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Pest Management

Integrated pest management for small farmers is a lifelong learning process. Crop and pest dynamics are always changing. Key habits to adopt are good diagnosis and identification of pest problems, develop a monitoring program for key pests, and focus on long-term management solution or pest suppression practices. The following are key resources to aid small farmers in decision-making and managing pest problems.  Additional categories of resources are available at left including small fruit, tree fruit, vegetables, and weeds.

PNW Insect, Disease and Weed Management Handbooks – This handbook series is an excellent resource for learning which pests are key problems for the different cropping systems. It is an excellent tool to begin to identify which pests are important to your farm. The handbooks are updated annually to offer best recommendations for pest management. Often cultural and physical controls accompany the pesticide recommendations. Products labeled for organic use are included.

HortSense – While this resource is intended for home gardeners and landscape professionals, HortSense is an excellent resource to learn about common pest problems for vegetables, tree fruit and small fruit in Washington State. Pesticide recommendations are given but are often accompanied by cultural and physical control options.

PNW544 – Using Entomopathogenic Nematodes for Crop Insect Pest Control. This is an excellent publication for understanding the benefits of using nematodes to target some pest problems. This is a resource to use to match effective nematodes with your pest problem. Use recommendations are provided.

EM067E – Beneficial Insects, Spiders, and Other Mini-Creatures in your Garden. This bulletin will help you identify, recruit and conserve key beneficial organisms in a small scale, useful for small farmers.

PNW649 – Natural Insecticides. This publication provides general information on the categories of natural insecticides that are effective for managing insect pests in the Pacific Northwest. Also included are more detailed descriptions of the most commonly used natural insecticide products.

FS128E – Organic Fungicides for the Home Garden. This publication provides information on organic fungicide types and their effectiveness against diseases common in the Pacific Northwest. While this publication is intended for home gardeners, the products are similar to those available for commercial organic agriculture. Farmers will also have more options available to use.

PNW627 – Meadow Voles and Pocket Gophers: Management in Lawns, Gardens, and Cropland. Meadow voles and pocket gophers cause significant damage to rangeland, alfalfa, pastures, and other agricultural crops.

FS094E – Pests: Vole Management in Home Backyards and Gardens. This publication is a review of recognizing and managing voles.

FS146E – Mole Management in Washington Backyards. Damage caused by moles primarily comes from their tunneling and displacing of dirt. Dirt mounds can smother small landscape plants. Tunnels can unearth plant roots, which dry out, or allow rodents (such as voles and mice) access to gnaw on them. Tunnels can also unearth shallow underground irrigation systems and cover sprinkler heads.

FS122E – Neonicontinoid Pesticides and Honey Bees. Neonicotinoids are a class of pesticide that has become popular recently because of their relative safety and effectiveness. However, “neonics” as they are nicknamed, may have a possible role in the rise of Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon in which whole colonies of honey bees suddenly die or disappear.

FS174E – Pollination and Protecting Bees and Other Pollinators. Pollination is a critical process that most plants need to set seeds and produce fruit. Understanding pollination ecology is important for both commercial growers and home gardeners.

FS017E – Protecting Honeybees Against Yellowjackets. Yellowjackets are usually considered beneficial insects because they kill many pest insects and feed them to their larvae. However, some species can attack honeybee adults and larvae.

EM9119 – Integrating Integrated Pest Management (video). This 4 min video explores Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as an approach to protecting your crop from insects, weeds and plant pathogens. IPM uses multiple tactics to manage a particular pest and takes into consideration how management of one pest may affect management of other pests.