Mathematical Methods for Monitoring and Controlling Mite Infestations in Apple Orchards

Various species of mites pose significant challenges for apple growers worldwide. In order to control the mite infestations, miticides can be sprayed or predators can be introduced. The latter option leads to a complex ecology characterized by predator-prey relationships. Multiple species, with varying behaviours, give rise to complex population dynamics that must be better understood if apple growers are to prevent damage to their orchards effectively. Thus, the main objective of this internship research project is to develop effective control strategies based on a comprehensive model for mite dynamics in an orchard, such as ground cover management, use of pesticides compatible with biological control or conservation of predators. This work will be done in collaboration with Wildwood Labs, an independent research and consulting firm that also provides diagnostic and technology services in the areas of apiculture, entomology and integrated pest management. Previous research and data sets collected at the Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre will be drawn upon to develop the model.

Rebecca Hammond
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Holger Teismann
Nova Scotia