Monday, August 5, 2013

Welcome to our 2,000 new friends at the farm!

Have you noticed the beans in the you-pick section a few weeks ago had many, many holes in the leaves? Well, WE did, and we found the culprit: the Mexican Bean Beetle. After a few weeks of hand picking them off the plants, we decided we needed to bring in extra help. So we called in 2,000 helping hands! Farm apprentice Emma did some research and found a good source for a natural predator:Pediobius foveolatus (Pediobius is pronounced “pee-dee-OH-bee-us”), a parasitic wasp. We ordered 2,000 from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and they arrived in the mail 24 hrs later. We released them at dusk on Friday night, as instructed. Don’t worry, these wasps are smaller than a fruit fly (1-3 mm) and can cause absolutely no harm to humans. The wasp lays its eggs in Mexican bean beetle larvae, then wasp larvae feed inside the bean beetle larva, kill it, and pupate inside it, forming a brownish case or ‘mummy’.  The wasps can travel a few miles, so perhaps we’ll be helping out any neighbors that may suffer from the same bean beetle pest!

No comments:

Post a Comment