Reduced-risk pest management programs for eastern U.S. apple and peach orchards: A 4-year regional project

A. M. Agnello, A. Atanassov, J. C. Bergh, D. J. Biddinger, L. J. Gut, M. J. Haas, J. K. Harper, H. W. Hogmire, L. A. Hull, L. F. Kime, G. Krawczyk, P. S. McGhee, J. P. Nyrop, W. H. Reissig, P. W. Shearer, R. W. Straub, R. T. Villanueva, J. F. Walgenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Studies were conducted from 2002 to 2005 to determine the effectiveness of reduced-risk (RR) tactics for managing key pests in 50 commercial apple orchards (114 ha) in Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia; and 20 peach orchards (190 ha) in Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. At each apple site, a block of up to 5 ha received a seasonal program of selective RR and organophosphate-replacement insecticides, with or without pheromones for mating disruption of key lepidopteran pests of apple (codling moth, oriental fruit moth, and obliquebanded leafroller) and peach (oriental fruit moth, lesser peachtree borer, and peachtree borer). A comparison block at each site with the same varieties and tree training was managed using each grower's standard program of conventional insecticides (STD). Pheromone traps for lepidopteran species were hung in all plots and monitored weekly. Foliar samples were taken during the season to estimate phytophagous and predator mite densities. Red sphere traps baited with fruit volatiles were used to monitor apple maggot adults in apple orchards. Fruits were inspected for insect damage at harvest, and graded according to USDA standards. Partial budget analysis was used to assess the net profitability of RR programs to produce apples and peaches for their intended market in each state. Fruit damage at harvest caused by direct fruit pests was generally low across all blocks and treatments. There were no statistically significant differences in fruit damage or mite populations between the RR blocks, with or without pheromones, and the growers' standards. Insecticide use patterns in the RR plots represented up to 88 and 78% reduction in the amount of active ingredient applied per hectare, and an 85 and 77% decrease in their Environmental Impact Quotient for apples and peaches, respectively. However, RR programs were more expensive and generally less profitable compared with growers' standard programs. Regression analysis estimated that RR apple programs with and without mating disruption were on average $465 and $144/ha more expensive, and $544 and $159/ha less profitable, respectively, compared with standard programs. RR+MD programs for peaches cost an average $314/ha more and returned about $284/ha less than STD peach programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-197
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Entomologist
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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