Michigan State University researchers have summed up the findings they have made thus far on asparagus miner, one of the asparagus industry's most economically damaging insect pests, in a new MSU Extension fact sheet.
The new fact sheet provides general information on the biology of asparagus miner and outlines options for controlling it. The fact sheet also details findings from research conducted by MSU assistant professor of entomology and MSU Extension specialist Zsofia Szendrei and Rob Morrison, a graduate student in her laboratory. Szendrei had been contacted by industry representatives from Michigan's $15 million asparagus industry about developing an integrated approach to managing the insect pest. With funding support from Project GREEEN (Generating Research and Extension to meet Economic and Environmental Needs), Michigan's plant agriculture initiative at MSU, and armed with recommendations from growers, the pair went to work at developing a degree-day model to help draw a connection between temperature and insect development.
The fact sheet – "Asparagus Miner," Extension Bulletin E-3143 – is available free of charge as a downloadable PDF from the MSU Extension Bookstore (www.bookstore.msue.msu.edu).
The asparagus miner is so named because of its ability to tunnel through asparagus stems and cause "mines," making the plant more vulnerable to disease. The mining is considered to be a cosmetic injury and affects the harvestable yield and marketing value of the asparagus crop. Since the miner is protected during the early stages of growth because it's located inside the asparagus stem, current registered insecticides are ineffective. Additionally, non-chemical control methods have never been developed for this species.
First introduced into North America from Europe in 1869, the asparagus miner completes two full generations each growing season in Michigan. Asparagus is the insect pest's only known host, and it has been documented in every county where there is commercial asparagus production in the state.
The asparagus miner fact sheet was produced with funding support from Project GREEEN, the C. S. Mott Foundation and MSU AgBioResearch.
For more information on Szendrei's asparagus miner research, visit www.vegetable.ent.msu.edu/.