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Agriculture | Life Sciences


Apple growers in Minnesota must control a variety of economically harmful insects. To combat these pests, farmers must weigh the benefits of chemically controlled strategies (arbitrary pesticide spraying) to those environmentally based (organic farming). I have found that a combination incorporating aspects of both methods (integrated pest management) is the most productive. Farms that use the two extremes are not productive. Pesticides are harmful to the environment, and cause crop depreciation. Results of a survey indicate organic farming/natural predation is not economically feasible in Minnesota. Parasitic insects have a narrow viable time frame for parasitism. Research I conducted on the oblique-banded leaf roller, a fruit boring insect, supports this claim. Due to the boring patterns exhibited by third instar larvae, natural predators can only come in contact with them during their first or second instar, before they enter the fruit. Pesticides must be used to combat these pests. A combination of integrated pest management, physiological research on parasitic and predatory insects and the use of natural predators is most economically viable.