Agency: Department of Agriculture | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 53.00K | Year: 1995
Agency: Department of Agriculture | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 210.00K | Year: 1997
Pest management professionals in Florida are facing a severe new threat, Thrips palmi Karny, commonly known as the melon thrips. Because of its ability to defoliate plants and markedly reduce yields, broad host range, and the difficulty of chemical control, biological control systems must be found. T. palmi has continued to spread steadily after it was first discovered in the continental U.S. in 1990 by Glades Crop Care. The potential geographic range for this pest extends north well into Georgia and west to the Pacific Ocean, with infested areas already facing trade restrictions. There are currently critical gaps in the knowledge base and tools needed to control T. palmi reliably and affordably. The proposed Phase I research will address some of the most immediate needs: development of field detection, identification, and monitoring methods as well as finding alternative control techniques that somehow can be exploited. Phase II research will focus on elucidating methods to manage less destructive thrips species to crowd out the destructive and pesticide resistant T. palmi, identification of other biological control agents and organisms, and how to work them into south Florida production systems. Future efforts will also examine improved methods to gain some measure of control through the use of pesticides compatible with biological control systems.