February 17, 2015
A New Look At Biological Control: Can Plants Affect The Performance Of Natural Enemies?
The success of a biological control program depends on a number of factors including quality of natural enemies, timing of release, release rates and environmental conditions. However, what is typically not taken into consideration is how plants can affect the performance of natural enemies, including attack rate and searching ability. Biological control agents work hard to protect plants, but plants have ways to help themselves, too.
April 29, 2014
Industry Perspective: Systemic Insecticides And Bees: Are We Revisiting “Silent Spring”?
The impact of systemic insecticides on bees and other pollinators is not new phenomenon. Kansas State University Entomology Professor Raymond Cloyd says we, as an industry, need to work together to provide unbiased information that is based in sound science.
January 19, 2011
Pesticide Resistance In Natural Enemies
Pesticide resistance is always a concern because once an arthropod (insect or mite) pest population can no longer be adequately suppressed with existing pesticides, then management options become limited. Resistance is the genetic ability of some individuals in an arthropod pest population to survive an application or multiple applications of a pesticide. In other words, the pesticide no longer effectively kills a sufficient number of individuals in the arthropod pest population. Resistance develops at the population level and is an inherited trait. As such, surviving arthropod pests can pass traits genetically onto their offspring or next generation, enriching the gene pool with resistant genes (alleles). The amount of “selection pressure,” or the frequency of applying pesticides, is the main factor that influences the ability of an arthropod pest population to develop resistance to pesticides. This then increases the proportion or frequency of resistant individuals. However, there are sometimes inquires or […]
May 27, 2009
Taking Out Spider Mites
Two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, is still one of the most destructive mite pests of greenhouse-grown crops. Because it is so destructive, greenhouse producers use miticides to alleviate problems and avoid excessive mite outbreaks. Several commercially available miticides are called mitochondria electron transport inhibitors, or METIs, which disrupt the production of energy or adenosine triphosphate (ATP). But before any specifics are addressed, it’s important to note the significance of the mitochondria. The mitochondrion is a membrane-bounded organelle that is associated with intracellular respiration. It is a major site of ATP production and oxygen consumption in cells, and it retains enzymes involved in the citric-acid cycle and in oxidative phosphorylation. Overview Miticides active on mitochondria include acequinocyl (Shuttle), pyridaben (Sanmite) and fenpyroximate (Akari). These miticides either inhibit NADH dehydrogenase (complex I) associated with electron transport, act on the NADH-CoQ reductase or bind to the Qo center or cytochrome bc1 (complex III) […]
June 20, 2008
Fungus Gnat Management
Fungus gnats (Bradysia spp.) are major insect pests of greenhouse crops and can cause economic losses across a wide range of crops during stock plant, propagation and finished plant production. Female fungus gnat adults lay eggs in growing media, and the emerging larvae feed on the roots and crown. Fungus gnat management is an ongoing focus of our research team. The objective of the study reported here was to evaluate the efficacy of different insecticides applied as media drenches. The notable feature of this study was that we tested insecticides at several geographic locations simultaneously. We used poinsettia as a model test crop because it was grown in all the collaborating greenhouses. Research Methods Six-inch poinsettias were grown in eight greenhouse locations that included seven commercial growers in Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey and the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Ten containers received each insecticide treatment in each location. There […]
June 18, 2008
Impact Of Fungicides On Natural Enemies
Previously, I have written articles on the compatibility of alternative pesticides, primarily insecticides and miticides, with biological control agents or natural enemies such as parasitoids and predators. In general, natural enemies tend to be more susceptible to insecticides and miticides than insect and mite pests. However, fungicides are applied routinely in greenhouses to control both aboveground and belowground fungal pathogens. So how compatible are fungicides with natural enemies? Although fungicides may not be directly or immediately harmful to a specific natural enemy, there may be indirect or sublethal effects, such as delayed development of the prey and natural enemy, delayed adult emergence of the natural enemy or decreased natural enemy survival. There is, in general, less information on the direct (immediate) and indirect (sublethal) effects of fungicides on natural enemies. In fact, both the Koppert and BioBest Side Effects Manual/Guide contain minimal information on the effects of fungicides on many […]
June 12, 2008
All Predatory Mites Are Not Created Equal
Have you ever considered implementing a biological control program in your greenhouse operation? Well, first of all, what is biological control? Biological control involves the release or application of natural enemies including parasitoids (parasitic wasps), predators and pathogens (in this case entomopathogenic fungi and nematodes) into a greenhouse in order to regulate an existing insect or mite pest population. One of the most widely used groups of natural enemies are predatory mites, which are commercially available from most biological control suppliers. There are a number of predatory mite species commercially available that are in the family Phytoseiidae, including Phytoseiulus persimilis, Neoseiulus fallacis, Neoseiulus californicus, Nesoseiulus longipes and Galendromus occidentalis. It is important to understand the behavioral characteristics of predatory mites before implementing a biological control program since behavioral responses to plant volatiles, feeding preferences and dispersal of predatory mites will influence their ability to provide control or regulate different “levels” […]
May 3, 2016
5 Things Gardens Bloggers And Writers Learned At Califo…
For the second year in a row, the National Garden Bureau hosted five popular garden bloggers and writers on a trip to California Spring Trials. Here’s what each of them had to say about their experience.
May 2, 2016
A Fire At A New Hampshire Garden Center Challenges Spri…
Petal Pushers Farm in Laconia, NH, suffered a two-alarm fire two weeks prior to Mother's Day Weekend. It is already back up and running, but is scrambling to replace its losses.
May 2, 2016
Surprise Customers With Over-The-Top Service This Mothe…
The day before Thanksgiving a few years ago, I reluctantly pulled into Central Market’s parking lot. Central Market is a popular, high-end Texas grocery store chain, the luxury brand for the middle-of-the-road HEB stores. As expected, the parking lot was packed. There wasn’t a space in the main part of the sizable lot, so I had to park some distance away. It wasn’t a promising start to what I fully expected to be an irritating afternoon. But I was making butternut squash soup and providing wine for the holiday dinner the next day, and so I couldn’t procrastinate any longer. I was doomed to endure the busiest shopping day of the year for grocery stores. I grabbed a mini double-decker cart, resigned to cranky crowds and jostling for space in the produce aisles. I walked in and paused to figure out where I could find the butternut squash. Almost instantly, an […]
May 1, 2016
Produce Marketing Association Plans Floral Supply Chain…
The PMA Fresh Connections: Floral events will unveil new market research and trends, while offering insights into the changing landscape of floral retailing.
April 30, 2016
Registration Is Open For Farwest 2016 In Portland, OR
This year’s show takes place Aug. 25-27 and features educational sessions, nursery and retail tours, and an expansive trade show floor.
April 29, 2016
Kelly Norris: Why The Plant Collector Market Is Set To …
In his latest column for Greenhouse Grower magazine, Kelly Norris says there are more plant collectors out there than we think, which opens the way for the gift plant market to explode.
April 29, 2016
Do Customers Really Care How Plants Are Grown?
The consumer uprising against neonicotinoids has roiled the industry over the past couple of years. In June 2013, someone applied pesticide to a tree in full bloom, using the product in an off-label manner. That misapplication killed tens of thousands of bees, capturing the attention of activists. A short three years later, that activism has led to policy changes for big chains like The Home Depot and Lowe’s. Several cities and towns across the country have banned the sale of neonicotinoids. All of this made me curious. How was all the publicity affecting consumer attitudes at local garden stores? Traditionally, customers have shown little interest in how flowering plants are grown, other than they like the idea that they are from a local source. They have been much more particular about food plants than they have ornamentals. So I sent questions out to a few retailers across the country, and […]
April 28, 2016
Why Ornamental Grasses Are Great For People In Condos A…
Allan Armitage says breeders need to do a better job of making growers, brokers, and garden centers aware of better ornamental grass cultivars for the increasingly shrinking garden space.
April 28, 2016
Holistic, Integrated Approach To Pest Control Rooted In…
Greenhouse growers have been practicing integrated pest management for decades, but it’s becoming increasingly more important with the continued scrutiny of conventional pest control by a number of “regulators” — government, retail, and consumers. I just returned from Meister Media Worldwide’s Biocontrols USA 2016 Conference, in Monterey, CA, at the beginning of March this year, which served 450 attendees and 50 exhibiting supplier companies. It’s clear from the presentations and the growing attendance at this specialized event — now only in its second year — that use of biocontrols in IPM will continue to be adopted widely, as more growers get past their personal hurdles of doubt and intimidation, and embrace a new way to approach pest and disease control. Many growers think of using biocontrols as an all-or-nothing approach, but ultimately, IPM is about balance. Growers will need to continue to focus on IPM, integrating chemistry with biology, because […]
April 26, 2016
Fine Americas Offers A Digital Resource For Plant Growt…
The blog section of Fine America’s website is updated regularly, with input from both technical managers and independent researchers
April 26, 2016
“Bee-Friendly” Labels Matter To Plant Consumers, Accord…
Research at Michigan State University shows ornamental plant buyers understand and respond to bee-friendly production practices.
April 26, 2016
Cicadas Set To Emerge In Several Eastern States This Sp…
While there’s no immediate cause for alarm, experts say the cicada’s egg-laying process can damage woody ornamentals and make them vulnerable to diseases.