Response of Ground Beetles to a Reduced-risk Insecticide Program in Blueberry Fields, and Potential for Pest Predation
Asteriou, Joseph R.
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The change from broad spectrum pesticides to reduced risk programs has opened new avenues of study in the field of agricultural entomology due to the desire to integrate natural predators into pest control. Ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) have excellent potential to destroy pests that spend part of their life cycle on the ground, acting as control agents in certain crops. The purpose of this study was to further investigate the seasonal abundance of these predators in Michigan blueberry fields subjected to grower standard (GSTD) or reduced risk pesticide programs (RR). In addition, the potential for the most abundant carabid, Harpalus pensylvanicus, to act as a control agent was assessed in feeding trials with two prey types, blueberry maggot puparium (Rhagoletis mendax) and Japanese beetle eggs (Popilliajaponica). This season, as in the last, Harpalus erraticus, as well as other late season carabids, responded to the RR pest management programs with increased numbers in August and September. However, this was not found to be statistically significant, likely due to high variability from farm to farm. Individuals of H pensylvanicus, a late season carabid, were observed to feed on Japanese beetle eggs. (Popilliajaponica) as well as blueberry maggot puparium (Rhagoletis mendax) in laboratory experiments, though with higher success on the soil surface versus buried below it. Further research must be done to determine this beetle's role as a possible pest predator as well as its interactions with other natural predators.