Managing Million Bells, 2017 Updates

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Rooted Calibrachoa plugs. Photo from jparkers.co.uk

It’s that time of year again, when unrooted cuttings or rooted plug trays of Million Bells (Calibrachoa) are first arriving in the greenhouse.  

When they go right, Calibrachoa are a relatively easy, staple spring crop.  However, when million bells go bad, they go bad BIG time.

To help your crop turn out this year, Chevonne and I have compiled some info on how to prevent and deal with common issues in Callies.

Continue reading “Managing Million Bells, 2017 Updates”

4 Ways You’re Accidentally Killing Your Predatory Mites!

PowerPoint PresentationNOTE: This is a re-post because it now comes with an awesome new video of how to monitor you mite sachets! 

Recently, I had an interaction with a grower where their long-standing biocontrol program for thrips suddenly seemed to be failing. After a (too long) investigation by  myself, the grower, and several consultants, we found out the horrible truth: their predatory mite were being MURDERED (Duh dun DUHNNN!)… By improper storage.

This post focuses on whether YOU might also be guilty of mite murder. (And yes, I’ve stooped to the level of click-bait titles).

Special thanks to Graeme Murphy (BioLogical Consulting)  Dave Neal (Koppert), Rose Buitenhuis (Vineland Research and Innovation Centre) and especially Ronald Valentin (BioWorks) for all their knowledge that went into this post!

Continue reading “4 Ways You’re Accidentally Killing Your Predatory Mites!”

“Sticking” it to high populations of thrips in greenhouse crops.

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Can patterned tapes significantly improve thrips catches?

You’ve likely noticed by now that thrips populations are especially high because of the hot, dry summer. Many growers are noticing their usual biocontrol programs can’t keep up, and further defenses are needed this year.

The use of mass trapping strategies may be the key to getting an edge over thrips. This post discusses the latest research on mass trapping of thrips in ornamentals, including patterned sticky tapes and the use of pheromones.  

Continue reading ““Sticking” it to high populations of thrips in greenhouse crops.”

Where do thrips come from? YOUR MUM(s).

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Thrips damage on mums.

Hopefully my bad attempt at a “Your Momma” joke will get your attention, because this is an important post.

Ongoing research by Rose Buitenhuis’ Lab at Vineland has shown that an incredible number of thrips and spider mites come in on imported mum cuttings. Here’s the scoop and what you can do about it.

 

Continue reading “Where do thrips come from? YOUR MUM(s).”

Ramping up thrips biocontrol BEFORE they get out of control!

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Western flower thrips adult on an open Mandevilla flower.  Photo credit: Caitlin MacDonald, USEL student.

Now that the warm weather is finally upon us, it’s time to start worrying about thrips control.

What we’ve learned over the years is that pesticides just don’t cut it – the only reliable chemical for western flower thrips in Ontario is DDVP, which requires constant application.  This means biological control is your best bet.  Here’s a summary of the most effective tools, tricks, and timing, to ensure your biocontrol dollars are well spent.

Continue reading “Ramping up thrips biocontrol BEFORE they get out of control!”

Can you safely mix nematodes and pesticides?

Entomopathogenic nematodes – used to control fungus gnats, shoreflies and thrips – are often a “gateway bio” into biocontrol use in greenhouses.  This is because not only are they effective and easy to use, but they’re generally compatible with insecticide use.   Readily applied with regular spray equipment or through drip lines, nematodes can even be tanked mixed with pesticides to save on labour costs.

In this post, I’ll share some of my research at NC State, looking at which commonly used pesticides in Canadian and U.S. greenhouses are safe to use with nematodes.

Continue reading “Can you safely mix nematodes and pesticides?”

Snack attack: how to help prevent your thrips bios from eating one another

Effective biocontrol programs for western flower thrips often use multiple natural enemies.  These include predatory mites like N. cucumeris or A. swirskii, but also  generalist predators like Atheta and Orius, which can feed on mite eggs and nymphs.

So, how can you make sure your generalist predators aren’t just eating all your predatory mites, instead of your thrips? Continue reading “Snack attack: how to help prevent your thrips bios from eating one another”

Thrips workshop info up on web

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The most current information on thrips and whitefly IPM is now at your fingertips at greenhouseipm.org.

For those of you who weren’t able to attend Vineland’s in-depth Thrips IPM Workshops this November, all the 411 is now up on GreenhouseIPM.org.

Here are the things you missed:

Preventing thrips ;  Controlling thrips in propagation ; Monitoring for thrips successfully ; Improving mass-trapping with lures ; Using mites effectively ; Biopesticides for thrips ;How to keep your thrips bios happy ; Checking the quality of your bios ; Controlling thrips with pesticides? ; Thrips case-study in mums ; Economics of thrips biocontrol ; Effects of fertilizers and biostimulants on thrips

Got thrips? Check out this exciting new resource!

It’s an exciting time for Floriculture IPM!  I am VERY pleased to announce the launch of the all new GreenhouseIPM website! GreenhouseIPM.org presents a compilation of up-to-date information on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and biological control  in greenhouses.

And, as part of the website launch, we are holding a  FREE THRIPS WORKSHOP (with a free lunch!).  The workshop will cover all the components of thrips IPM and how they fit into a greenhouse production system.

Dates are Nov 23rd (8:30-1pm) OR Nov 30th (8:30-1pm) at Rittenhouse Hall.  Please RSVP Rose Buitenhuis: (rose.buitenhuis@vinelandresearch.com or 905-562-0320 x749).  SPACE IS LIMITED SO RESERVE YOUR SPOT NOW!

The most current information on thrips and whitefly IPM is now at your fingertips at greenhouseipm.org.

GreenhouseIPM.org provides detailed descriptions of pests, biocontrol agents  and detailed instructions on how best to use biocontrols within an IPM program.

Its initial format it focuses on two key pests – whiteflies and thrips – and their control. The site will evolve to encompass all common insect and mite pests, as well as diseases, in greenhouse crops.