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CDFA nursery advisory board report

UC demonstrates benefits of a scouting program for insects and mites

"During my first few years as an advisor with Cooperative Extension, I was contacted by a grower who was desperate because he could no longer kill one of his major pests, the twospotted spider mite. Obviously, the first thing I thought of was that there was miticide resistance. I knew in order to assist this grower, I was going to have to investigate his spray program and recommend a good rotational program. On my first visit, the problem was immediately apparent. On the wall outside his office was a routine spray program for a tank mix that included very few miticides, Orthene and fungicides. This tank mix was sprayed on all of his plants every Saturday, and the program was written out for an entire year.

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Hopefully, you can see the issue right away. This kind of pest management program is fraught with problems and doomed to fail. The entire arsenal in his pesticide shed was exceptionally small. It was clear that he needed to increase the number of rotational products immediately. However, that was the least of his problems. Why spray all plants every time? Is every plant in the facility infested? It was clear that the grower needed some assistance in organizing an effective integrated pest management program. The most important components of IPM programs are scouting and basing pest management decisions on monitoring, rather than spraying on a calendar schedule. Therefore, our research group dedicated the time necessary to train the grower and his staff on how best to scout and treat major ornamental pests."

This article, authored by James Bethke, describes the process and some of the results.
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