ESA Annual Meetings Online Program

0562 Insect pests in high tunnel vegetable production

Monday, November 14, 2011: 10:15 AM
Room A5, First Floor (Reno-Sparks Convention Center)
Sarah L. Thompson , Entomology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Rick Foster , Entomology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
High tunnels are a form of protected agriculture that aids in season extension by creating a favorable microclimate using trapped solar heat. The tunnel structure is similar to a simple greenhouse, usually comprised of stretched plastic over a large ribbed frame. They are used extensively around the world for the production of high value crops. Basic research is needed in this production system to begin developing specialized IPM solutions to pest-related problems. This study involves production of three crops: tomato, broccoli, and cucumber in three high tunnels as well as three comparison field plots, with each paired high tunnel and field plot serving as a replication. Throughout the first year, arthropod pest density and damage were measured on each crop both inside and outside the tunnels and an inventory of pest insects was developed. During the summer months, crops within the tunnels hosted a greater variety of pest insects and sustained greater insect-related damage than those field-grown, contrary to predictions. As expected, greenhouse pests such as aphids and whiteflies were significantly denser in the tunnels. In addition, other insect pests tended to be more numerous within the high tunnels than in the field plots, in many cases the difference was significant. During the second year, methods were modified to include insect pest interventions upon reaching established action thresholds. The number of necessary interventions as well as the efficacy and duration of the interventions in both the tunnels and field will be compared. The results of this study will aid in developing IPM decision making protocols for high tunnel producers.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.58629