Insect Control

We are surrounded by the world of insects. Many are beneficial, even necessary for our survival. A few bad insects cause problems in agricultural crops, gardens, landscapes, and fruit trees. Therefore, as we strive to control the bad bugs we need to try to not wipe out the good bugs. There are a lot of predatory and parasitic insects and spiders that can do much of the control work without pesticide intervention. When we "spray early and spray often" we typically end up causing more problems than we solve.

The overall objective of any pest management program should be to not upset the balance of nature. With that in mind, some insect damage in our crops is acceptable. Economic threshold is the term used to describe when the damaged caused by pests is greater than the cost of pest control activities. When the economic threshold is reached then some control activity is warranted. However, an understanding of how control activities will affect beneficial insects and spiders needs to be taken into account.

Thus, the goal of a pest control program should be to help nature keep the damaging insect population under control,at the same time allowing the predatory and parasitic insect population to do its job. A basic tenet of nature is that the food source (damaging pests) must be in place before the consumers (predatory and parasitic insects) get the signal to increase their population. It is a wise idea to learn to identify many of the beneficial organisms and encourage their development.

The Utah State University Integrated Pest Management program provides information to help producers implement a balanced approach to pest management. Throughout the growing season a "Fruit Tree IPM Advisory" and a "Woody Ornamental IPM Advisory" is emailed to people who wish to be on the mailing list. The Advisory provides readers with information about spray timing for various locations and pests throughout the state. The advisory also has excellent pictures of pest damage and growth stages of fruit trees. Click on the links above to access the current and archived advisories. Feel free to download and read them or sign up to be on the mailing list.