All posts by Erfan Vafaie

IOBC Canada 2017 – Speaker Summaries

The International Organization for Biological Control (Nearctic Region and West Palearctic Regional Section) had a meeting in Niagara Falls (Ontario) from June 4th – 8th, 2017. Below is a list of the talks that I took notes for. When the notes for that talk are published, the title will become a clickable link. Since there were many talks and I need to gather my notes into coherent ideas presented by the speakers, I will be publishing notes progressively over time. Check back later if a title you are interested below is not yet posted.

Monday, June 5th, 2017

Title Speaker
Biological control in greenhouse IPM systems: Where we’ve been, where we are, and where we need to go? Michael Brownbridge, Vineland Research & Innovation Centre
Session: Innovative Strategies that Enhance Biological Control
Innovative strategies that enhance the cost-effectiveness, reliability and efficacy of arthropod-based biocontrol in greenhouse crops Shimon Steinberg
What secret holds the fog? Testing the fate of biologicals from the nozzle to the plant surface Michael Brownbridge, Vineland Research & Innovation Center
A new method for loading predatory mites with entomopathogenic fungi for biocontrol of their prey Gongyu Lin, Institut de recherche en biologie végétale de l’Université de Montréal
Modifying the expression of plant volatiles to affect the behaviour of greenhouse insect pests Ian Scott
Plant-provided food increases indirect defence through manipulation of a mutualism Pete Nelson
Efficiency of different biocontrol agents to control Tetranychus urticae on greenhouse pepper crops S. A. El Arnaouty
Evaluation of maize/Banks grass mite (Oligonychus pratensis) banker plant system in tomato Carol Glenister
Which is the best strategy against foxglove aphid? Michelangelo La Spina
Euphodes americanus and Leucopis annulipos as potential BCAs of foxglove aphid at low temperatures Marc Fournier
Standardization of a mass-rearing system of Apanteles gelechiidivoris Marsh (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) Jessica Morales
Foraging and egg-laying behaviour of the coccinellid predator Rhyzobius lophanthae Marjolein Kruidhof
Improved monitoring of vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus) adults Tom Pope
A ‘little and often’ system for application of entomopathogenic nematodes for vine weevil control Jude Bennison

Continue reading IOBC Canada 2017 – Speaker Summaries

IOBC Canada 2017 – Part I

Go back to Monday’s Agenda

Biological control in greenhouse IPM systems: Where we’ve been, where we are, and where we need to go?
by Michael Brownbridge

Greenhouse production:

  • Unique production environment
  • Many variables within the production system: crop, pest, production practices, and external environmental factors

Talk is on where Michael believes many of the challenges in biological control are (Canadian/NA perspective)

Continue reading IOBC Canada 2017 – Part I

Biocontrols Conference – Advanced Biocontrol Workshop Notes


Doug Barrow

Biological Crop Protection Specialist, Biobest USA Inc.

Kelly Vance

Technical Support, Beneficial Insectary

Ronald Valentin

Technical Lead, Bioline AgroSciences

Suzanne Wainwright-Evans

Ornamental Entomologist, Buglady Consulting

Tim Engelkes

R&D Entomology, Koppert Biological Systems Inc.

Continue reading Biocontrols Conference – Advanced Biocontrol Workshop Notes

Notes from BWI Grower Seminar

A seminar for greenhouse and nursery growers was recently held in Buda TX (01/24/2017) and Tyler TX (01/25/2017). Summary notes and relevant resources related to the talks can be found below.


Plant Protection of Insect and Mite Pests

by Dr. Raymond Cloyd

Minimizing Disease Preventatively: The role of the environment

by Dr. Ann Chase

Best Rotation Programs to Avoid Resistance

by Dr. Raymond Cloyd

Preventative vs Curative Fungicides and Rotations

by Dr. Ann Chase

Laws & Regulations

by Ms. Morgan Scott/Ms. Katherine Newton

Continue reading Notes from BWI Grower Seminar

Notes from Nursery Greenhouse and Turf Continuing Education Conference

Summaries below were based on notes taken from the Nursery Greenhouse and Turf Continuing Education Conference, held in Tyler, TX (June 21, 2016), put on by Helena Chemical Company.


Herbicide Fate

by Dr. Brad Shaver

Incorporating Biopesticides into a Conventional Program

by Dr. Debbie Sanders

Overview of Revisions to EPA’s Agricultural Worker Protection Standard

by Mark Evans

Mites & Pest Management on Ornamentals

by Dr. Carlos Bogran

Interpreting Pesticide Labels and Sprayer Calibration

by Dr. Casey Reynolds

Continue reading Notes from Nursery Greenhouse and Turf Continuing Education Conference

Chris Knight – Ext. Demonstration Tech

Christopher Knight is a graduate from Texas Tech University with a B.Sc. in Horticulture and Turfgrass Science, where he was a member of the Honor Society for Ornamental Horticulture (Pi Alpha xi).  He previously worked for the Texas Tech University Library and currently works part-time for the Tyler Junior College library, providing him with the skills required to conduct literature research and shush disruptive library pests. Mr. Knight also spent time as a Lawn Specialist for TruGreen, the nations largest lawn company, giving him practical experiencing in landscaping and working with ornamentals.  Mr. Knight enjoys spending his free time hunting and fishing, as well as continuing as a hobbyist horticulturalist.       

 Mr. Knight will be assisting with research on the crapemyrtle bark scale this summer, as well as assisting in projects to test the impact of new pesticides on plant health and insect management.


Extension Demonstration Tech – Adolfo Nieto

Adolfo Nieto is a recent graduate from The University of Texas at Tyler with a bachelors in Biology. As an undergraduate, he began his career as a researcher through the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in a project to design non-invasive sampling methods to identify the virology involved in Colony Collapse Disorder of native bumblebees. He has a deep felt passion for conservation and hopes his enthusiasm transcends through his work at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Extension Center in Overton, Texas where he will be involved in several projects targeted at prevention and management of invasive insect species such as the crape myrtle bark scale and conduct work on pollinator attractiveness to different flowers. Adolfo is happy to be part of such a great team and looks forward to facing the challenges and opportunities future research will bring.  


The Genetically Modified Mosquito

I was recently asked a series of questions on the release of the genetically modified mosquito produced by Oxitec. Snippets of my responses were published in a Forbes Opinion Article entitled “You can help stop these deadly mosquitoes“, written by Kavin Senapathy, who also asks a number of other scientists questions related to the potential release of the Oxitec Mosquito in the Florida Keys .

Here is my email below:

Do the benefits of the pilot release of Oxitec mosquitoes in the Florida Keys outweigh the risks? What are the real risks, and how do they compare with public perception of the risks?

Continue reading The Genetically Modified Mosquito