Most cranberry growers currently use chemical pest control methods, e.g., synthetic insecticides and bio-insecticides, to control the blackheaded fireworm (Rhopobota naevana).
This insect is a major cranberry pest that can cause crop losses of up to 95%. The insecticides currently authorized for use in organic farming provide inconsistent and limited effectiveness. Each year, the blackheaded fireworm is present in significant numbers, and repeated insecticide treatments are required to reduce their populations below the economic threshold for damage.
The fact that there is only one bio-insecticide (Entrust, Spinosad) registered for use by organic cranberry growers makes this crop especially vulnerable. Cranberry bog flooding is a method that was commonly employed to control cranberry pests prior to the development of synthetic insecticides. A 48-hour flooding at the end of May is still used to control the cranberry weevil.
In recent years, significant declines in blackheaded fireworm populations have been achieved with this practice. However, the reasons behind the success of spring flooding in controlling the blackheaded fireworm are poorly understood, with the result that the applications vary in efficacy.
From 2019 to 2022
Pest, weed, and disease control, Organic farming
This project will lead to a reduction in the use of insecticides in cranberry crops.
Club environnemental et technique Atocas Québec | Université du Québec à Montréal
This project will formulate multiple independent, but potentially synergistic, strategies to control Spotted Wing Drosophila.
Researcher: Annabelle Firlej
As part of this project, the soil water status at a chosen blueberry farm will be monitored at 40 spots over the course of the production year. We will seek to identify the relationship between water extraction, physicochemical and environmental factors, and yield levels that could help explain yield variability.
Researcher: Carl Boivin
This project tests cost-effective organic fertilization strategies for summer strawberries on plastic.
Researcher: Christine Landry