Battle Of The Bugs

Interest in alternative pest control strategies seems to come and go based on the efficacy of the products currently available to growers. But when their tried and true formulations stop working, there’s a collective scramble to find out what else can be used to manage pest populations. The Pest & Production Management Conference hosted by the Society of American Florists and Greenhouse Grower in Orlando, Feb. 25-27, was the place to be to get the most current information.

Growers also are pursuing alternative methods to help with their sustainable and organic certification initiatives. They want to gain experience with what really works before they abandon or supplement traditional control products. Margins are not forgiving enough for crop failures.

Experimenting With Essential Oils

Raymond Cloyd and his students at Kansas State University have been testing the efficacy of essential oils derived from plants for pest control. The oils are harvested through steam distillation. They are looking at their properties and modes of action to battle pest populations as antifeedants, molting and respiration inhibitors, growth and fecundity reducers and cuticle disrupters.

“These oils may delay or mitigate resistance,” Cloyd says. Other advantages the oils have are being viewed as reduced-risk products by EPA and the potential to be certified for organic production by Organic Materials Review Institute.

Oils being tested include cinnamon, rosemary, clove, garlic, lavender, peppermint and sage. The ones that are most effective also tend to damage plants by causing phytotoxicity. Manufacturers will need to develop the right formulations and assure the oils are harvested from plants consistently. Plant nutrition affects the oils.

Cloyd and his students have also been testing sugar-based compounds to see if insects really have a sweet tooth. SucraShield derived from wild nicotiana really performs more as a desiccant, drying bugs up. He also tested Mountain Dew to attract thrips and it had no impact.

Banking On Beneficials

Lance Osborne of the University of Florida has been working with growers to establish populations of beneficial mites and insects. There are regional considerations when using beneficial predatory mites and insects. Many pests and beneficials are host specific and natural predators can vary. “What works up North doesn’t work here in Florida,” Osborne says. For instance Encarsia sophia is a beneficial wasp that is a natural predator in Florida but has not been commercially available.

Much of Osborne’s work has been developing banker plant systems to establish beneficial populations. Banker plants that are different from the rest of the crop are placed strategically in greenhouses and populated with pests that will not bother the rest of the crop. The pests on banker plants provide food to sustain beneficial predators, which can take care of the rest of the crop. “If you can grow natural enemies, they are very efficient in finding pest populations,” he says.

Examples of banker plants that are being used in greenhouses are ornamental pepper ‘Black Pearl’ for thrips, corn for mites and papaya for whiteflies. This same system is even being used in landscapes to alleviate the need for sprays. In regions like Florida, where there is no true winter, keeping infestations at bay is a must. Another advantage to using living organisms is no resistance issues occur, as they can with chemical sprays. Over time, pests become resistant as they are naturally selected to survive the sprays.

University of Florida students recently produced a poinsettia crop using biocontrols. Growers could potentially use beneficials for most of the production cycle and then use a chemical product at the very end to get rid of all bugs (good and bad) before plants are ready for retail.

Managing Resistance

Major pests, like whiteflies and thrips, become a target for pesticide resistance, because they are so pervasive. Cindy McKenzie of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Fort Pierce, Fla., has been collecting whitefly samples to identify resistant biotypes. There are 26 whitefly biotypes with type A being native to North and South America, B to Asia Minor and Q to the Mediterranean. Whiteflies were first noted as a pest on tobacco crops in 1889. The B type became a problem in the 1980s on hibiscus.

When the resistant Q type was found in Arizona several years ago, our industry came together to contain it. Growers in California, Florida, Arizona and elsewhere sent in anonymous samples to have them biotyped. Although there have been resistance issues with B and it has a wider host range, B will revert back to being susceptible to pest control products, but Q will not. From 2005-2009 researchers tested 44 different products and formulations on Q and it was resistant to all chemistry classes. Since then Safari, Judo and Kontos have proven to be the most effective.

While Q had been detected in 25 states, there were no new findings in 2009, which means USDA and the industry succeeded in containing it. This cooperative effort has served as a model to tackle more pest problems, like chilli thrips.

One of the biggest issues growers have with thrips is there aren’t enough products on the market to rotate to minimize resistance. One effective product that is being overused is Conserve, says Scott Ludwig from Texas A&M University. He explained chemicals don’t mutate bugs but provide the environment for natural selection. Those that survive create the new populations. Another reason thrips are especially tricky to control is they feed on pollen and burrow inside the centers of the flowers, shielding them from chemical contact.

Just like with the Q-biotype whitefly crisis, leading entomologists have come together to develop a thrips management program with recommendations based on the level of infestation. An aggressive treatment program is recommended when plants are virus hosts and thrips are present. There are also maintenance treatment programs with and without biological controls.

For the most current information and updated mode of action classification charts, visit the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee website. 

Leave a Reply

More From Insect Control...
The beneficial parasitoid Encarsia formosa feeding on greenhouse whitefly

February 12, 2016

Biological Pest Control Starts With Accounting For Pesticide Compatibility

When pest pressure is high, biological controls alone may not be enough to take care of the problem. Make sure that any pesticides you use won’t harm the beneficials hard at work in your greenhouse.

Read More
Suzanne Wainwright-Evans

February 8, 2016

Register Now For Biocontrols USA 2016 Workshop

Biocontrol is becoming a mainstream part of growing plants commercially. Every good program starts with quality products and a good supply chain. Register now to join us from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on March 4, following the conclusion of the education program at the Biocontrols USA 2016 Conference & Expo in Monterey, CA for a special event that will help you improve your biocontrols program. In this informative, real-world workshop led by biocontrols expert Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, owner of Buglady Consulting, you’ll learn: The key players that are producing beneficials How to check product quality once you get them The latest trends and practices growers are using to implement beneficials into their programs Important pitfalls to avoid. A roundup of the current biocontrol research that can help you be more successful in your production practices this season. Wainwright-Evans, a pest management specialist, has been involved in the green industry for more than two […]

Read More
Travis Higginbotham

February 8, 2016

Biocontrols And Next-Generation Production

Biocontrols are becoming much more established in greenhouse production. In some cases, it’s the next generation of growers that’s helping to support the adoption of this next generation of pest control. Travis Higginbotham, R&D Manager for Battlefield Farms, in Rapidan, VA, is a great example. Brought on in 2014, he is helping Battlefield take the next step in product development, as well as become more efficient as a business and adapt to new technologies and demands from their customers with a more proactive approach. Higginbotham will share information on Battlefield’s nematode program at the Biocontrols USA 2016 Conference and Expo, March 3-4, 2016 in Monterey, CA. We asked him about the details involved with building a new biocontrols program, as well as the future of sustainability in greenhouse production. Q: What are the differences in costs involved in using biocontrols? What costs should growers consider, aside from the hard costs […]

Read More
Latest Stories
The beneficial parasitoid Encarsia formosa feeding on greenhouse whitefly

February 12, 2016

Biological Pest Control Starts With Accounting For Pe…

When pest pressure is high, biological controls alone may not be enough to take care of the problem. Make sure that any pesticides you use won’t harm the beneficials hard at work in your greenhouse.

Read More
Suzanne Wainwright-Evans

February 8, 2016

Register Now For Biocontrols USA 2016 Workshop

Biocontrol is becoming a mainstream part of growing plants commercially. Every good program starts with quality products and a good supply chain. Register now to join us from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on March 4, following the conclusion of the education program at the Biocontrols USA 2016 Conference & Expo in Monterey, CA for a special event that will help you improve your biocontrols program. In this informative, real-world workshop led by biocontrols expert Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, owner of Buglady Consulting, you’ll learn: The key players that are producing beneficials How to check product quality once you get them The latest trends and practices growers are using to implement beneficials into their programs Important pitfalls to avoid. A roundup of the current biocontrol research that can help you be more successful in your production practices this season. Wainwright-Evans, a pest management specialist, has been involved in the green industry for more than two […]

Read More
Travis Higginbotham

February 8, 2016

Biocontrols And Next-Generation Production

Biocontrols are becoming much more established in greenhouse production. In some cases, it’s the next generation of growers that’s helping to support the adoption of this next generation of pest control. Travis Higginbotham, R&D Manager for Battlefield Farms, in Rapidan, VA, is a great example. Brought on in 2014, he is helping Battlefield take the next step in product development, as well as become more efficient as a business and adapt to new technologies and demands from their customers with a more proactive approach. Higginbotham will share information on Battlefield’s nematode program at the Biocontrols USA 2016 Conference and Expo, March 3-4, 2016 in Monterey, CA. We asked him about the details involved with building a new biocontrols program, as well as the future of sustainability in greenhouse production. Q: What are the differences in costs involved in using biocontrols? What costs should growers consider, aside from the hard costs […]

Read More

January 12, 2016

EPA Releases Preliminary Risk Assessment For Imidaclopr…

The assessment, which will soon be open for public comment, indicates that imidacloprid potentially poses risk to hives when the pesticide comes in contact with certain crops that attract pollinators.

Read More
Vestaron

December 30, 2015

Vestaron’s Spear Bioinsecticide No Longer Carries Bee T…

Following a review that shows it has no detrimental effect on honeybees, EPA has removed the bee toxicity warning statement from Spear.

Read More
Arthij van der Veer Feature image

December 7, 2015

Sustainability Is Key To Your Operation’s Future

During Greenhouse Grower's 2015 Top 100 Growers Breakfast at Cultivate'15, Arthij ven der Veer of MPS (More Profitable Sustainability) discussed crop protection trends in Europe, Latin America, and around the world, and what to expect on the horizon.

Read More
Suzanne Wainwright-Evans

November 16, 2015

Real-World Biocontrols Trends From The Buglady

During ,em>Greenhouse Grower's Top 100 Breakfast at Cultivate'15, Suzanne Wainwright-Evans of Buglady Consulting discussed trends in biocontrols, including what she has seen from breeders, growers and even public gardens.

Read More
USDA Whistleblower Case

November 3, 2015

USDA Bee Scientist Alleges He Was Punished For Reportin…

Entomologist Jonathan Lundgren has filed a whistleblower complaint alleging USDA retaliated against him because of his research on the adverse effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on bees and monarch butterflies.

Read More

October 7, 2015

Ball FloraPlant Eliminates Neonicotinoid Use On Its Off…

Ball FloraPlant has announced its offshore cuttings farms did not use neonicotinoid-based pest management chemicals during its spring crop production last shipping season, and will continue to be neonic free this year. Instead, the company and its greenhouse managers have relied on alternative means to supply insect-free cuttings to its global customer base.

Read More
Nemasys And Millenium Beneficial Nematodes from BASFm_Nematodes

October 7, 2015

How BASF’s UK Biological Production Facility Expa…

BASF has expanded its biologicals production facility in Littlehampton, UK. The new capacity increases the company’s ability to double the production of beneficial nematodes and inoculants.

Read More

September 23, 2015

New Crop Protection Products And Label Updates

Here are some of the most recent products released and label updates for crop protection agents in the greenhouse and nursery market. Fame Fungicides (FMC Corp.) FMC Corp. has introduce Fame fungicides, a family of FRAC 11 group (Strobilurin) products that delivers fast-acting, patented fluoxastrobin protection against major soil and foliar diseases. Rainfast in 15 minutes, Fame fungicides can be used on most greenhouse and nursery plants and provide fast foliar and root uptake. “Proven by university research, Fame fungicides offer fluoxastrobin action, which ensures a high degree of systemic activity to provide very rapid disease protection and stop further growth of established disease,” says Naimur Rahman, strategy and fungicide marketing product manager for FMC. The Fame fungicide family includes: • Fame SC: a suspension concentrate fungicide containing fluoxastrobin that controls major diseases, including anthracnose, downy mildew, powdery mildew, scab and leaf spot. It provides rapid foliar and root uptake […]

Read More
Offshore farm profiles Dummen Orange Las Mercedes Solanaceas GH

September 8, 2015

Dümmen Orange Implementing Consistent Standards On All …

Owning and operating several locations can be a challenge in maintaining consistent quality and cleanliness across the board. This is true of both breeders and growers. But those who do it right have invested in technology and practices that ensure that plant quality matches, no matter where their plants are shipped from. That’s the goal for Dümmen Orange. Now the world’s largest producer of unrooted cuttings, the company has a combined 150 hectares or 370 acres of production space worldwide, dedicated to cuttings production. Recent acquisitions of product portfolios, both this year and in the past few, has raised the company’s cuttings production expectation to more than 1.4 billion, including 350 million in North America. It has farms all over the world (see the 2015 Top Cuttings Producers ranking to see where), and produces cuttings for its own genetics, as well as collaborating with more than 30 third-party breeders across all […]

Read More
Bill Lewis grower manager at Delray Plants

August 31, 2015

Delray Plants Takes Preventative Approach To Pest Contr…

Trying to control pests effectively on a wide variety of crops is a major undertaking. Delray Plants in Venus, Fla., has been using biological controls as a part of its pest control program for more than 10 years. It operates 300 acres, which includes covered structures and 7 acres of outdoor field production.

Read More
Feature image The Aphid Guard Aphid Banker Plant, coming soon to the market, supports beneficial insect populations.

June 21, 2015

The Latest In Crop Protection

Protecting your plants from the latest threats is no easy task, but new product lines promise to safely and effectively eliminate a wide range of pests and diseases, without harming your employees or the environment.

Read More
Bee On Flower

June 18, 2015

Pest Management And Marketing Strategies For Bee-Friend…

Michigan State University Extension shares pest management practices to produce plants that are safe for pollinators and marketing strategies for clearing up confusion about bee-friendly plants.

Read More

June 10, 2015

BASF’s Sultan Miticide Receives California Regist…

BASF Sultan miticide recently received registration in California, giving ornamental growers a new rapid, targeted mode of action for mite control. Sultan miticide, with active ingredient cyflumetofen, offers ornamental growers targeted knockdown of all life stages of tetranychid mites, with long residual control. It has practically no toxicity to beneficial insects, including predatory mites and pollinators. Sultan miticide offers a new mode of action to combat cross-resistance with other commercial miticides, and is compatible with integrated pest management programs (IPM). “The long-awaited California registration of Sultan miticide is exciting news. Greenhouse, nursery and landscape professionals in the state now have a new class of chemistry that gives them fast control over all life stages of plant-damaging mite populations,” says Joe Lara, senior product manager for BASF. “Sultan miticide now provides California growers with a much needed new first choice for miticide resistance management programs that won’t disrupt populations of beneficial […]

Read More
Bee On Flower

May 20, 2015

White House Task Force Releases Pollinator Health Strat…

An interagency Pollinator Health Task Force commissioned by President Obama released its “Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators” on May 19. The strategy, released in accordance with the Presidential Memorandum issued last June, is accompanied by a Pollinator Research Action Plan, which outlines needs and priority actions to better understand pollinator losses and improve pollinator health. The recommended actions will be supported by a coordination of existing federal research efforts and accompanied by a request to Congress for additional resources to respond to losses in pollinator populations. Pages 47 through 52 specifically address pesticides and pollinators. The report calls out plant production, native plants, mosquito control and all urban uses in its Pollinator Action Plan. RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) says it supports the goals of improving pollinator health and habitat contained in the White House Pollinator Task Force’s release of its National […]

Read More
Two-spotted spider mites, adults and eggs

May 18, 2015

Beware Of Spider Mites In Bougainvillea And Mandevilla …

Greenhouse growers need to scout for spider mites on bougainvillea and mandevilla and use appropriate treatments that minimize pesticide resistance.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]