Joining The Battle Against Thrips

Joining The Battle Against Thrips

Raymond Cloyd is only half joking when he says the battle against western flower thrips is over, and that the thrips have won.

“It’s a very precarious situation,” says Cloyd, an extension specialist in ornamental entomology at Kansas State University. “Resistance is out there.”

The specter of western flower thrips has haunted the worldwide floriculture industry for decades. Thrips damage plants directly by feeding and indirectly by vectoring tospoviruses such as tomato-spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV). Thrips breed quickly inside greenhouses and are difficult to detect due to their tendency to hide inside closed buds or in the soil. As a result, they are often transported on plant material. This becomes especially serious if the hitchhikers are resistant to insecticides.

“Thrips are a huge, huge issue for flowering ornamentals–anything where the feature of the plant is the flower,” says Joe Chamberlin, regional field development manager for Valent Professional Products. “Many floriculture crops can be severely damaged by western flower thrips, whose adverse effect on flowers can make plants unmarketable.”

While thrips are an issue for growers of all sizes, they are particularly troublesome for large growers with year-round flower production because of the thrips’ tendency to move from one crop to another, says Scott Ludwig, an entomologist and integrated pest management specialist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, a member of Texas A&M System.

Thrips and the diseases they help spread have caused untold millions in losses to ornamental, fruit and vegetable crops worldwide over the past 30 years.

“Around the United States, thrips were getting more and more difficult to control because they’re developing resistance to available insecticides,” Ludwig says. “We need more treatment options on the market. Thankfully, we may get the help we need.”

Divide & Conquer

Until recently, the most effective weapon against western flower thrips was Conserve SC specialty insecticide. However, chronic overuse of Conserve and a lack of reliable rotational partners have resulted in resistance buildup, thus compromising the efficacy of what many considered the only surefire thrips control product.

The introduction of Pylon–and, more recently, Overture Insecticide–has provided growers with much-needed new options in the increasingly complicated fight against thrips. As rotational partners, products such as Overture and Pylon have helped extend the life of Conserve.

“Overture and Pylon are very good thrips products,” Chamberlin says. “We need to conserve Conserve, and these two products help do that.”

Ludwig has become all too well acquainted with the commercial devastation wrought by thrips. Last year, his team documented one East Texas grower with major resistance issues and another who was on the verge.

“Neither grower has had problems managing thrips so far this year,” Ludwig says. “With Overture and Pylon being on the market, they have new rotational partners for Conserve.”

While Ludwig describes Overture as a somewhat slower-working product than Conserve, which could once be counted on to knock down thrips within 24 hours, he has seen strong, consistent results from Overture within 14 days.

Tim Pfaffel, pest management supervisor at Iwasaki Bros., Inc. Wholesale Growers in Hillsboro, Ore., says his operation had major problems with thrips in 2008. After developing a joint insecticide-beneficial program that incorporated Overture, Conserve, the cucumeris mite and the Orius bug, Pfaffel says his thrips situation is not even a quarter as bad as it was last year.

The message of rotation, Chamberlin says, is important for thrips because it is one of the best ways to fight resistance. Overture, which has the added benefit of controlling caterpillars, is most effective against thrips when applied early in the rotation.

Weeding Out Trouble Spots

Whatever products or beneficial insects growers use in their attempts to keep thrips under control, there are a number of remedial measures that can be taken to limit infestation. Communication and sanitation, Ludwig says, should be an important part of any growing operation.

“Large operations often have different growers managing different areas, and they often don’t talk among themselves,” Ludwig says. “You have to know what your whole operation is doing on the pest management side.”

It is also important to keep both the inside and perimeter areas around greenhouses clear of weeds. Pet plants–in which thrips often thrive and through which dangerous tospoviruses are easily spread–should be removed.

“Sanitation is critical,” Ludwig says. “If you don’t need them, get rid of them.”

Echoing Ludwig, Kansas State’s Cloyd urges growers to take a holistic approach toward controlling thrips. That means careful, coordinated rounds of screening, monitoring and scouting.

Whenever young plants or cuttings enter the greenhouse, they should be checked immediately for thrips nymphs and adults, according to a report by the University of Connecticut’s Integrated Pest Management program. Also, any infected plants should be kept separate from non-infected ones to discourage the spread of thrips.

“Do everything you can to limit buildup,” Cloyd says. “It takes everything. Growers have to understand that. It’s just critical.”

Leave a Reply

More From Insect Control...
Two-spotted spider mites, adults and eggs

May 11, 2016

SePRO Launches Summer Insecticide Management Program For Ornamental Growers

The program is designed to help growers use SePRO’s insect management tools to prevent plant damage from a variety of pests.

Read More
Small Aphid Colony on Calibrachoa

May 2, 2016

How To Stop Aphids In The Greenhouse

When untreated, aphids damage ornamental crops and act as vectors for disease. Integrated Pest Management combined with vigilant scouting can help you stay ahead of the problem.

Read More

April 28, 2016

Holistic, Integrated Approach To Pest Control Rooted In Research

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 […]

Read More
Latest Stories
Two-spotted spider mites, adults and eggs

May 11, 2016

SePRO Launches Summer Insecticide Management Program Fo…

The program is designed to help growers use SePRO’s insect management tools to prevent plant damage from a variety of pests.

Read More
Small Aphid Colony on Calibrachoa

May 2, 2016

How To Stop Aphids In The Greenhouse

When untreated, aphids damage ornamental crops and act as vectors for disease. Integrated Pest Management combined with vigilant scouting can help you stay ahead of the problem.

Read More

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 […]

Read More
Cicada (Greg Hoover, Penn State)

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.

Read More
Parasitized aphid mummies, ladybird beetle larvae

April 18, 2016

4 Things You Need To Know About Implementing Biological…

Biocontrols are useful alternatives to traditional pesticides that provide effective pest control in the greenhouse. Here are four ways to get started successfully.

Read More

March 22, 2016

EPA Approves Syngenta’s Mainspring GNL Insecticide For …

Featuring the active ingredient cyantraniliprole, Mainspring GNL provides broad-spectrum control of key pests, such as thrips, whiteflies, aphids, caterpillars, leafminers, and leaf-feeding beetles.

Read More
Biocontrols and beneficials absolutely can be used in outdoor production, with the use of banker plant systems

March 8, 2016

France-Based InVivo Acquiring Bioline, Syngenta’s Bioco…

Bioline, a subsidiary of Syngenta, specializes in the production and marketing of biological control agents, and in particular macroorganisms active against insect pests in fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

Read More

February 17, 2016

Why It’s Important To Stay One Step Ahead Of Thri…

Keep thrips populations in check and avoid pesticide resistance by using spray and drench products known for their effectiveness.

Read More
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

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