Research Reports: Management of Insects on Pepper and Tomato with UV-Reflective Mulches

J. B. Kring, D. J. Schuster


Aluminum-painted plastic mulch, whether with the entire exposed mulch surface painted or with lateral strips painted, generally was equivalent to aluminum plastic film and superior to non-painted plastic or bare soil as to the numbers of aphids and thrips collected from water dish traps or as to the numbers of aphids on foliage. Numbers of thrips in flowers were not affected consistently by mulch treatments. Effects of the aluminum-painted mulch appeared to persist longer on pepper than on tomato probably because the pepper plants were smaller than the tomato plants and covered less of the mulch. The aluminum-painted mulch did not affect significantly the numbers of leafmines and mite colonies on tomato foliage but did result in fewer tomato plants infected with aphid-transmitted virus compared to non-painted mulch. Less virus also was observed on plants grown on aluminum-painted mulch in a commercial tomato field even though differences in the numbers of aphids on foliage were not significant relative to black mulch.

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