Contarinia nasturtii (Kieffer) (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), a common insect pest in Europe and a new invasive pest in North America, causes severe damage to cruciferous crops. Currently, many counties in Canada and the United States in which C. nasturtii has not been previously reported are at risk of being infested by C. nasturtii. Effectiveness of chemical control is limited, especially under high population pressure in fields, because the cryptic habits of C. nasturtii protect them from insecticidal sprays. Alternative management strategies against C. nasturtii that are needed to protect crucifers and soil management for the pupal stage were studied as one option. Six different types of soils (loam fine sand, fine sand, clay loam, muck, Chenango shale loam, and silt loam soil) were collected from commercial cabbage fields in New York and studied in the laboratory for their impact on C. nasturtii pupation and emergence. The results indicated that extremely wet or dry soils significantly hindered C. nasturtii emergence, regardless of soil type, suggesting that soil type alone may not be a major factor regulating C. nasturtii abundance. Optimal moisture content for C. nasturtii emergence varied for different soils. Most C. nasturtii pupated within the top 1 cm of soil. Furthermore, we found that >5 cm of soil cover effectively reduced the emergence number and delayed the time of emergence. Based on these results, we suggest that soil manipulation (moisture content and cultivation practices) should be considered as an important component in an overall integrated pest management program for C. nasturtii.
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