nault 2004, Badenez-Perez et al. 2004) TRAP CROP MAIN CROP
  • 18. NE Conservation System
    • Grass shelters natural enemies
    • Many night-feeding insects hide in grass during day…treat the edges!
    • Sample in grass and keep it under control
    Grassy buffers Grassy buffer zone in temporary agroecosystem Grassy buffer zone in permanent ecosystems
  • 19. How multiple cropping/conservation systems affect natural enemies?
      • Increases spiders (Hummel et al. 2002), increase predatory mites (Peachey et al. 2002), maintains or increases ground predators (Schmidt et al. 2004, Carmona & Landis 2003)
      • Conserves ground-dwelling predators that regulate aphid population (Schmidt et al. 2004)
      • Conservation tillage improves soil persistence of insect pathogens (Hummel et al. 2002)
  • 20. Advantages of trap cropping
    • Sustainable technology – literature review with numerous successful applications
    • Suitable for commercial and noncommercial crop production
    • Allows small startup without investing in large equipment
    • May pay for itself if crop is harvestable (alfalfa, squash)
    • Can be integrated with existing farming/gardening practices
    • Reduces dependence on chemical pesticides
    • Conserves indigenous natural enemies by providing shelter & continuity
  • 21. Disadvantages of trap cropping
    • Knowledge intensive practice (like IPM)
    • Need for additional planning (e.g., early planting), materials (e.g. seeds, land), and labor
    • Trap crop recommendations are unique to the insect (behavior affects efficiency of trap crops)
    • Results may be inconsistent (moderated by weather events)
    • Proportion of cash crop: trap crop = 10%, 20%,?
    • Timely management of insects in trap crop: problem if you miss!
  • 22. Recommendations for trap cropping
    • Try it on a small scale to gain confidence
    • Integrate with biological/chemical i-cides, pheromone trapping, mass trapping, etc.
    • Trap cropping is more management intensive!
    • Trap cropping could manage one or two insect species
    • Works great against sucking pests (plant bugs) and slow fliers (beetles)
    • Could work against generalist feeders like lepidopteran moths (cutworms, diamondback moth, etc.)
  • 23. Recommendations (contd.)
    • Trap crop should be highly attractive to pest!
    • Choose trap crops that have bushy growth habit (alfalfa, grasses, etc.) and/or large leaf area (squash, ornamental plants?)
    • Proportion of land in traps (10-25%)…or choose per your observations & skills
    • Plant a dense row of trap crop, plant early
    • Choose a simple design – easy to manage
    • Keep your main crop well irrigated, prevent plant competition
    • Keep records and maintain a pest calendar
  • 24. What insecticides can be used with trap crops?
    • May use the following regularly and in rotation:
      • Thuricide, Dipel (Bt)
      • Novodor, Foil (Bt)
      • M-pede (soap)
      • Pyganic (pyrethrum)
      • Pyrellin (pyrethrum + rotenone)
    • Contact a nursery for supplies & purchase early
    • Do not use unlabeled insecticides (e.g., RTU home pesticides)
  • 25. Trap Cropping for Sustainable Vegetable Production QUESTIONS? PART 3A