Controlling Echinothrips in Ornamentals without Pesticides: News from the Netherlands.

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How are YOU controlling your Echinothrips? (Photo by Entocare NL).

Echinothrips americanus is an interesting pest in Ontario.  An occasional pest of little concern for some, its presence often plagues others (i.e. cut flower growers). The greenhouse research team at Wageningen University & Research has been working to find reliable, effective biocontrol  strategies for this Echinothrips.

Read on for their latest update on what’s working, and how this applies to Canadian growers.

Continue reading “Controlling Echinothrips in Ornamentals without Pesticides: News from the Netherlands.”

2017 Update: 4 Ways You May Be Killing Your Predatory Mites, and How to Check!

PowerPoint PresentationNote: This is a re-post but contains important information on use of DDVP (dichlorvos) with mite sachets. (See point 4!)

In 2017, 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 all the ways 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).

Continue reading “2017 Update: 4 Ways You May Be Killing Your Predatory Mites, and How to Check!”

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 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).

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

Leafminer control in Ontario’s greenhouse crops -what’s working?

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Fig. 1. Leaf mines on gerbera leaves.

As much as we all hate thrips, there are, frankly, worse problems to have.  And it’s name is Leafminer.  These flies cause just about the ugliest damage we see in floriculture (Fig. 1), and they have incredible pesticide-resistance capabilities. Outbreaks seem to go in cycles, and I’ve had quite a few gerbera and mum crops come across my desk with leafminer this past 2 weeks.

This post covers chemical options (BawHawHawHa!!! Oh… Sorry… I’ll get myself under control now) and non-chemical options for leafminer, as well as how their control fits into the big picture in greenhouse IPM programs.  

Continue reading “Leafminer control in Ontario’s greenhouse crops -what’s working?”

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?”