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Research Overview

Research in the Berry Crops Entomology Lab focuses on the biology and management of economically important insects. Members of our lab are currently studying invasive pests such as spotted wing Drosophila, and native pests such as blueberry stem gall wasp. We are also interested in the role of natural enemies for regulating these pests, and strategies for conserving those beneficial insects in farm landscapes. We conduct evaluations of insecticide efficacy in laboratory, greenhouse,research station, and farm settings to guide recommendations for berry crop IPM programs. Our extension work provides growers with practical information to make decisions about insect management, to improve their productivity, profit, and environmental safety.

Pollination is critical for production of most berry crops, and we are investigating the ecology and management of pollinators and their economic value. This includes studies on wild bees and honey bees, and developing Integrated Crop Pollination strategies for sustainable fruit production. As part of this, we are also exploring the interactions between landscape structure and these beneficial insects, and how habitat plantings for supporting pollinators can best be managed to support bees.

The goals of our research program are to:

  • Understand how insects respond to their environment, to¬†improve monitoring, pest prediction, and crop pollination.
  • Develop effective, economical, and environmentally sound pest management strategies to minimize the impacts of pests in fruit production.
  • Determine the importance of pollinators for fruit crop pollination and develop strategies for their conservation in and around farms.