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Bug Vacuums for Organic Crop Protection


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Bug Vacuums for Organic Crop Protection

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Bug Vacuums for Organic Crop Protection

  1. 1. VACUUMS” “BUG VACUUMS” FOR ORGANIC CROP PROTECTION RGANIC PEST MANAGEMENT TECHNICAL NOTEAppropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas Abstract: Field vacuuming is a novel concept for pest management in organic cropping systems. Though heavily promoted, it has not been widely adopted. This publication provides an over- view of the history and applicability of insect vacuum technology.By George Kuepper and Raeven ThomasNCAT Agriculture SpecialistsFebruary 2002Field Vacuums for Insect Vacuums for ManagPest ManagementAs the demand for organicproduce expands, growers areseeking additional alternatives formanaging insect pests withoutpesticides. Among the tools thathave drawn interest are fieldvacuums, which suck pests fromthe growing crop and “batter”them to death. Interest in fieldvacuums peaked in the late 1980sthrough the mid-1990s. They arein limited commercial use at thepresent time. © 2002- Table of Contents Field Vacuums for Insect Pest Management ............................................................... 1 Sources for Insect Vacuums ....................................................................................... 2 Summary ................................................................................................................... 2 References ................................................................................................................ 2 Popular and Technical Literature on Horticultural Pest Vacuums ................................ 3ATTRA is the national sustainable agriculture information center operated by the National Center for AppropriateTechnology under a grant from the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Theseorganizations do not recommend or endorse products, companies, or individuals. ATTRA is located in theOzark Mountains at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville (P.O. Box 3657, Fayetteville, AR 72702). ATTRAstaff members prefer to receive requests for information about sustainable agriculture via the toll-free number800-346-9140.
  2. 2. Growers and researchers have experimented Sources for Insect Vacuumswith suction devices on a number ofhorticultural crops, including lettuce, In late 2001, NCAT Agriculture Specialistsstrawberries, artichokes, grapes, potatoes, contacted twelve companies that had beencelery, and cole crops. The most successful listed as manufacturers or distributors of field-application of insect vacuums appears to be scale insect vacuums in the 1990s. None ofcontrol of lygus bugs in strawberries. The these companies was currently producing newstrawberry producer Driscoll Strawberry suction equipment for sale. Only DriscollAssociates, Inc., highlights their use of Strawberry Associates, Inc. (8) indicated theyBugVac as a marketing tool (1)—one that would produce an insect vacuum on specialmakes them appear more environmentally order.responsible. The University of California’s2001 Pest Management Guidelines feature The California supplier BioQuip Products (9)specific guidelines for use of suction devices has several small vacuums that are mostlyfor lygus control in strawberries (2). intended for insect monitoring and collecting, rather than control. One of the vacuums is aThere has also been some success using backpack unit, however, which might be usefulvacuums for Colorado potato beetle control on for pest control in biointensive systems.potatoes (3). One machine designedspecifically for use on potatoes is called the For very small-scale applications, the ‘BugBeetle Eater. Although the Beetle Eater is no Vacuum’—a battery-operated, hand-held unitlonger being manufactured, there appear to be may work. However, it appears designedseveral still in commercial use (4). primarily for removing individual insects likeDespite their promise and promotion in the errant wasps, bees, and flies from the home.popular agricultural press, field vacuums have The ‘Bug Vacuum’ can be ordered on internetnot achieved wide adoption. Problems cited from at least three different sources (10). Theinclude the high initial costs of machinery (5); base price ranges from $38 to $50.the lack of residual pest control, requiringfrequent passes over the field; soil compaction Summarydue to equipment weight and the frequency ofuse; and the spreading of pathogens like Field vacuums are an interesting non-chemicalpowdery mildew and gray mold. approach to insect pest management. While promising, the concept has not received wideSometimes, the vacuums simply weren’t use because of a number of problems,adequate for the job. When they tried them for including cost and efficacy. Sources foraphid control on lettuce, California growers commercial machinery are limited.found that the pest hid mostly in the lowerparts of the plant and escaped—a particularly Referencesserious problem because the aphids vectorseveral serious diseases. Accommodating the 1) Anon. No date. Driscoll’s Berry R & D. Driscoll Strawberry Associates, P.O. Boxvacuums also limited irrigation to alternate 50045, Watsonville, CA.furrows, which further stressed the crop (6). < berry_r__d.html>.There has always been a worry that insectvacuums would be detrimental to beneficial 2) Zalom, F.G., P.A. Phillips, N.C. Toscano, andpredators, parasites, and pollinators in crop S. Udayagiri. 2001. UC Pest Managementfields. This concern may be unwarranted (or at Guidelines: Strawberry: Lygus Bug.least overstated). Studies indicate that Publication 3339.University of California Department of Agriculture and Naturalpopulations of beneficials do not suffer Resources, Berkeley, CA. February.measurably from field vacuuming (3, 6, 7). < r734300111.html>.PAGE 2 //”BUG VACUUMS” FOR ORGANIC CROP PROTECTION
  3. 3. 3) Grossman, Joel. 1991. Organic potatoes in Anon. 1990. Bugs hit the fan. CALS Wisconsin. IPM Practitioner. May-June. (University of Wisconsin College of p. 16-17. Agriculture and Life Sciences) Quarterly. Summer. p. 2.4) Birt, Kathy. 2000. Bug off! Spudman. May- June. p. 26-27. Anon. 1989. New “BugVac” sucks bugs off5) One California company reportedly growing crops. Farm Show. Vol. 13, No. 3. purchased a number of field vacuums for use p. 16. in lettuce at a cost of $100,000 each. Ref: Grossman, Joel. 1990. Aphids vex Bug Vac. Anon. 1988. Driscoll invention is sucker for IPM Practitioner. March. p. 12-13. ‘bad’ bugs. The Packer. August 13. p. 3A.6) Grossman, Joel. 1990. Aphids vex Bug Vac. Anon. No date. Driscoll’s Berry R & D. IPM Practitioner. March. p. 12-13. Driscoll Strawberry Associates, P.O. Box 50045,7) Grossman, Joel. 1997. Vacuuming lygus. Watsonville, CA. <http://www.driscolls IPM Practitioner. September. p. 15.>.8) Driscoll Strawberry Associates, Inc. Birt, Kathy. 2000. Bug off! Spudman. May- 1750 San Juan Rd. June. p. 26-27. P.O. Box 111 Watsonville, CA 95077 DeVault, George. 1989. Bug-eating machines (408) 726-3531 clobber chemicals. The New Farm. July- August. p. 9-11.9) BioQuip Products 17803 La Salle Ave. Gardena, CA 90248-3602 Glynn, Mike. 1989. Battling the bugs. The (310) 324-0620 Packer. April 1. p. 16C, 18C. (310) 324-7931 FAX Grossman, Joel. 1997. Vacuuming lygus. IPM Practitioner. September. p. 15.10) Biocontrol Network (BIOCONET) Grossman, Joel. 1994. Lygus bugs in < strawberries. IPM Practitioner. March. p. 13. html> Coolgadget < Grossman, Joel. 1991. Organic potatoes in html> Wisconsin. IPM Practitioner. May-June. p. 16-17. <> Grossman, Joel. 1990. Aphids vex Bug Vac.Popular and Technical Literature IPM Practitioner. March. p. 12-13.on Horticultural Pest Vacuums Grossman, Joel. 1989. Strawberry IPM features biological and mechanical controls. IPMThe following is a list of popular and scientific Practitioner. May. p. 1-4.articles relating to insect vacuums, their use, andtheir performance in the field. This list is not Hillsman, Kelly. 1988. Pest vacuums. Thecomprehensive. Grower. December. p. 30-31.Anon. 1991. Sukup bug beater to be Krause, E. 1996. The Bug-Vac and lygus bugdemonstrated at Spudtacular ’91. The Great control. In: Soraka, Juliana. 1996.Lakes Vegetable Growers News. July. p. 14. Proceedings of the Lygus Working GroupAnon. 1990. Back to the future. The New Meeting. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.Farm. p. 24-25. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. April 11-12. //”BUG VACUUMS” FOR ORGANIC CROP PROTECTION PAGE 3
  4. 4. McGill, Steve. 1990. Vacuum sweepers clean Traupman, Michael. 1990. Sweeping the bugsup insect pests. The Furrow (Valley edition). out. The New Farm. July-August. p. 27-30.March-April. p. 22. Williams, Greg, and Pat Williams. 1999.McHugh, Jennifer. 1991. Vacuum up pests. Modified vacuum machine for snag-free bugGreenhouse Grower. August. p. 54, 56, 58. collection. HortIdeas. November. p. 131. Williams, Greg, and Pat Williams. 1991.Moore, Jim. 1990. Insect vacuums hit the “Houdini” hand-held vacuum for Ag Consultant. June. p. 18. HortIdeas. July. p. 82.Moore, Jim. 1990. Sweeping fields controls Williams, Greg, and Pat Williams. 1989. Asome pests. American Vegetable Grower. hand-held insect vacuum (more or less).March. p. 10-11. HortIdeas. September. p. 107.Ogden, Frank. 1998. This vacuum does Zalom, F.G., P.A. Phillips, N.C. Toscano, and S.lettuce. Lessons From the Future—Volume 8. Udayagiri. 2001. UC Pest Management< Guidelines: Strawberry: Lygus Bug.05.html>. Publication 3339. University of California Department of Agriculture and NaturalPickel, Carolyn, Frank G. Zalom, Douglas B. Resources, Berkeley, CA. February.Walsh, and Norman C. Welch. 1994. Efficacy < vacuum machines for Lygus hesperus 0111.html>.(Hemiptera: Miridae) control in coastalCalifornia strawberries. HorticulturalEntomology. Vol. 87, No. 6. p. 1636-1640. By George Kuepper and Raeven ThomasPickel, Carolyn, et al. 1995. Vacuums provide NCAT Agriculture Specialistslimited Lygus control in strawberries.California Agriculture. March-April. p. 19-22. Edited by Richard Earles Formatted by Ronda VaughanStockwin, Will. 1988. Sweeping away pestswith BugVac. American Vegetable Grower. February 2002November. p. 34-38.Street, Richard Steven. 1989. The bug sucker.Harrowsmith. January-February. p. 122. IP194 The electronic version of “Bug Vacuums” For Organic Crop Protection is located at: HTML PDF 4 //”BUG VACUUMS” FOR ORGANIC CROP PROTECTION