I spoke today about some biological control research that we are doing in my lab. The two aspects I discussed was, one was the evaluation of beneficial nematodes, what we call insect pathogenic nematodes for white grub management, and also, an evaluation of an idea of using peonies as attracting plants for the Spring Tiphia, which is a parasitic wasps on white grubs that we are planting there just to keep around . In my lab we are concentrating on aspects regarding biological control, which is really using beneficial organisms for pest management.
Two of the major tools, again, come down to nematodes, being one, beneficial nematodes, and the other one would be other parasites or predators that can attack white grubs, so one of them being the Spring Tiphia. In reality these organisms are really a part of a bigger set of tools that we wish to have for white grub management. Anything that you can use to prevent or kill them, that’s what we try to use, in terms of building a holistic approach, with many different tools: biological controls, cultural controls, and so on.
The goal for it is to have more biological control tools available to refine our knowledge or our understanding on how to best use them. We know the Spring Tiphia is out there, so what we need to know is what are the things we can do to promote this presence, what are the things we can do to make it easier for it to find these grubs. It’s really what we want them to do. We want them to attack those grubs and kill them to diminish the grub population. And in regard of the nematodes, again, it’s just a refinement of the knowledge we have, how to best use them, best time of application or the best rate. The goal is to increase our understanding and provide that to all the users in the state.