4 Ways You May Be Killing Your Predatory Mites, and How to Check!

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 consultants, we found out the horrible truth: their predatory mites were being MURDERED (Duh dun DUHNNN!)… By improper storage.

This post focuses on whether YOU might also be guilty of mite murder, and how to make sure your mites are still alive and kicking in those little sachets.

(And yes, I’ve stooped to the level of click-bait titles).

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Posted in biological control, Climate, compatibility with pesticides, Predatory mites, Thrips | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Fainting “Freedom Red”? Wilting “Whitestar”? Potential causes of Poinsettia collapse, solutions, and the importance of testing.

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Wilting  of a poinsettia plant on a bench of otherwise healthy plants could be Pythium root rot. But then again, it might not…

From now until mid-November is when you’ll most likely see plant losses in poinsettia due to severe wilting. These losses can be considerable: anywhere from 2-15% in Niagara operations in past years, with disease pressure seeming especially high this year.

Pythium may be considered the most “likely” culprit in Poinsettia in this area, but this isn’t always the case, and misdiagnosis can mean wasted fungicide applications. Read on for a list of likely suspects and appropriate control measures.

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Posted in biopesticides, diseases, Fungal diseases, Fungicides, Poinsettia, Pythium, Thielaviopsis | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Attention IPM Scouts: a brief guide to hand lenses.

HandlensEver wonder if you’re using the best hand lens for the job to investigate pests in your greenhouse?  Curious about the pros/cons of different styles?  Then read the following post from our friends at Penn State:

http://sites.psu.edu/frost/2017/09/05/a-brief-guide-to-hand-lenses/

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Demonstration Day – Best Management Practices for Outdoor Mum and Hydrangea Growers

Calling all outdoor chrysanthemum and hydrangea growers! Do you currently produce these crops outdoors during the summer months?  Would you like to learn more about how adjusting your fertilizer program could potentially lead to savings while maintaining the quality of the crop? How about learning about how to best manage your water and fertilizer program in an outdoor setting? Continue reading

Posted in Events, Plant nutrition, Plant production | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be part of a conversation that matters: farmer mental health.

healthUntil recently, there wasn’t data about the mental health of Canadian farmers.  Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton and PhD Candidate Briana Hagen of the Ontario Veterinary College are changing that.  Please consider making time to participate in this worthwhile project. Read on for how to take part.

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Thinking ahead: What you can do THIS WEEK to prevent Lewis mite damage in your poinsettias.

2016 turned out to be a bad year for Lewis mite (Eotetranychus lewisi) in poinsettia.  Although it’s too early to say how 2017 is going to go, you should be considering possible preventative measures THIS WEEK for Lewis mite, especially if you have a history of Lewis mite with your cuttings. Treatment of this pest is more difficult later in the crop (though not impossible).  Keep reading for biological and chemical control options for this pest.

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Lewis mite, a species of spider mite, can cause major crop losses if left uncontrolled.

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Posted in Bemisia whitefly, Lewis mite, Pest control strategies, Poinsettia, Preventative treatments | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Update on foxglove aphid control: seeking greenhouse collaborators!

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Investigating biocontrol options for our industry is always important, given the lack of registered insecticides in this country.   Currently, we are relying heavily on two closely related chemicals –  Beleaf (flonicamid) and Endeavor (pymetrozine) – for control of the foxglove aphid (Aulacorthum solani).  If our battle with thrips (and Bemisia whitefly) have taught us anything, it’s to be prepared for chemical failure.

Unfortunately, biological control of foxglove aphid has been challenging so far.  For example, my own research showed that Aphidoletes, a “generalist” aphid predator, actually has lower preference for foxglove aphid than other species, and is less effective for this pest. However, a long-term project by Dr. Michelangelo La-Spina (Vineland Research and Innovation Centre) has found some results that get us closer to being able to control foxglove aphid WITHOUT resorting to pesticide sprays.

One way YOU can help move this research forward is by filling in this quick, 10 question survey if you’re a grower (even if you’ve never had problems with foxglove aphid before).  Read on for more details on exactly what Dr. La-Spina has found.

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Posted in Aphid control, Aphids, biological control, Foxglove aphid | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment