DEAR NEW FARM:
Is there an OMRI approved control for Harlequin bug?
Harlequin bug (of the stink bug or Pentatomidae family) adults
and nymphs suck sap from all parts of the plant above the
soil surface, causing yellow or white blotches to appear on
leaves. Infested plants eventually wild and die. The cabbage
family, squash, beans, peas, tomatoes, corn and peaches are
Mechanical controls include hand-picking adults and crushing
egg masses (as frequently as possible), controlling weeds
in susceptible crops, mowing weedy areas bordering areas under
cultivation, and thorough cleanup after harvest (adults overwinter
in weed and waste areas, particularly in more temperate zones).
As a last resort, sabadilla dust or Pyrethrum may be used.
OMRI (the Organic Materials Review Institute), www.omri.org,
lists several brand names for Pyrethrum (and extract of the
Pyrethrum daisy, Chrysanthemum cinerariifdolium) under “generic
crop products” but does not have any such listing for
sabadilla dust (an insect stomach poison derived from the
South American lily). Both substances are listed as restricted
in OMRI’s generic category in that they may be used
only within the context of a regulated biorotational pest
management plan. They may not be the primary method of pest
control in an organic system plan.
Section 205.206 of the federal Organic Rule underscores this
philosophy of using such biological or botanical agents as
a last resort “provided that the conditions for using
the substance are documented in the organic system plan”
only after other measures have failed to provide remedy. These
measures, which should also be part of the overall management
- Crop rotation and soil and crop nutrient management practices
- Sanitation measures to remove…habitat for pest organisms
- Cultural practices that enhance crop health, including
selection of plant species and varieties…resistant
to prevalent pests
- Introduction of predators
- Development of habitat for natural enemies of pests [in
the case of the harlequin bugs, parasitic wasps and flies,
which are attracted by planting small-flowered plants
- Nonsynthetic controls such as lures, traps, and repellants
- Weed suppression
The bottom line is that even “natural” pesticides
present hazards to the environment (including often killing
the “good bugs” with the “bad bugs”)
and to the farmer and should be used judiciously. Sound organic
practices are the best defense against pests and disease.
us with comments, suggestions and questions.