Strawberry Growers Lean on Biologicals to Manage Pest
By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor
California Ag Today recently met with Surendra Dara, a UC Cooperative Extension entomologist based in San Luis Obispo County. According to Dara, California strawberry growers follow many sustainable options.
“Growers are well-educated and have a support system that provides information to them very regularly,” Dara said.
Growers try to apply as much of the IPMs as possible, but there is always a lot more scope in terms of using non-chemical alternatives. That is an area that has room to grow.
“The more we know about the options and their potential, they can be more adopted,” Dara said.
He explained that the strawberry growers often lean on biological insects such as beneficial mites that treat those damaging insects. It’s all part of IPM.
The insects are used outdoors along with in greenhouses.
“A bio-control is very well done in strawberries for mite control, but we do not have similar natural enemies for other pests,” Dara said.
There are botanical and microbial options for pest and disease management, and a lot of work is being done about understanding how they work and placing them in the right strategy.
“So, there is definitely plenty of options for us,” Dara said.