BARRIGADA, Guam—The University of Guam recently completed a Conservation Innovation Grant titled "Development implementation and economic evaluation of sustainable insect management approaches to control the mites on eggplant." CIG’s are administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a federal agency of the United States Department of Agriculture.
The goal of this CIG was to find a biological and biochemical control for the Tetranychus marianae spider mite on eggplant. The current practice of spraying insecticides 12 times per crop may cause undesirable offsite impacts as well as lead to pest resistance. This project also had an educational component which included production of a video to be distributed to farmers, growers and the public; develop demonstration plots for Integrated Pest Management growers; and hold workshops for agencies and the general public that deal with all aspects of the IPM practices
For this project, plots were set up at the Yigo and Inarajan Agricultural Experiment Stations in Guam and evaluated in dry and rainy seasons. After each eggplant plot had been populated with the spider mites three alternative treatments were applied. The best control resulted with the predatory mite, petroleum spray combination. In addition, this project established the first economic threshold level for spider mite on eggplant for Guam. The economic threshold levels findings were four and eight mites per leaf in the dry and rainy season respectively.
"We are excited to have this information and hope that other eggplant growers will find this to be useful," stated Carlos Suarez, acting director for the Pacific Islands Area.
For more information about the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Conservation Innovation Grant, visit www.pia.nrcs.usda.gov. (NRCS)