Urban Agriculture (New Mexico)
Coordinated by Ashley Bennett (abb@nmsu.edu),
Assistant Professor of Entomology, Plant Pathology, & Weed Science, 
New Mexico State University

Background

The arid climate makes landscaping and gardening a challenge in New Mexico. In order for landscapes and gardens to flourish, stakeholders must overcome poor soil quality, high temperatures, little water, and a range of insect pests. Despite these obstacles, the economic impact of the green industry in New Mexico is $975 million, highlighting the interest New Mexico residents have in landscaping. Urban residents are a large stakeholder group in New Mexico, and IPM outreach and education that targets garden and landscape pests has the potential to significantly impact awareness and adoption of IPM practices.

urban vegetable garden


Objective

An iPiPE CPP program targeting urban agriculture (community and backyard gardens) and ornamental landscapes for pest and beneficial insect monitoring will foster collaboration between NMSU extension and urban stakeholders. Goals for the New Mexico State iPiPE CPP program include: 1) recruiting Master Gardeners to participate in beneficial insect and pest monitoring and reporting, 2) creating new management guidelines for conserving beneficial insects and managing pests in urban landscapes, and 3) providing hands-on experience for undergraduate students in the areas of research methods, extension IPM, and insect diagnostics.want timely and accurate pest management information to better inform their IPM decision-making. 

Situation

Many insect pests urban stakeholders struggle to control in New Mexico have a broad host range. Ornamental landscape pests can include insects such as scales and bagworm while common garden pests include aphids and grasshoppers. Many of these pests can be suppressed using conservation biological control strategies, but awareness and adoption of this IPM practice is low. The goal of conservation biological control is to manipulate the landscape to favor and augment existing natural enemy populations, resulting in improved natural pest suppression and reduced reliance on chemical controls. One conservation biological control strategy often recommended to encourage natural enemies is increased floral resources, which also benefits native pollinators. Native pollinators, bees in particular, provide valuable pollination services to backyard and community gardens as well as native plants in urban natural areas. Unfortunately, many pollinator populations are in decline threatened from habitat loss, chemical use, as well as pests and diseases. 

Target Beneficial Organisms and Target Pests


Target beneficial organisms: Coccinellid beetles, syrphid flies, parasitic wasps, and bumble bees. 
Target pest: Grasshopper.

Bumble bee
Bumble bee, David Cappaert, Bugwood.org


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