Maggot pests of onion can cause devastating crop losses, even when managed effectively with chemicals. Both onion maggot and seed corn maggot respond to conventional management, but the loss of effective treatments like chlorpyrifos and some emerging resistance necessitates the development of alternative, effective methods for controlling this prevalent pest of onion. The goal with those projects will generate effective management practices using beneficial nematodes to control maggot pests of onion that enhance and are compatible with existing control methods.

For this project, we have been fortunate enough to establish a collaboration with Jacobson Farms in Fulton, New York. Out at the O’Connor Onion Muck, we are testing the efficacy and persistence of EPNs in a real-world setting.

Onion Fly

Confirmed presence of Onion Fly in the field

Plots in the muck will be treated with a combination of two nematode species S. feltiae and H. bacteriophora. Over the course of the field season, mortality counts will be periodically taken with in the treated plots, as well as from the control plots. Soil sampling will also be periodically done to monitor and archive the soil contents before, during, and after the experiment.

Initial results are promising. Look forward to more interesting developments!