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Journal of economic entomology

Reduced-risk pest management programs for eastern U.S. peach orchards: effects on arthropod predators, parasitoids, and select pests.


PMID 25026668

Abstract

We developed new integrated pest management programs for eastern U.S. peaches with minimal use of organophosphates. From 2002-2005, we assessed the ecological impacts of these reduced-risk programs versus grower standard conventional programs that still relied primarily on the use of organophosphorous and carbamate insecticides. Using a split-plot design replicated at four commercial Pennsylvania peach orchards, we quantified pesticide rates, environmental impact, and arthropod community response. We used Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ) analysis based on the growers' pesticide records from each orchard to calculate seasonal cumulative EIQ field ratings for all years. Ecological effects of the reduced-risk and conventional program were also measured as the abundance and diversity of nontarget arthropod predators, parasitoids, and selected pest taxa. Pesticide inputs and EIQ values were substantially lower in reduced-risk programs compared with conventional spray programs. Arthropod arrays differed significantly between pest management programs: most beneficial predator and parasitoid taxa were positively associated with the reduced-risk program and negatively associated with the standard grower program. Regardless of the pest management program, we observed significant differences in species arrays in the peach tree canopy compared with the ground cover of the orchards, but the arthropod community did not differ among the field sites or based on distance from the edge of the orchard. We conclude that reduced-risk programs not only provide control comparable with that of conventional programs, but they also reduce negative environmental effects while conserving key arthropod biological control agents within eastern U.S. peach orchards.