A perimeter trap crop barrier of hot cherry peppers, border-row insecticide applications, and a combination of the two management strategies were evaluated to see if they could protect a centrally located main crop of bell peppers from oviposition and infestation by the pepper maggot, Zonosemata electa (Say). In large plots, the main cash crop of bell peppers was protected from the majority of the oviposition and infestation by all three barriers. The combination sprayed/trap crop barrier provided the best protection against both oviposition and infestation and resulted in over 98% pest-free fruit at harvest. Maggots infested only 1.7% of the main crop fruit when protected by a sprayed or unsprayed trap crop barrier, compared with 15.4% in control plots. The perimeter sprayed/trap crop strategy was employed in three commercial fields in 2000 and 2001. The combination barrier resulted in superior insect control and reduced insecticide use at all commercial locations, compared with the same farms’ past history or to farms using conventional and integrated pest management (IPM) methods. Economic analysis showed that the technique is more cost effective and profitable than relying on whole-field insecticide applications to control the pepper maggot. Farmer users were surveyed and found the perimeter trap crop technique simple to use, with many hard-to-measure benefits associated with worker protection issues, marketing, personnel/management relations, pest control and the environment. Use of the perimeter trap crop technique as part of an IPM or organic program can help improve crop quality and overall farm profitability, while reducing pesticide use and the possibility of secondary pest outbreaks.
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Vol. 96 • No. 2