Search NC Small Fruit, Specialty Crop, and Tobacco IPM

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Where do I find...?

I began this blog as an extension tool, a resource that would help me quickly reach a wide range of stakeholders including extension agents, growers, gardeners, and others I couldn't even imagine at the time.  My rule of thumb has been, if I am asked or emailed a question twice, I write a blog post on it because there are probably lots more where that came from.

There's one question, however, that I get asked on a daily basis that hasn't gotten its own post...yet.  In fact, I was asked this question twice already this morning! "Where do I find...?"  I have a tried and true set of resources that I used to answer the many "where do I find's", many of which have been listed in separate blog posts.  Here's a quick compendium of the most common questions and some of the resources I use.

Where do I find my county extension agent?
I refrain from making specific management recommendations in blog posts because these will vary for each grower or gardener.  I often refer readers to their county extension agent or request they contact me directly, but what if you don't know who your county agent is?
If you are in North Carolina
You can find your county center here.  Your county center's webpage will list their contact information and staff.  Many counties have more than one person who handles pest management issues depending on the plant, or in some cases, animal in question.  The staff page of each county center's website lists the specialties of all their agents.
If you are not in North Carolina is a national extension effort involving all land grant universities (the large, public universities with the Agriculture and Engineering colleges, where extension efforts are headquartered).  When you navigate to the eXtension site, the nearest landgrant university (based on your IP address) will be listed. Clicking on this link will take you to extension resources for your state.

What insect pests can I expect on my blueberries/blackberries/grapes/strawberries/etc?
If you are in North Carolina
You've already found this blog, which has lots of information on pests present on small fruit and speciality crops (use the labels on the right hand side to navigate through topic areas or just search).  The NC Market Ready Team at the NC Research Campus near Kannapolis, NC has also assembled information portals for several small fruit crops including strawberries, caneberries, muscadine grapes, and blueberries.  My information is linked through these portals, but new information is still posted here exclusively.
If you are in the southeast
Another great regional resource is the Southern Region Small Consortium (SRSFC).  Their site contains information from their annual extension agent training sessions and crop specific production information.
If you are not in the southeast
Pest populations very widely between regions in the United States.  Blueberries grown in North Carolina will have a very different pest complex than those grown in Michigan, for example.  It's important that you identify your nearest land grant university (again, is a nice resource for this) and determine if they have the resources you need.  I often use the UC Statewide IPM program site for west coast pest management questions, the Michigan State University IPM site for midwestern issues, and New York State IPM site for New England and mid Atlantic information.  There are many other good sites, and when it comes to pest information, in general, local is better.

What is the bug I found on my blueberries/blackberries/grapes/strawberries/etc?
If you are in North Carolina
The Plant Disease and Insect Clinic at North Carolina State University provides both plant disease diagnostic and insect identification services.  This a fee based service, with lower fees for NC residents.  The agents at the Jones County Center have put together a great video describing how to collect a plant or insect sample for diagnosis.
I would add that if you are collecting a plant sample alone, these often are better preserved in a paper bag or cardboard container. If you are collecting an insect sample, a solid plastic container (not a plastic bag) is a better choice.  Some insects can chew their way out a paper bag but condensation inside of a plastic bag can damage samples.
If you are not in North Carolina
If the insect you found in your plants doesn't match the pest descriptions at any of the sites above, the internet is full of relatively good insect identification tools.  Two that I particularly like are BugGuide (which takes a little insect background to use really well) and the appropriately named What's That Bug?  This are both good tools if you don't have a clue what your critter is.  If you know what you found it on and what life stage it is, searching "blueberry caterpillar" for example, will often get you to your answer in a few clicks.
Update, June 2012
I've posted links to resources that describe how to take photos and collect samples of insects for diagnosis here. 

What can use to manage pests in my blueberries/blackberries/grapes/strawberries/etc?
"What do I spray to control..." is one of the most common questions I am asked.  I contribute to several North Carolina and regional resources which provide management recommendations for common insect pests of small fruits and specialty crops.
If you are in North Carolina
The North Carolina Agricultural Chemical Manual lists all recommended pesticides for management of common pests for nearly all crops grown in the state, not just small fruits.  This reference is updated annually.  In the next several years, we will be developing this resource into a more easily searchable tool.  The NC Agricultural Chemicals Manual generally only lists recommended management tools, which means that it may not include some materials are labeled on a crop but are not necessarily recommended.  To find all pesticides that are registered in a crop in North Carolina, you can search the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services pesticide database.
If you are in the southeast
The SRSFC publishes integrated pest management (IPM) guides for the small fruit crops grown throughout the region.  I prefer these guides to the NC Agricultural Chemical Manual because they contain much more information on pest biology and cover a broader area.
If you are not in the southeast
There are several online services that will search all registered pesticides on a specific crop.  My preferred site is Agrian's Label Lookup.  Using the advanced search function, you can specify your state and crop.  You can also search based on pest, but I haven't found this to be as useful.

Where can I find insect monitoring tools?
I purchase insect monitoring traps and lures from a number of sources, and by listing these here, I am not endorsing these specific vendors over others.  Great Lakes IPM carries a wide range of traps, monitoring supplies, and lures (pheromones and others). Suterra has a range of pheromone lures and traps as well as mating disruption based management tools.  ISCA Techonologies and Contech Enterprises, Inc. also carry many pheromone products and related traps.  

If you are interested in general insect collecting and curation supplies, Carolina Biological and BioQuip both carry the materials you'll need to get started.

Where can I find biological control agents?
Much as for insect monitoring tools, I am not specifically endorsing these suppliers of biological control agents.  Before purchasing any live insect or other biological control agent, be sure that it can be shipped to your state.  I have purchased biological control agents from both Rincon-Vitova (who also carry some insect sampling and monitoring tools) and from Koppert.  Koppert is in the eastern US (MI) and Rincon-Vitova in the west (CA), which may factor into your choices.  Consult with your local experts about which predators are more likely to be effective in your area and crops. 

This is far from an exhaustive list of questions and answers, and I will continue to add to it as I receive more "where do I find...?" questions.  Keep 'em coming!

1 comment:

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