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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March 27, 2009

Online Only: 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 (i.e. safe planting dates), 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 […]

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March 2, 2009

Meet OHP’s Latest Miticide

Shuttle O is the latest miticide in OHP’s portfolio, joining Floramite, Pylon, Judo, Kontos and Triact. It features several key features that fit well into an IPM program. According to Dan Stahl, OHP vice president of marketing and business development, Shuttle O is effective on a wide range of mite species, including two spotted spider mites, spruce spider mites, citrus red mites, European red mites and Pacific spider mites, “Shuttle O is a miticide for the 21st century with the many positives it offers such as rapid knockdown, Reduced Risk classification, activity on all life stages, long residual control and a unique mode of action,” Stahl says. “In addition, Shuttle O is soft on beneficial insects.” Shuttle O has been tested on many plant species and has been shown to be safe on even tender plant material. Shuttle O is a suspension concentrate (SC) formulation and carries a 12-hour Restricted […]

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February 27, 2009

A Close-Up On Kontos

Kontos is a new systemic insecticide from OHP that derives from the tetramic acid class of chemistry. Kontos can be applied as a foliar spray or drench, and it controls a number of major sucking insect and mite pests, including Adelgids, aphids, leafhoppers, mealybugs, Psyllids, spider mites, spittlebugs and whiteflies. Kontos is both xylem and phloem active, meaning the systemic activity moves upward and downward in the treated plants. As of Feb. 4, Kontos is registered for use in more than 30 states. It’s packaged in 250-milliliter containers and ships six per case. For more information on Kontos, visit www.ohp.com.

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February 25, 2009

Pest Management Conference Presents Integrated Solutions

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 last week 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 […]

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February 9, 2009

Best Practices To Prevent Pest Problems

A talent for diagnosis is necessary — but not sufficient — to produce a great crop. Scouting regularly and thoroughly for symptoms and interpreting them correctly does give you the luxury of early detection, but it also is critical to practice good overall greenhouse management. Following are some best management practices (BMPs) that will help you reduce the chance that there will be symptoms you’ll need to interpret. The goal of your BMPs is to solve problems in ad­vance, safeguarding the environment by using pesticides only when necessary. 1. Let the greenhouse structure work for you, not against you. Maintain the right light level for the crop. Arrange for optimal ventilation to reduce problems with diseases like downy mildew and Botrytis. Eliminate bench and floor unevenness to eliminate puddling that exposes crops to Pythium root rot. Choose benches with impermeable surfaces like metal or plastic, so they can be easily […]

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February 9, 2009

Previewing Pest Management Conference

With the 25th annual Pest Management Conference taking place next week, here’s a look back on all seven Benchrunner Q&A’s in which we featured speakers for the Feb. 19-21 event. Searching For Solutions To Invasives February 3 Lin Schmale, senior director of government relations for the Society of American Florists, discusses what growers can do about invasive pests and pathogens, especially when quarantines are penalizing them and border inspections these days are less than thorough. Overcoming The Language Barrier January 23 Many greenhouse workers are of Hispanic origin and have little or no formal education in plant production. Carlos Bográn, associate professor and Extension specialist at Texas A&M University, shares some tips on presenting simple yet essential knowledge of pest detection and monitoring to a staff that speaks mostly Spanish. Detecting Surprise Diseases January 19 Diseases are always on the move, and it’s impossible to predict which diseases will show […]

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February 3, 2009

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 […]

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