(fwd) New: Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control [ATTRA]
Lawrence F. London, Jr.
lflondon at mindspring.com
Thu Mar 1 23:03:49 EST 2001
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2001 15:30:01 -0600
Sender: Sustainable Agriculture Network Discussion Group
<SANET-MG at LISTS.IFAS.UFL.ED
Comments: Authenticated sender is <steved at ncatark.uark.edu>
From: Steve Diver <steved at NCATARK.UARK.EDU>
Subject: New: Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control [ATTRA]
Announcing this newly revised and expanded publication from
Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control [HTML]
Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control [PDF]
In a nutshell, this is a beautiful publication that summarizes a
practical way to attract beneficial insects to your farm. These
are the natural enemies (predators and parasites) of crop pests.
If you can attract them to your fields by raising cover crops or
flowers, they will work for you as biological control agents.
Kenny Haines, an organic vegetable farmer in North Carolina,
says that beneficial bugs like to congregate, socialize, "get
married" and have babies; like college students.
Well, if you're going to host a bug party and get these predators and
parasites to show up and battle those pesky insects that eat on your
tomatoes, you will need to provide habitat and shelter and food and
drinks. Extrafloral nectar -- provided by cover crops like faba
beans and buckwheat, oftentimes raised in windbreak-like field
strips -- is an especially popular drink among these beneficial bugs.
The Farmscaping publication itself is beautiful, because ATTRA has a
new copy machine that can publish materials in booklet format.
So you may want to order a print version for your library, or just
download the PDF version and print it off to create your own
booklet. The HTML version is web enhanced with indexes and
At the same time Rex Dufour, our IPM specialist, put a lot of
time and effort into compiling tables and resources and web links
that summarize what farmscaping is all about.
The introduction provides some terminology and concepts associated
with farmscaping. This is followed with ideas on cropping patterns
to take advantage of ecologically-based pest control; for example,
how to use cover crops, trap crops, hedgerows and mulches.
There is also a section on birds and bats as insect predators, with
ideas and resources on housing.
In addition, there are sections on federal cost share programs for
habitat development; useful contacts and information on farmscaping;
websites; literature citations for additional reading; and books on
farmscaping, biological control and IPM.
Finally, the Appendices contain detailed tables on beneficial
insects, insectary plants, pests that can be controlled, seed blends
and seed sources, etc.
Appendix A: Plants that Attract Beneficials
Appendix B: Pests and Associated Beneficial Insects
Appendix C: Seed Blends, Plants and Sprays to Attract Beneficial
Appendix D: Examples of Farmscaping
Appendix E: Hedgerow Installation and Maintenance Cost Estimates
Appendix F: Sample Flowering Period Chart
Appendix G: Farmscaping Practices Defined
Here I would like to expand on the importance of farmscaping, and
why it can be viewed as a fundamental approach to ecologically-based
In other words, before you pull out the remedial pest control
sprays -- the soaps and oils and botanical insecticides -- what can
you do to get these beneficial insects to work for you and enhance
natural biological control on the farm?
A few years ago, Rincon-Vitova put out an information leaflet called
"Rincon-Vitova 5-Point Integrated Pest Control" that summarized
this approach in a nutshell.
Ricon-Vitova is the biological insectary company in California
established by Dr. Everett Dietrick, the biocontrol pioneer from
University of California.
Rincon-Vitova 5-Point Integrated Pest Control.
1. Colonizing Beneficial Organisms
Use insectary-raised beneficials selectively to help restore the
natural enemy complex damaged by pesticide use.
2. Cover Crop Refuges
Plant strips of pesticide-free trap cover crops as a field insectary
and winter refuge for beneficials.
Sample (with nets or vacuums) and observe the relative number of
pests and beneficials.
Do not spray if there is no pest problem! Use "soft" pesticides that
are less disruptive to natural biological controls.
5. Cultural Practices
Slight changes in farming methods can alter the behavior of pests and
their natural enemies to favor the crop. Crop rotation, hedgerows,
strip cutting, and other refuge management techniques do make a
Interestingly, this 5-point plan originated with a paper titled
"The Five Features of IPM", written by Everett J. Dietrick in
If you look at these five points, you will notice that two of the
five points deal in some way or another with farmscaping. Thus,
raising insectary plants and manipulating habitat for beneficial
insects is basic to Biointensive IPM.
Dr. Miguel Altierri, another biocontrol pioneer with the University
of California, uses the terms Associated Biodiversity and Planned
ASSOCIATED BIODIVERSITY -- Biodiversity of surrounding environment
PLANNED BIODIVERSTY -- Agroecosystem management
In a paper titled "The Ecological Role of Biodiversity in
Agroecosystems" [Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment,
74 (1991): 19-31], he summarizes the components, functions,
and enhancement strategies of biodiversity in agroecosystems.
COMPONENTS (predators and parasites, earthworms, soil microflora)
FUNCTIONS (nutrient cycling, decomposition, predation, disease
ENHANCEMENT STRATEGIES (intercropping, agroforestry,
rotations, cover crops, composting, green manuring, organic matter
In other words, Planned Biodiversity can be facilitated through
Enhancement Strategies..... such as farmscaping.
Author: Rex Dufour
Date: December 2000
Title: Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control
Who: Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas,
What: Pest Management Series
Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA)
P.O. Box 3657
Fayetteville, AR 72702
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