Chemical ecologist Elvira Simone de Lange, a postdoctoral researcher in the Christian Nansen lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, has received a three-year $249,878 federal grant that involves using drones to detect the early infestation of spider mites, and then targeting the pests with biocontrol agents.
The grant is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program.
Her research project, “Unmanned Aerial System (UAS)-Guided Releases of Predatory Mites for Management of Spider Mites in Strawberry,” aims to identify “very subtle differences in reflectance of the strawberry canopy, indicating spider mite-induced stress,” she said. “Releasing predatory mites in these spider mite hotspots will increase their efficacy as biocontrol agents, enhancing sustainability of spider mite management practices in strawberry.”
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