A Remedy For Insect And Bird Pests: Fine-Mesh Netting Canopies For Use In Direct To Market And You-Pick Berries

Grants and Contracts Details


A multi-disciplinary team of researchers in the Departments of Entomology (Gonthier) and Agricultural Economics (Woods) at the University of Kentucky will evaluate an alternative pest control practice that simultaneously deters birds, scarab beetle pests, and Spotted-wing Drosophila in four small- to mid-sized blackberry operations. The project will assess the pest control potential and economic profitability of installing canopy-scale fine-mesh exclusion netting (ExcludeNet with mesh holes 0.85mm by 1.40mm) compared to organic and conventional insecticide treated controls. This netting has advantages over traditional exclusion materials such as, heat dissipation, high strength and longevity and water permeable. Our preliminary research shows that this netting reduces birds, scarab beetles, SWD, or other pests in blackberry and blueberry. Further, given that some growers already use netting to exclude pest birds, we believe it is highly feasible and economical for these farms to substitute fine-mesh netting for bird netting. By drawing a fine-mesh net over permanent support beams in a full canopy exclosure, an entire acre or more of berries can be protected together without the use of insecticides. However, most research experiments to date have been conducted on small scale plots (individual plants or rows) that do not mimic how a working farm would implement netting in the real world. There is a need to assess the effectiveness, feasibility, and economic costs and benefits associated with larger full canopy exclosures to determine the profitability of larger scale implementation.
Effective start/end date12/1/209/29/23


  • KY Department of Agriculture: $49,972.00


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