Insect Ecology and Integrated Pest Management Lab, University of Hawaii at Manoa

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Frequently asked questions and their answers will be posted in this web page.

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Question: Can I import biological control agents from commercial suppliers on the mainland, to release in my crops every month?

Answer: You cannot do this without a permit from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. Usually, they require any consignments of biocontrol agents to go through quarantine with them, so regular imports of biocontrol agents are just not viable.


Question: What is a sequential sampling plan for pest scouting?

Answer: A sequential sampling plan is designed to provide good pest scouting decision-making data based on sample sizes that are determined largely by the density and variability of the pest you are sampling; a low density or high density will allow you to make a quick and accurate decision whether to apply an insecticide for example, if you have a sequential sampling plan for that pest and crop. This basically works by having the scout inspect plants for insects, and keeping a running tally on a form or graph. Depending on where the counts fall, you can decide after sampling relatively few plants (compared to fixed precision sampling plans). We have sequential sampling plans for coconut scale in bananas, and litchi moths in macadamia nuts. More are being developed for other crops.


Question: What are insecticidal oils and how do they work?

Answer: Insecticidal oils are useful component for IPM programs; they are by-products of petroleum distillation, and vary in levels of impurities present. Horticultural oils (or dormant oils) have quite high levels of impurities, and can cause phytotoxicity to plants under humid conditions, but can be very useful when used carefully. Summer oils are highly refined, and evaporate quickly. They are less likely to cause phytosanitary damage to plants. Insecticidal oils kill insects by smothering them. It is very important to ensure good coverage when spraying. Insecticidal oils are effective against many scale insects, whiteflies and similar pests. They are soft on beneficial insects. Remember to always read the label before using an insecticide.


Question: What can be done to control pests on organic papaya, bananas and macadamia nuts?

Answer: I am in the process of developing a whole page with information for organic growers - watch this space....


Question: I heard that the glassy winged sharpshooter (a really bad pest in California and other places) recently arrived in Hawaii - is there any danger of this insect attacking crops here?

Answer: There is indeed a concern that GWSS will move onto crops. These insects will eat almost anything green. Together with Rodrigo Almeida, I have a project on monitoring this insect in Hawaii. So far the problem does not seem to be taking off as dramatically as initially expected, because a parasite of the eggs is giving good biological control on O'ahu. But we must remain vigilant. A big worry is that Pierce's disease will arrive here, and we are putting a monitoring plan in place for this disease.


Question: Can perennial peanut be used as a ground cover in macadamia nut orchards, without increasing the risk of stinkbug damage?

Answer: We conducted greenhouse experiments, offering stink bugs perennial peanut as a food source. The bugs were able to survive on the plants, but seemed to have compromised development. They were unable to reproduce on the perennial peanut plants. It would seem that perennial peanut is a poor host for green stink bugs.


Question: What's happening with the erythrina gall wasps?

Answer: Together with Hawaii Department of Agriculture, we have conducted exploration work in Africa that has yielded a number of potentially useful biological control agents. There are currently three species being reared in captivity,


More coming...........

(Insect Ecology and IPM Home)

Udated on 1 August 2006