Chapter 12

Insect Pest Management for Organic Crops

(book excerpts)

Insect pest management presents a challenge to organic farmers. Insects are highly mobile and well adapted to farm production systems and insect pest control tactics. No single tactic, employed alone, is likely to give satisfactory control of chronic insect pests. Certified organic farmers can use a wide range of practices to create an integrated pest management approach that complies with the standards of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP). According to the National Organic Standards, insect pest problems may be controlled through cultural, mechanical, or physical methods; augmentation or introduction of predators or parasites of the insect pest species; development of habitat for natural enemies of insect pests; and non-synthetic controls, such as lures, traps, and repellents. When these practices are insufficient to prevent or control insect crop pests, a biological, botanical, or chemical material or substance included on the National List of non-synthetic and synthetic substances is allowed for use in organic crop production to prevent, suppress, or control insect pests. The conditions for using these materials must be documented in the organic system plan.

Click on the following topics for more information on insect pest management.

Topics Within This Chapter:

  • Biology of Insects
  • Insect Growth and Development
  • Insect Seasonal Cycles
  • Insect Feeding
  • Mites
  • Cultural Control of Insect Pests
  • Host Plant Resistance to Insect Pests
  • Effects of Tillage on Insect Pest Management
  • Adjust Crop Planting to Disrupt Pest Habitat
  • Planting Dates
  • Harvest Dates
  • Spacing and Seeding Rates for Controlling Insect Pests
  • Managing Soil Fertility to Minimize Insect Pests
  • Effects of Too Much Nitrogen
  • Managing Irrigation to Control Insect Pests
  • Sanitation in Controlling Insect Pests
  • Managing Insect Pests through Farm Biodiversity
  • Management of Insect Pests with Crop Rotations
  • Management of Insect Pests with Intercropping
  • Management of Insect Pests with Cover Cropping
  • Management of Insect Pests with Genotypic Diversity
  • Insectary Plantings for Management of Insect Pests
  • Insectary Plants
  • Selecting Insectary Plants
  • Timing of Insectary Plantings
  • Types of Insectary Plantings
  • Management of Insect Pests with Trap Crops
  • Design and Arrangment of Trap Crops
  • Management Strategies for Trap Crops
  • Examples of Trap Cropping
  • Biological Contol of Insect Pests
  • Types of Natural Enemies for Biological Control
  • Predators
  • Parasitoids
  • Pathogens
  • General Approaches to Biological Control
  • Augmentation of Natural Enemies
  • Conservation of Natural Enemies
  • Importation of Natural Enemies
  • Microbials for Controlling Insect Pests
  • Bacteria
  • Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)
  • Spinosad
  • Fungi
  • Beauveria bassiana
  • Trichoderma harzianum
  • Application
  • Viruses
  • Cydia Pomonella Granulosis
  • Application
  • Nematodes
  • Nematode Species
  • Application
  • Botanicals for Controlling Insect Pests
  • Neem
  • Types of Insect Pests Controlled
  • Application
  • Pyrethrum
  • Types of Insect Pests Controlled
  • Application
  • Ryania
  • Sabadilla
  • Rotenone
  • Spray Oils for Controlling Insect Pests
  • Mode of Action
  • Types of Insect Pests Controlled
  • Application
  • Insecticidal Soaps for Controlling Insect Pests
  • Application
  • Minerals for Controlling Insect Pests
  • Sulfur
  • Application
  • Kaolin Clay
  • Application
  • Diatomaceous Earth
  • Pheromones for Controlling Insect Pests
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Insect Pheromones
  • Current Uses to Control Insects with Pheromones
  • References