Sustainable pest management solutions
Sponsored by Bayer
Bayer Hawaii uses a wide range of tools and methods to care for its crops and farms for the long term. One of those methods is Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
Integrated Pest Management is a long-term system that tries to control and prevent pest impacts in crops. The system of integrated pest management follows the same ideas if you were to use it in your house or yard. Bayer’s IPM program makes use of various types of traps, biological control, cultural control, and pesticides as a last resort. It’s about the best way to limit pest damage safely and economically. It includes proper pest identification and considers a pest’s biology and other environmental factors.
The goal of the IPM program is to establish healthy soils and healthy crops by implementing treatments for pest management in the most sustainable way possible. Some of the tools used to take care of farms at Bayer include:
– Using crop rotation and other soil management practices.
– Netting to protect plants in the same way that window screens keep insects out of homes.
– Sticky traps to capture flying pests, similar to fly paper or roach traps.
– Planting cover crops like oats, sunflowers, cowpeas and buckwheat to keep our soil healthy and reduce insects and diseases that could affect future crops. Cover crops also suppress weeds and attract beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, help protect fields from unwanted pests.
– Scouting to see what kinds of pests exist in the fields and if they are reaching economic thresholds.
– Consulting with local advisers or specialists on a regular basis.
Many insects provide important products and services that benefit humans, such as pollination, honey, and beeswax. Other insects are beneficial because they specialize in controlling other insects, some of which are considered pests because they attack the crops grown for food.
Some examples of agricultural pests are caterpillars, some moths, mealybugs, and leafhoppers. Pests damage plants by feeding on leaves or harvestable products, while others cause damage by transmitting viruses that make plants sick. On the other hand, some examples of beneficial insects that control insect pests of crops include ladybugs, pirate bugs, green lacewings, assassin bugs, praying mantids and the Monarch butterfly.
A few years ago, Bayer implemented a program to restore pollinator habitats across all of its farms on Oahu, Maui and Molokai by planting crown flower in an effort to increase the butterfly’s milkweed habitat and protect biodiversity. Today, more than 500 crown flower (Calotropis gigantea) plants can be found throughout Bayer farms, which have become havens for the monarch butterfly. Bayer has also partnered with local organizations like Sharing the Butterfly Experience to educate and generate awareness in monarch butterfly populations in Hawaii.