Conservation Biological Control in Hemp Invertebrate Pest Management

Project: Research

Project Details


In Integrated Pest Management, the ultimate aim is to maintain an agricultural system in balance, where pests are maintained below an economic threshold with minimal effort (Wilson et al 2018). This balance requires that the agronomy, cultural practices, and environmental conditions support pest management by reducing the suitability of the crop for pest proliferation. It also requires that pest control methods are complimentary to each other rather than disruptive. In this scenario, broad spectrum insecticides are avoided because they disrupt other pest control methods, particularly the use of biological controls, and can trigger the explosion of pests (Trichilo and Wilson 1993).
Within the Hemp industry, Conservation Biological Control is recognized as a useful tool within an IPM framework, but it has been difficult to engage because little is known about the extent to which hemp supports an active beneficial community, and the economic thresholds of key pests in hemp, including the factors that alter those thresholds.
This work will identify the key invertebrate players in the hemp community, and document how they differ between sites around Australia. This will identify where predator /prey information is applicable to a range of sites, and where it is site specific. It will also identify the economic injury level, and the economic threshold of different pests, such as Rutherglen bugs and Helicoverpa, and what factors influence their economic threshold.
From a community ecology perspective, the project will identify if hemp communities can reduce damage, and address causes of latitudinal gradients in biodiversity.
Short titleHemp Pest Management
Effective start/end date1/06/2331/05/28