Searching For Solutions To Invasives

Searching For Solutions To Invasives

What can growers do about invasive pests and pathogens, especially when quarantines are penalizing them and border inspections these days are less than thorough? Lin Schmale, senior director of government relations for the Society of American Florists (SAF), understands the issues at hand. And she’ll lead a discussion on the matter at Pest Management Conference in two weeks.

There have been plenty of invasives “horror stories” in recent history. Which invasives stand out to you?

“Anyone who remembers the days of Ralstonia quarantines–and most in the industry do remember those sad days–will understand the importance of this topic. Since then, we’ve had Sudden Oak Death, gladiolus rust, chrysanthemum white rust (many times) and a lot of new insects—chilli thrips, Q-Biotype whitefly and more. And there are more to come.”

What can attendees expect from the invasives portion of the program?

“Success in this portion will be achieved if attendees understand what the risks are, and how they can participate in protecting their own operations. I’m going to talk generally about what the situation is and how we can all participate in better protection for growing operations.

“Helene (Wright, USDA-APHIS) will discuss “what to do” if one of the dreaded quarantine pests is found in your greenhouse. Steve (Tjosvold, University of California Cooperative Extension) is going to focus on P. ramorum, and Lance (Osborne, University of Florida) will talk about some of the experiences we’ve had with invasive insects.

“Their leadership has been tremendously influential in finding new and better ways to deal with some of these new bugs and diseases, and I am greatly looking forward to hearing all of them.”

What are you looking forward to most at Pest Management Conference?

“Every Pest Management Conference, I come out of the meeting room totally excited about the new scientific information that’s being discovered and developed every year. We as an industry are tremendously fortunate to have outstanding, talented scientists working on our problems. This is a great chance to hear them and to ask them questions.

“That’s the one thing I want to see more of–questions to the speakers! I think sometimes in these meetings, people are afraid to ask questions for fear of looking uninformed. But I hope people will remember that “the only stupid question is the one that doesn’t get asked”–and go for it.”

Schmale is scheduled to present on invasive pests and pathogens on Saturday, Feb. 21 from 8:15-8:50 a.m. Wright, Tjosvold and Osborne will follow her in that order.

Pest Management Conference takes place from Feb. 19-21 in San Jose, Calif. For more information on the conference, presented by SAF and Greenhouse Grower, visit

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