British grower manages pests naturally using IPM

In its large scale production of ornamental plants, Lovania Nurseries uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM), managing pests naturally, which is a bio-friendly approach to growing that focuses on managing insects, weeds and disease through a combination of cultural, physical, biological and chemical methods. These methods need to be cost effective, environmentally friendly and socially acceptable. One of our main IPM strategies is the natural use of biological controls. These come under 3 categories predators, parasites and pathogens some of which are shown below.

by Steve Massam

Aphidius colemani and Aphidius ervi are parasitoids of aphids which are very effective for the prevention and low-infestation management of various aphid species. These 2-3 millimetre mini-wasps are best used for preventing the establishment of more than 40 species of aphids. They can also tackle light to medium infestations. And, if established, they can adequately protect a crop throughout the season. They are difficult to spot on the crop and very unlikely to travel with the plants to the customer.

Aphidoletes aphidimyza is a midge whose larvae feed on over 70 aphid species, including the green peach aphid. It is the larval stage which feeds on aphids and may be spotted amongst aphid infestations. Adults are around 2.5mm in length whereas larvae are 0.3mm too 2mm long making them difficult to spot in crops.

Atheta coriaria can be used in crops such as herbs and ornamentals to protect against soil and compost pests. It is a generalist feeder, but adults and young stages are particularly good at feeding on the larvae of fungus gnats.

Amblyseius andersoni, Amblyseius californicus, Phytoseiulus persimilus are used to control spider mites, all working in slightly different ways with different feeding habits. Each species has its preferred temperatures so using them together can be a very useful tool in controlling spider mites. They can be difficult to spot without a hand lens and are unlikely to be seen on harvested crops as they prefer temperatures of >15 degrees.

A.cucumeris is a predatory mite that is useful for the prevention, control, and management of various thrips species. A. cucumeris are tough, flexible predators that happen to prefer thrips, mostly the immature thrips stages.

A.montdorensis is a predatory mite that feeds on many types of small arthropod prey and pollen. It is ideal for preventive control of whitefly and thrips in greenhouses. A.montdorensis is active at a broader range of temperatures than other predatory mites, making it perfect for controlling pests in challenging environmental conditions. A.swirskii is similar but needs slightly higher temperatures to perform effectively.

Steinernema kraussei is an entomopathogenic nematode (EPN: EPNs possess many desirable characteristics, such as searching ability of hosts, safety to nontarget organisms and the potential to survive in the environment. Nematode-based commercial products have become available for use against several pests all over the world during the past decade), which is supplied as infective juveniles that seek out their host. It is used to control black vine weevil larvae in ornamentals and berries. These nematodes can only be found with a strong microscope due to their size.

These 2 parasitic wasps control the younger larvae of glasshouse whitefly and tobacco whitefly by host feeding and the older larva of whitefly by parasitism. The wasps are approximately 0.6mm long and are unlikely to travel on the crop once harvested.

Read more at Home Grown

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