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  • Diversity and Refugia
    that are difficult to keep out It evolved this way so that now when a new pest invades a monoculture environment farmers have no biological options They have to spray The poison destroys all existing beneficial organisms that provide biological control of all other pests Minor secondary pests become major problems and lead to a dependence on the pesticide treadmill Total chemical pest management breeds resistance to all pesticides and disastrous consequences of super pests such as resistant sweet potato whitefly leafminers aphids etc Resistant medfly may become the next disaster when eradication fails and this pest becomes firmly established Individual farmers can overcome pesticide resistance using the principle of diversity By diversifying crop selection cover cropping and providing permanent refuges for natural enemies immigrating pests and their sets of beneficial natural enemies including pollinators can be kept on their farms Relatively small areas on the farm can be cost effectively planted and managed to provide a favorable environment for beneficial insects and their hosts Edges and corners of fields can be utilized along with limited use of border strips of diverse species of cover crops These unsprayed cover crop plantings along with resident weeds are more than just shade and ground cover They provide nectar pollen and plant material that a tracts many diverse sets of plant feeding insects which are the prey for many many more sets of predators and parasites Today managing this resource on your farm has actually become a necessity Augmentation of insectary reared beneficials in market crops are more cost effective on farms with diversity You can manage with lower numbers of these key species when you are supplementing the resources of hundreds of species of natural enemies for which there is no other source except natural diversity on the farm REFUGIA In a world where all irrigated crops are grown for market there is no nonsprayed permanent sanctuary for insects anymore The majority of all crops are grown for market and therefore managed totally with chemicals Since there are no permanent unsprayed irrigated crops to sustain natural biological control when chemically resistant and immigrant pests come in farmers have no choice but to keep spraying Farmers interested in a transition from conventional pesticides to alternative biological control must create some diversity and provide refugia that keep beneficials on the land Planting refugia is necessary for biological control on farms coming out of monoculture cropping and reliance on chemical pesticides Refugia can be used to protect individual fields as well as the whole farm Refugia help keep migrating insects out of the market crops generating larger numbers of predators at no cost or damage to market produce quality Refugia can buffer the impact of insect migrations from the foothills when native plants mature and dry up Refugia are not market crops and therefore no limits are placed upon heavy populations of plant feeding insect pests feeding on those plants The plant feeding insects are valuable prey for growing predators and parasites such as ladybugs

    Original URL path: (2016-04-30)
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