Taking Out The Top Five Pests

What do mites, aphids, thrips, whiteflies and leafminers have in common? Aside from being a royal pain in the neck, they’re a motley crew that’s undoubtedly called one of your plants home at one time or another.

On a recent visit to the offices of Greenhouse Grower, Bert Wagemans, the ornamental business lead for the lawn and garden team at Syngenta Professional Products, mentioned these infamous five are the top five ornamental pests globally.

“Any pest insect or mite that appears on a top five or 10 listing did not get there by accident,” says Richard Lindquist, senior technical manager for OHP. According to Lindquist, a broad range of host plants can actually have a negative effect on the active ingredients in chemical pesticides that growers use, but a positive one on the pest.

This wide range can give pests exposure to a number of pesticides, giving them an opportunity to develop some toughness, he adds.

The Short Of It

“Early detection is key,” Lindquist says. “This is simple mathematics. I cannot think of any insect or mite control product that will eliminate 100 percent of an insect or mite infestation.” The most effective products will kill most of the problem, but not all of it, so when it comes to starting treatment, the fewer pests the better.

Many growers bypass preventative applications, so scouting and monitoring for pests are of utmost importance.

Along with early detection, Lindquist says many growers need to keep in mind pesticide resistance. “Somewhere in the world there probably is an insect or mite population that is resistant to each of the current active ingredients,” he says. Fortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a pest population resistant to all active ingredients. With that being said, the goal of any control program should be to rotate or alternate products in several mode of action groups.

Mites

When it comes to treating a mite infestation, being under the assumption that the plant canopy is getting thorough coverage is a common mistake for some growers.

“Growers need to utilize more water-sensitive paper or fluorescent dye to check their spray coverage,” says Nancy Rechcigl, Syngenta’s field technical manager who specializes in ornamentals. “It will allow them to see where they are getting the sprays and where they’re not. It will also let them look at the disposition of the spray particles.”

Sampling is another important step in eradicating this pest. Be sure to take leaves from the lower part of the canopy and look at those with a hand lens, says Rechcigl. Because that’s where the mites will typically start out, in the lower canopy first and then they tend to move up. “So when a grower sees them higher up on the plant, it means they already have a pretty good infestation.”

The many life stages of mites are also important to take into account says Keith Santner, technical services manager for Scotts. It’s important to make reapplications for the various stages. Also make the effort to identify the mites properly, because a miticide that works well on two-spotted mites might not have the same desired effect on eriophyid or broad mites, Santner adds.

Lastly, enforce strict sanitation to minimize weeds, which tend to become a preferred safe harbor for mites.

Aphids

Rechcigl says aphids are usually a fairly easy pest to control. Be sure to monitor your crops with yellow cards, she adds.
Marla Faver, field development scientist at BioWorks, Inc., says some growers may not understand that aphids do not have to mate to reproduce and produce live young. Different aphid species feed on different plant parts and may be missed until the population has exploded.

Santner from Scotts adds many insecticides labeled for aphid control work quite well. “If the crop cycle is over eight weeks, then a good choice is to apply one of the systemic neonicotinoids followed by supplemental applications (on an as-needed basis) of a product that contains the active ingredient acephate and/or a synthetic pyrethroid such as bifenthrin.”

Thrips

Santner says first and foremost, growers rely too heavily on one active ingredient to kill thrips (like Spinosad). “In greenhouses, growers could be using insect screen to exclude thrips from entering through ventilation equipment. These screens are not necessarily a cheap investment, but it is one that will exclude virtually all other insect pests and weed seed from entering your greenhouses.

Rechcigl agrees a thrip screen is an investment, but growers can recoup their costs over time by having fewer problems and making fewer applications. Consider a quarantine phase, too, for all incoming plants to help fish out any bad apples.

“It’s important to change your application approach and differentiate between flowering and non-flowering crops,” she says. “Flowering crops require a slightly closer spray in order to get good penetration into the flowers. Total annihilation of this pest can take three to six weeks.

Whiteflies

For whiteflies, the common mistakes growers make are not starting pest control practices early enough in the production cycle and not continuing them throughout the cycle, Faver says. The correct control is often not timed for the stage in the whitefly lifecycle that the control is effective on.”

Whitefly can sneak up on you Rechcigl says. The adult lays quite a few eggs. If you’re not monitoring with sticky cards, the immature stage can build up quickly. It’s important not to rely on nicotinyl compounds as the only management tool. It should be saved, using it as an application at the proper time, after the crop is fully rooted in, she says.

Leafminers

As mentioned with whiteflies, growers are not starting with preventative measures early enough when it comes to leafminers, Rechcigl says. It’s important to do your homework and understand what crops are susceptible to leafminers.

In regard to leafminer treatment, a common mistake some growers may make is not using block treatments of a product, she says. For leafminers, it’s best to make applications for one generation of leafminer before rotating to another product.

Wetting Your Plant

Kathy Conard, marketing manager of Aquatrols, wants growers to get the most out of their pesticides, and wetting agents are a great place to start.

But before you place that order, read the labels on your pesticides to find out if a wetting agent will work in harmony with your pesticide, advises Rechcigl. “Avoid using adjuvants that are labeled as a ‘spreader-sticker,’ particularly for products that have translaminar activity. It prevents the translaminar activity from working properly.”

Conard says wetting agents (media surfactants) can actually help you stretch your applications of soil-directed pesticide drenches. Pesticides are a costly necessity. Research has shown that wetting agents improve the efficacy of soil-drenches by guaranteeing precise placement throughout the soil profile, which means more pesticide solution is distributed uniformly into and throughout the rootzone profile and not running out the bottom of the pot. 

“When complete, uniform leaf coverage is important for foliar pesticide performance, it is recommended that you add a foliar surfactant (spray adjuvant). Foliar surfactants, when added to the spray solution, significantly improve spreading, coverage and penetration of foliar pesticides, even on hard-to-wet leaf surfaces,” Conard adds. “Complete coverage increases performance and reduces the need for follow-up sprays.”

Leave a Reply

More From Insect Control...
Chrysanthemum Aphid

August 22, 2016

How To ID And Manage Black Aphids In Chrysanthemums

Growers in Michigan have recently been reporting a higher presence of this pest. Here are some tips on how to control it.

Read More
Greenhouse Whitefly

August 18, 2016

Vestaron Planning For More Research And Development Of New Bioinsecticides

On the heels of launching Spear-T, its first bioinsecticide, Vestaron has received additional financing that will be used to develop new products with new modes of action.

Read More
BioWorks Mycotrol

August 17, 2016

New Organic Mycoinsecticide From BioWorks Now Registered In Every State

BioWorks’ Mycotrol can be used to manage whitefly, thrips, aphids, and other insects in greenhouses and nurseries.

Read More
Latest Stories
Chrysanthemum Aphid

August 22, 2016

How To ID And Manage Black Aphids In Chrysanthemums

Growers in Michigan have recently been reporting a higher presence of this pest. Here are some tips on how to control it.

Read More
Greenhouse Whitefly

August 18, 2016

Vestaron Planning For More Research And Development Of …

On the heels of launching Spear-T, its first bioinsecticide, Vestaron has received additional financing that will be used to develop new products with new modes of action.

Read More
BioWorks Mycotrol

August 17, 2016

New Organic Mycoinsecticide From BioWorks Now Registere…

BioWorks’ Mycotrol can be used to manage whitefly, thrips, aphids, and other insects in greenhouses and nurseries.

Read More
Poinsettia, Heavy Whitefly Infestation -Lower Leaves, Insect - Feature

August 3, 2016

Tips For Successful Late-Season Whitefly Control

Managing late-season whiteflies successfully on poinsettia requires preventative measures put in to action early in the production cycle.

Read More
Aphids On Older Leaves

July 25, 2016

How You Can Stop Aphids By Understanding Their Interact…

Knowing which aphids target which crops and how aphids colonize and move on plants goes a long way toward setting up an effective management plan.

Read More
Eretmocerus eremicus adult, Parasitic Wasp

July 2, 2016

Beneficial Predators Can Help Control Whiteflies On Poi…

Whitefly infestations are a reccuring problem that often plagues poinsettia growers. Successfully keep them in check by letting beneficial predators take the work out of pest control.

Read More
Greenhouse Whitefly

June 26, 2016

Michigan State University Offers Tips On Whitefly Manag…

Whiteflies are making headlines in Florida, but they are found across the U.S. Michigan State experts say it’s important to know how to manage each type of whitefly.

Read More
Whitefly

June 2, 2016

Breaking News: Florida Growers Reporting Major Whitefly…

Reports have come from the Florida Keys to Palm Beach County that whitefly populations in landscapes are reaching unprecedented levels and are not responding to pesticide applications. Biotype-Q has been found in four different communities. University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Science researchers are working with USDA-APHIS, USDA-ARS, the Florida Department of Agriculture, and growers and landscape professionals to manage the developing problem.

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