Non chemical alternatives for pest management: Entomopathogenic nematodes and UV-C light
The primary objectives of this research are to determine effective biological and alternative control strategies of insect and disease pests in order to reduce harsh chemical use during greenhouse crop production and transport s. This research includes two separate studies: 1) testing the practical viability of rearing and storing four species of entomopathogenic nematode (EPN), Steinernema feltiae, Steinernema carpocapsae, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, Heterorhabditis indica; and, 2) the efficacy of UV-C radiation applied, pre-transport, as a preventative disease control strategy against Botrytis cinerea. A study was conducted testing EPN infectious juvenile (IJ) rearing production counts and IJ viability after a six-day storage period. When all four species are compared, S. feltiae had a greater number of infectious juveniles emerge from the wax moth cadavers and S. carpocasae had the least. All four species survived the six day storage period but EPN infectious juvenile counts were significantly different among species. Our second study tested the efficacy of UV-C radiation as an alternative control to traditional fungicides to deactivate B. cinerea in vitro and to determine plant tolerance to UV-C. The crops tested were poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) and primula (Primula vulgaris). All the UV-C doses, 1.0, 2.8, 3.7 or 4 W/m2, significantly decreased B. cinerea conidial germination in vitro and resulted in zero percent damage on poinsettia bracts. However, all UV-C doses during both replications caused minor damage, 15% or less, to primula flowers.