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31 October 2023 Hail netting excludes key insect pests and protects from fruit damage in a commercial Minnesota apple orchard
Sally G.A. Nelson, Annie E. Klodd, William D. Hutchison
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Exclusion netting in some European and North American apple (Malus domestica Borkhausen, Rosaceae, Rosales) orchards has been documented to be an effective method of control for multiple insect pest species. By minimizing reliance on insecticides, these orchards have reduced costs, risks to the environment and nontarget species, and reduced the risk of insecticide resistance. This study examined the use of commercially available hail netting (DrapeNet®; Prosser, WA) as a pest exclusion strategy under conditions in Minnesota, USA. In 2021 and 2022, we assessed the efficacy of hail netting as a tool for pest suppression in orchards by monitoring pest species in netted and open plots crossed with and without insecticide applications. Our findings show that both of the major pest species in Minnesota, the codling moth (Cydia pomonella L.; Lepidoptera:Tortricidae) and the apple maggot (Rhagoletis pomonellaWalsh; Diptera:Tephritidae), were significantly reduced inside the netting compared to open plots by 94% and 96%, respectively. For a secondary pest, the red-banded leafroller (Argyrotaenia velutinana Walker; Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), moth populations were reduced by 56%. We also found that insecticide application alone did not significantly reduce pest pressure in these species. Additionally, we investigated the subsequent effects of hail netting on fruit quality and yield. The use of hail netting and insecticide application resulted in significantly higher proportions of high-quality fruit at harvest. However, netting did not significantly influence yield.These findings suggest that hail netting can be used to control Midwest apple insect pests with limited insecticide applications while maintaining high fruit quality.

Sally G.A. Nelson, Annie E. Klodd, and William D. Hutchison "Hail netting excludes key insect pests and protects from fruit damage in a commercial Minnesota apple orchard," Journal of Economic Entomology 116(6), 2104-2115, (31 October 2023).
Received: 1 June 2023; Accepted: 16 October 2023; Published: 31 October 2023

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exclusion netting
fruit quality
physical control
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