September 21, 2009

SaniDate 5.0 Sanitizer OKed For New Uses

BioSafe Systems’ SaniDate 5.0 sanitizer/disinfectant has been approved for several new applications in California. Greenhouse-related uses include sanitization and disinfection of tractor trailers, treatment of agricultural irrigation waters, disinfection of greenhouse equipment and treatment of greenhouse evaporative coolers. Chemigation instructions are also included. SaniDate 5.0 is an activated peroxygen chemistry that eliminates human and animal health pathogens on contact. A chlorine alternative, SaniDate 5.0 is NOP compliant, EPA registered, and OMRI listed for use in organic crop production.   Users are no longer required to use NIOSH masks and respirators when applying the product. Personal Protective Equipment for SaniDate 5.0 now consists of goggles, a face shield, and rubber gloves while handling.   For more information, contact Rachel Leyland at Biosafe Systems.

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September 1, 2009

Enhancing Crop Protection

Surviving tough economic times is top of mind for Tim Landers (pictured at right), just as it is for many Americans in 2009. “House plants aren’t something people require to survive,” says Landers, owner of Benchmark Foliage, Inc., in Plymouth, Fla. “People are hunkering down and doing without a lot of frills. Even corporations have cut back on their interiorscaping. So, we’ve reduced production a bit and followed cost-cutting measures, and I believe we’ll come through just fine.” Still, foliage production has always been a labor of love for Landers. His interest in gardening dates back to eighth grade in his native Alabama, where he began helping his mother tend to her flower and vegetable beds. After receiving a degree in horticulture from Auburn University, he began working in nurseries across the Southeast, and he taught vocational horticulture to high school students for nine years. Tropical Delights Landers purchased Benchmark […]

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June 18, 2009

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 […]

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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) […]

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May 6, 2009

New Orchid Enemy Found In Florida

University of Florida Insect Diagnostician Lyle Buss collected a specimen of the orchid mealybug (Pseudococcus dendrobiorum) on Phalaenopsis orchids in a greenhouse in Gainesville on March 27. Not only is this the first find in Florida, it is the first finding of P. dendrobiorum in the Western Hemisphere. According to Lyle Buss of the University of Florida, the plants originally came from several different orchid growers, so it has not been determined where the mealybugs came from originally. Adults and immatures of this mealybug are grayish pink in color. Wax filaments are present around the entire body, with the two or three pairs of filaments at the tip of the abdomen being slightly longer than the rest. A patch of white, waxy secretion is often present on the roots surrounding the mealybug. Live specimens of P. dendrobiorum most closely resemble the pineapple mealybug in appearance. P. dendrobiorum is native to […]

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April 29, 2009

A Glance At An IPM Program

Orchid and bromeliad grower Silver Vase developed its Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program about 10 years ago to satisfy customers looking for sustainable products and to ensure a clean environment for both customers and the company’s employees. IPM staff at Silver Vase, as expected, limits the use of pesticides on plants and relies on a clean greenhouse environment to produce untainted products. Beneficial insect species are incorporated at strategic and timed intervals to control unwanted pest infestations, and these practices guarantee delivery of residue-free plants to the consumer. Silver Vase breaks down its IPM program like this: 1. All new and young live goods are brought in bare-rooted. This allows Silver Vase to create its own soil media for its orchids and bromeliads. Soil mites are added to mixtures in stage one to prevent and eat the larva that produces fungus gnats. The beneficial mites are released to live amid […]

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April 28, 2009

Predatory Mites May Help Control Thrips

USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists, along with researchers at the University of Florida are studying two mites, Neoseiulus cucumeris and Amblyseius swirskii, to see if they may be useful for control of chilli thrips in up to 150 crops, including ornamentals. Research showed that these two predatory mites, which are have been used commercially to combat other pests, significantly reduced the number of thrips. The researchers put 30 adult chilli thrips on ornamental pepper plants in greenhouse and outdoor settings, waited a week for thrips larvae to hatch and, in separate treatments, released 30 mites of each species on the plants. They checked the plants weekly for four weeks. A. swirskii left no more than one thrips insect per leaf. Up to 60 thrips larva were found on leaves of untreated pepper plants. The work was funded in part by the American Floral Endowment and the Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative. The chilli thrips feeds on leaves, turns them […]

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April 27, 2009

Back To The Future

For 25 years, the Society of American Florists’ (SAF) Pest Management Conference has been helping growers protect their plants and profits. This was the first year Greenhouse Grower was a partner in the event, held Feb. 19-21 in San Jose, Calif., where it all began. This conference focused on pest control began in the early 1980s, when entomologists in floriculture and other segments of agriculture were working together to address leaf miners, a pest that was ravaging chrysanthemums and other crops. Dr. Michael Parrella of the University of California (UC), Davis, enlisted SAF’s support for a set of conferences in California and Florida. The conferences were so successful in bringing researchers together to address the problem and relay the information to growers that SAF and Parrella launched a new annual conference just for our industry in 1985 in San Jose. The program has since expanded to include diseases, bringing floriculture’s leading […]

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April 25, 2009

The Importance Of Biopesticides

Most growers working to create a sustainable agriculture system understand that their first line of defense against unwanted pests is not found in the chemical shed. No, the first line of defense is the beneficial organisms–the good bugs–out in the field. That’s why a solid Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program is one of the linchpins of sustainable agriculture. IPM combines cultural practices, biological controls (i.e. predatory insects) and chemical control to keep pest populations low. But, when a pest problem becomes too severe and a chemical must be applied, the grower has two options: a traditional, synthetic product or a “softer” biopesticide. Among the major benefits of incorporating biopesticides into a sustainable agriculture system is that they are generally more environmentally friendly and do not damage the soil, water supply or the wildlife–including the beneficial insects. The importance of nurturing a standing army of beneficial insects can’t be overstated. “Their […]

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April 17, 2009

Pesticide Ruling Causing Uproar

Outside our industry, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has asked the full Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to review a three-judge ruling that would require permits for pesticide use even if they are applied in compliance with pesticide labeling laws. The ruling applies to farmers, but growers should keep their eyes on the case, too. “Farmers should not need a permit under another law when they already are following an existing law,” says AFBF President Bob Stallman. “We are disappointed that EPA (the Environmental Protection Agency) has decided not to seek a legal remedy for this situation. The decision made by the three-judge panel in January will complicate farmers’ ability to farm, and raise their expenses without improving the environment.” A permitting program also would impose a great burden on regulatory authorities because of a staggering increase in the number of new permit requests. For more information on the […]

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April 16, 2009

Control Insects, Mites & Fungi

BioWorks recently introduced SuffOil-X spray oil emulsion, a new product that controls insects, mites and fungi–including powdery mildew–in a broad range of greenhouse, nursery and vegetable crops.  SuffOil-X works by suffocating eggs, larvae, nymphs, adult soft bodied insects and mites.   EPA approved, SuffOil-X is a unique concentrate of pre-emulsified, highly refined, high-paraffinic, low-aromatic oil. Its pre-emulsification breaks down the oil particles to 1/14th its original size. The small oil droplets assure that a very thin, uniform coating of oil is applied to the plant, which effectively smothers and kills pests without causing burn or stress to plants.   “The pre-emulsification advantage enables the product to dilute easier with water and more thoroughly than other horticultural spray oils, without requiring rigorous agitation to keep the mix in suspension,” says John Francis, BioWorks’ director of technical services. “It’s a welcomed addition to our product line.”   SuffOil-X has excellent compatibility with […]

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