Economics of reducing insecticide use on celery through low-input pest management strategies

  • Published source details Reitz S.R., Kund G.S., Carson W.G., Phillips P.A. & Trumble J.T. (1999) Economics of reducing insecticide use on celery through low-input pest management strategies. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 73, 185-197.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use pesticides only when pests or crop damage reach threshold levels

Action Link
Natural Pest Control
  1. Use pesticides only when pests or crop damage reach threshold levels

    A randomised, replicated, controlled study in 1994-1997 in California, USA (Reitz et al. 1999) found pest damage on celery Apium graveolens was similar in plots receiving threshold-based insecticide applications (5-39% plants damaged) and conventionally treated plots (5-33%) in 1995-1997. In 1994, damage was greater in threshold-based (38% plants) than conventional (20%) plots. Net profit was similar between threshold-based and conventional plots in 1994-1995 and 1997. In 1996 (an unprofitable year) net loss was smaller in threshold-based than conventional plots. A separate randomised, replicated, controlled commercial trial in 1997 found similar yield and net profit from plots with threshold-based applications (1,105-1,121 marketable cartons and US$8,000-8,330) and conventional plots (1,104 cartons and US$8,330). In the 1994-1997 test, threshold plots received selective insecticides (3-4 applications/year) when pest insect thresholds were exceeded. Conventional plots received broad spectrum insecticides to prevent pest build-up (8-9 applications/year). Treatments were replicated four times in plots of 16 celery rows, 20 m long. In 1997, conventional plots (receiving insecticide and fungicide) were compared with plots receiving either threshold-based insecticide application, threshold-based fungicide application, or both. Up to four fungicide and seven insecticide types were used per treatment. Treatments were replicated four times (0.4 ha plots). Effects on natural enemies were not presented.

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 18

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust