LEDs for Managing Pest Insects in Greenhouses Phase II
Department of Agriculture
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Small Business Information
ORBITAL TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION
Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive, Madison, WI, -
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractPlant-eating insect pests cause significant economic loss in commercial greenhouse growing operations, sometimes amounting to tens of thousands of dollars per hectare. Insects as a vector of plant pathogens also rank very high on the problem list for greenhouse/hothouse growers. Efficiently managing pests requires an array of complementary methods including traps and other physical methods, biological controls, and plant culture management to prevent economic losses and reduce the use of pesticides. Although host utilization by insects is broadly dictated by factors such as host species, season, plant nutrition, and water status, many insects that are significant economic pests in greenhouses, including thrips, aphids, and whiteflies use vision as a primary cue to orient to their hosts. Orbital Technology Corporation has devised a strategy to enhance or disrupt these visual cues. Modification of visual cues can be used in two ways to protect crop plants, either as a mechanism to attract insects to traps or "decoy" plants, or to repel insects by interrupting the sequence that begins with their orientation to the plant from a distance and ends with establishment on the plant. Modification of insect visual cue recognition can be used as a new tool in a grower's IPM program. The objectives of the proposed project is to identify visual cue modifiers that: (1) reduce predation of protected agriculture crops; (2) increase attraction to decoy crops; (3) enhance the attraction to physical traps (i.e., sticky cards); or (4) any combination of the above, while not disrupting beneficial insects or plant growth. If these methods can be configured to help reduce insect damage and insect-related vectored diseases in greenhouses, these systems may become an important component of the grower's IPM program, and could help to reduce the annual per hectare costs of greenhouse pest control.
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