Peppering: Fuller's Rose Weevil and Armoured Scale

Research publications concerning biodynamics
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Peppering: Fuller's Rose Weevil and Armoured Scale

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Rose Weevil and Armoured Scale in kiwifruit orchards

Kim Atkins 2006

Abstract
"Peppering" as a method of pest control, was a suggestion put forth by Rudolf
Steiner in the 1920's. Essentially, peppering is the process of burning the whole
insect pest and spreading over the treated area. This is supposed to interrupt the
reproduction process of the insect peppered, and discourage them from breeding
within the treatment area (Steiner, 1993). The effectiveness of peppering in the
control of Fuller Rose Weevil (FRW) and Armoured Scale in kiwifruit was investigated
in this study.

This research was conducted in the Tauranga - Te Puke area of the Bay of Plenty
region of New Zealand, and involved five orchards for the scale trial and six orchards
for the FRW trial. The respective peppers, provided by Garuda Biodynamics and
made in accordance with Steiner's guidelines, were applied via blast sprayer 4-6
times from October to March to one trial block per orchard; there also was a control
block within each orchard. Monitoring was conducted approximately every 28-days
starting in December and continued until June. For the Fuller's Rose weevil,
small tables were built and placed along the kiwifruit rows and monitored for egg
masses; for the scale, 408-leaves were collected from the control and treatment
blocks per sampling and examined for the presence of adult scale and crawlers.

The results of the peppering trial, showed a significant difference in the numbers of
FRW egg masses located on the tables provided in the treatment block, compared to
the control block in two orchards. Data from the other four orchards was not able to
be analysed due to an experimental design oversight. Thus no definitive conclusions
can be deduced from the findings of the FRW trial.

The analysis of the scale trial results showed that there had been a significant effect
on the numbers of adult scale with crawlers on a percentage basis, between the
treatment and control blocks. This result in theory could indicate an affect on the
reproductive cycle of the scale from the application of the scale pepper spray.

However, only two samplings were conducted after the appearance of the scale
crawlers, which left a limited amount of data on which to conduct the analysis.
While these initial trials indicate a potential for peppering as an alternative means of
pest control, it will require longer term trials on orchards, with proper control
measures basis, to confirm the effects of the application of a species specific pepper.

Peppering is not a procedure that can be rushed, and while some anecdotal
evidence has described miraculous results, it is more common for the effects to take
a more prolonged time to develop. Steiner (1993) and Thun (1990) both stated that it
could take up to four years for the full effects of the application of a specific pepper
spray to develop.