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When Ignorance Is Not Bliss: Pest Control Decisions Involving Beneficial Insects

  • Grogan, Kelly A.
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    Recent survey data revealed that many California citrus growers did not know whether or not important beneficial insects were found on their fields while other growers were relying heavily or even entirely on these insects for pest control. Some pesticides are toxic both to the targeted pest and the predaceous or parasitic insect that could provide pest control. Alternative pesticides with fewer or no negative effects on the beneficial insect often exist but can be more expensive. Additionally, some beneficial insects are commercially available and can be purchased and released in the field. This paper models the pest control decisions of a grower who optimally utilizes a pesticide and a predaceous insect to control the crop pest and compares these decisions to that of a grower who does not know that the predaceous insect exists. The results show that the latter grower will drive the predator population to zero and will overutilize chemical control. The optimal decisions involve entirely mitigating the negative effects of the pesticide as well as releasing additional predators.

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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/149610
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    Paper provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its series 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. with number 149610.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea13:149610
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    1. Sara K. Schumacher & Thomas L. Marsh & Kimberly A. Williams, 2006. "Optimal pest control in greenhouse production of ornamental crops," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 34(1), pages 39-50, 01.
    2. Thomas L. Marsh & Ray G. Huffaker & Garrell E. Long, 2000. "Optimal Control of Vector-Virus-Plant Interactions: The Case of Potato Leafroll Virus Net Necrosis," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(3), pages 556-569.
    3. Cheryl Brown & Lori Lynch & David Zilberman, 2002. "The Economics of Controlling Insect-Transmitted Plant Diseases," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(2), pages 279-291.
    4. Plant, Richard E. & Mangel, Marc & Flynn, Lawrence E., 1985. "Multiseasonal management of an agricultural pest II: the economic optimization problem," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 45-61, March.
    5. Regev, Uri & Shalit, Haim & Gutierrez, A. P., 1983. "On the optimal allocation of pesticides with increasing resistance: The case of alfalfa weevil," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 86-100, March.
    6. Ceddia, M.G. & Heikkil, J. & Peltola, J., 2009. "Managing invasive alien species with professional and hobby farmers: Insights from ecological-economic modelling," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(5), pages 1366-1374, March.
    7. Harper, Carolyn R., 1991. "Predator-Prey Systems In Pest Management," Northeastern Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 20(1), April.
    8. Feder, G. & Regev, U., 1975. "Biological interactions and environmental effects in the economics of pest control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 75-91, December.
    9. Grogan, Kelly A. & Goodhue, Rachael E., 2012. "Spatial Externalities of Pest Control Decisions in the California Citrus Industry," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 37(1), April.
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