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Welcome to the Wilson Lab in the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University where we explore questions related to the sustainable management of pest and beneficial arthropods in temperate orchard systems.

We study orchard arthropod communities, population dynamics, and trophic interactions as they respond to climate change and invasive species in the Great Lakes ecosystem. Our applied research and extension program uses the tools of chemical, behavioral, and landscape ecology, and phenological and environmental modeling to develop and improve IPM practices that are sustainable and climate-smart.  This includes practices to improve above and below ground biodiversity in support of biological control and running efficacy trials to test both conventional and organic pest management options that work for the Michigan tree fruit industry and for orchards in the Great Lakes region.

Current Research & Extension Projects

IPM of spotted wing drosophila (SWD) in tart cherries.

This project includes exploring attract and kill methods for management, a survey for native and exotic parasitoids, and rearing and release of the parasitoid Ganaspis brasiliensis in collaboration with the MSU Berry Crops Lab.

IPM of brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) in orchards.

This project includes trapping and behavioral studies of BMSB on apples and monitoring and augmentative releases of the parasitoid Trissolcus japonicus (with the Szucs Lab).

San Jose scale mating disruption (MD) in apple and sweet cherry orchards.

The goal of this project is to explore a pesticide alternative for a key apple pest that also affects a variety of cultivated and wild hosts. We are also interested in cascading effects of pheromone-mediated MD on beneficial insects that play a role in biological control.

Apple replant project at the MSU Clarksville Research Center.

The goal of this project is to evaluate pre-plant practices and a resistant rootstock to determine how those affect soil health and tree vigor in an experimental orchard renovation. This is a collaborative project with the Einhorn Lab (Horticulture), the Quintanilla Lab (Nematology), and the Sundin Lab (Plant Pathology).

Orchard resiliency and climate mitigation.

For this project, we are 1) evaluating native grasses in orchard row middles for increased carbon sequestration and better soil health, 2) evaluating pest management practices as they relate to carbon usage, and 3) using eddy covariance to measure greenhouse gas fluxes associated with orchards in Michigan.

Promoting pollinator stewardship in orchards.

This work includes translating what we have learned about wild and managed bees in orchard systems into promoting best practices for pollinator health and pollination services.