Dr. Smitley will discuss the benefits of landscape design and maintenance practices that increase the density and diversity of flowers, as well as protect pollinators, predators and parasitoids. The same practices that enhance and protect pollinators also protect beneficial insects that keep pest species under control. One exception are some exotic pests that lack efficient predators and parasitoids. Strategies will be given for dealing with those pests in a way that will minimize the impact on beneficial insects.
Michigan State University
Dr. Smitley works closely with the turfgrass, nursery and floriculture industries on identifying and solving insect pest problems, including best management practices for growers and landscapers. Basic and applied research is followed with extension recommendations for growers. In 1991, Dr. Smitley worked with Dr. Bauer to introduce Entomophaga maimaiga, a natural fungal pathogen of gypsy moth, into Michigan. E. maimaiga is now widespread throughout the state and is helping to suppress gypsy moth. In the last 10 years, research on emerald borer led to the development of new management strategies, including trunk injection of emamectin benzoate (TREEäge) to protect individual trees. Dr. Smitley also introduced Ovavesicula popilliae, a natural pathogen of Japanese beetle, into Michigan to help suppress populations of Japanese beetle. Research continues on the long-term impact of O. popilliae on Japanese beetle. At this time the Smitley lab is working on the development of new strategies for pest management in turfgrass, nurseries and greenhouses, and on evaluating the cost/benefit of neonicotinoid insecticides, including the potential impact on pollinators in the yard and garden. Several publications are now available on how to encourage and protect pollinators in the yard and garden.