Spring crops that are “magnets”for certain pests.

aphid_cali_UMAssYou know the old rhyme: “April showers bring May flowers, but what do May flowers bring? Aphids“. Or sometimes it seems that way, anyways, with Spring bedding crops.

To help guide your pest management program this year, our  friends (superiors?) over at Michigan State Extension have released a handy  list of which crops are likely to attract which pests.  Keep reading for more info.

Understanding which plants are likely to attract which pests is important for three reasons. First, it can give your scouts (either in-house or external consultants) a place to focus their efforts on.

summer student pic
Summer students protecting spring plants with mite sachets for the UofG Container Trial.

Second, it can focus where to spend your IPM dollars.  For example, spring crops like zonal geraniums, begonias, torenia, fushia, vinca, petunia and sunpatiens are unlikely to get thrips, so why waste applications of predatory mites here?

Third, it can inform places where you can make preventative treatments to avoid bigger problems later.  For example, Rieger begonias are unlikely to get other pests besides broad mite.  A “one and done” application of an effective miticide can allow you to focus your attention on more challenging crops.

The following list was originally complied by Mark Crossley of Western Michigan IPM (thank you, Mark!!!). However, I’ve made a few of my own additions based on what I’ve seen in Ontario, highlighted in green.

If you’re not doing it already, I highly suggest you make a list like this that’s specific for your own farm.  It can be an incredibly useful tool for planning out your IPM program by “season” and seeing where you need to tweak things. With that in mind, I’ve attached this list as an Excel spreadsheet if you want to print it out or make it your own (list-of-magnet-crops-for-diff-pests_2017). 

Common hosts for top greenhouse insect pests
Aphids Broad mites Western flower thrips Spider mites
Peppers Zonal geraniums Dracaena Tricolor ipomoea
Celosia New Guinea impatiens Ivy geraniums Dracaena
Pansy Thunbergia Ipomoea Mandevilla (other tropical)
Dracaena Torenia Verbena Herbs
Ipomoea Verbena Marigold Chrysanthemums
Salvia Rieger begonias Chrysanthemums Ivy geranium
Sprengeri (Asparagus fern) Scaevola Dahlia Hedera (ivy)
Marigold Angel wing begonia Double impatiens Marigold
Fuchsia Ivy geranium Peppers Dahlia
Ivy and zonal geraniums Buddleia New Guinea impatiens Buddleia
Calibrachoa Solenia Begonias Argyranthemum New guineas
Dahlia Sunpatiens Bidens Thunbergia
Verbena   Verbena  
Summer baskets   Summer baskets
Whitefly Mealybug Scale
Herbs (esp. sage) Tropical plants Tropical plants
Poinsettia Hedera
Lantana Succulents (Sempervivum)
Ipomoea Sedum
Black and blue salvia Pothos
Ivy geranium

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