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New Manual for Vegetable Growers Now Available

Posted: April 27, 2015

There are more than 4,000 vegetable growers throughout Pennsylvania, planting over 55,000 acres of vegetables. Now these growers have a new tool to reduce pesticides by using predators and other biological controls. “Vegetable Integrated Pest Management with an Emphasis on Biocontrol: A Guide for Growers in the Mid-Atlantic” is available so vegetable growers can learn about managing insect pests using IPM principles.

“Vegetable Integrated Pest Management with an Emphasis on Biocontrol: A Guide for Growers in the Mid-Atlantic” is available so vegetable growers can learn about managing insect pests using IPM principles.

 

Integrated pest management, or IPM, aims to manage pests -- such as insects, diseases, weeds and animals -- by combining physical, biocontrol and chemical tactics that are safe, profitable and environmentally compatible. A biocontrol program uses beneficial organisms such as parasites and insect predators to control pests.

 

Developed by the Pennsylvania IPM Program, this nearly 250-page full-color manual contains pest fact sheets providing pertinent information and photos of damage symptoms and life stages. Also included are photo charts of vegetable pests and beneficial insects, a control timing calendar, and sections on IPM basics, soil health and pest management, biological control, pests of vegetable crop families and beneficial insects.

“The manual will help any vegetable grower reduce their use of hard pesticides,” said manual contributor Mary Barbercheck, professor of entomology at Penn State. Cathy Thomas, PA IPM coordinator and manual coordinator, agreed. “By reducing hard pesticides, vegetable growers will be able to conserve beneficial insects and natural enemies on their farms.”

The use of biocontrols as part of an IPM approach is catching on because many growers are looking for viable alternatives to using pesticides. Since most pests have various parasites, diseases and predators that can kill them, beneficial organisms can be a significant means of control.

The manual was influenced by PA IPM’s vegetable and greenhouse IPM scouting program. Thomas, who is also a biocontrol specialist at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA), has lead the program for over ten years and has been a part of numerous IPM and biocontrol related projects working collaboratively with Penn State and PDA.

The manual can be ordered by going to Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences Publications website. For more information on biocontrol in vegetable growing and greenhouse situations, see PA IPM’s online Greenhouse IPM Problem Solver to read a series of articles written by Thomas on biocontrol for Penn State’s "The Vegetable & Small Fruit Gazette".

The Pennsylvania IPM Program is a collaboration between the Pennsylvania State University and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture aimed at promoting integrated pest management in both agricultural and urban settings. For more information, contact the program at (814) 865-2839 or go to paipm.org