Africanized honey bees found in southern utah
UTAH PESTS Staff
Kent Evans (No longer at USU)
Erin Frank (No longer at USU)
Erin Hodgson (No longer at USU)
Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab
Utah Pests News is published quarterly by the UTAH PESTS staff.
Sabbatical Research Experience with the NW Michigan Cherry Industry
My family and I had a fun and productive sabbatical experience in northwestern Michigan during the spring and summer of 2008. Michigan produces 75% of U.S. tart cherries and is one of four major producers of sweet cherries. I collaborated with Michigan State University entomologists on research projects on plum curculio biological control and cherry fruit fly ecology and management. Drs. Nikki Rothwell, Mark Whalon, Larry Gut, and others were generous with their time and expertise and helped me jump right into research opportunities with the Michigan fruit industry.
First, I conducted a survey of 37 fruit orchards and vineyards for the presence of entomopathogens (nematodes, fungi, and bacteria that kill insects). A goal was to assess whether the sandy soils of NW Michigan are conducive to entomopathogens and microbial activity. By targeting soil-dwelling life stages of insects, such as the summer generation of plum curculio and cherry fruit fly larvae, growers can take advantage of additional timings to suppress pest populations.
Waxworm larvae were used to “bait” soils for native entomopathogens. Entomopathogen-induced insect mortality ranged from 5-95% per site, and was 50% or greater in 22 of the 37 sites. Soils of organically managed sites had greater entomopathogen activity than transitional organic, sustainable, and conventional orchard soils. Entomopathogens were more common in grape and tart cherry sites than in sweet cherry, and apple sites were intermediate. These results support that the presence of mulches and ground covers, and lower toxicity or shorter-lived pest control products used in organic production may encourage biologically active soils that can suppress soil-dwelling insects. Additionally, results suggest that the sandy soils of NW Michigan are conducive to entomopathogens, and as long as adequate soil moisture is maintained, may be good sites for application of entomopathogen products, such as nematodes and fungi.
Third, I participated in a study on cherry fruit fly (CFF) reproductive maturity and behavior in sweet and tart cherry orchards as compared to a native host, black cherry. The goal was to build upon data collected by Dr. Luis Teixeira of MSU suggesting that peak egg-laying of CFF in cherry orchards occurs during and just after cherry harvest when fruits are at peak ripeness, but that CFF trapped in nearby black cherry trees don’t have mature eggs until later in August when black cherry fruits become ripe. My results support these findings. Observations of CFF behavior in tart cherry trees found that flies didn’t begin to spend time on fruits until they were fully red in color. Most of the flies collected from fruits were males, suggesting that males sit and wait to mate with females. Results from this study will be contributed to research and Extension publications.
In addition to the exciting research opportunities, my family and I found many diversions. We took advantage of the abundance of places to kayak, fish, swim, and hike. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a real treasure and we hiked on many of the park’s trails. We take with us fond memories of the region and people in the “Cherry Capital of the World.”
-Diane Alston, Extension Entomologist
Featured Picture of the Quarter