In 2012 we received a research grant from the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program to study organic trap crop methods for controlling the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). See the
Final Results

stinkbug

We are committed to on-farm research to advance sustainable agriculture! Clarissa Mathews, PhD, directs an applied research program in ecologically-based pest management for organic production at our farm. We offer undergraduate internships providing training in theoretical and practical applications of IPM, sustainable agriculture and field research techniques. With generous support from the USDA Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program and the USDA Rural Development Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency Program, projects have included designing a solar thermal system for greenhouse rootzone heating, evaluating ethnic vegetable varieties for organic production, and research on the use of a sunflower ‘trap crop’ (a highly attractive non-cash crop that can trap pests out of the production areas) to manage the invasive Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. We are currently collaborating with other researchers on a 3-yr project, “Whole-farm Organic Management of BMSB and Endemic Pentatomids through Behavior-based Habitat Manipulation,” funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) program.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is an invasive pest causing significant economic losses to farmers due to its extremely broad feeding range and lack of native natural enemies. All major vegetable and fruit crops are susceptible to BMSB, and the predominant management tactic being employed is frequent application of broad-spectrum insecticides that are toxic to beneficial organisms, disrupt biological control and lead to secondary pest outbreaks. This project explores an innovative non-chemical approach that combines a highly attractive trap crop buffer with commercially available baited stink bug traps to manage BMSB. The overall goal is to enhance the economic viability and environmental sustainability of farms currently endangered by BMSB, by increasing yields and profits and reducing the volume of broad-spectrum insecticide applied to the environment.

Our system involves enticing BMSB to a crop strip that remains attractive throughout the growing season, and then luring them into pheromone-baited traps, where they desiccate and die. The project builds upon current BMSB knowledge and preliminary data collected for more than 50 crop varieties on our farm. The trap crop will consist of a perimeter planting of green amaranth and sunflowers, both highly attractive to BMSB nymphs and adults at our farm. We will test this system in replicated field plots containing four highly valuable crops that are exremely susceptible to BMSB: okra, sweet pepper, tomato and summer squash. We will then share our findings with other farmers, extension and agricultural professionals through websites, presentations at professional meetings and on-farm demonstrations.

Redbud Organic Farm, LLC

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