Watermelons are hard notoriously to pollinate. But pollination is not their only problem; they can also experience reduced yield from pest damage. This week we hear from Jacob Pecenka, a PhD candidate at Purdue Universtity, from who tells us about the trade-offs from managing pests and loosing pollination and how Integrated Pest Management can provide an excellent way to navigate these trade-offs.

Jacob grew up in South Dakota, where agriculture was never too far away. He started his PhD in the Entomology Department in 2017. His research examines how the insecticide inputs change agricultural cropping systems. Specifically he is looking at pest/pollinator dynamics in Indiana watermelon production and how insecticides in the melons, as well as adjacent crops, alter pest insects, beneficial pollinators, and ultimately the yield and profitability of these operations. When not stomping through melon fields in a bee suit he fills his time visiting Indiana’s many state parks with my trusty dog Thea.

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Links Mentioned:

IPM Revisited: A Cost-effective Solution for Balancing Pest and Pollinator Management (Jacob Pecenka, October 24, 2018)

Jacob’s Book Recommendation: The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees (Wilson and Carril, 2015)

Go to tool: Bee vacuum

Favorite Pollinator:  Melissodes bimaculatus

2 thoughts on “102 – Jacob Pecenka – Watermelons, pests and pollination

  1. You’re embarrassing your university by failing to copy edit your articles. Jacob Pacenta is a phd candidate at Purdue University, not PERDUE.

    • Thanks John. We caught this error last night before posting, but it clearly wasn’t saved. The mistake has been corrected.


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