Growing flowering plants that are safe for pollinators in the yard and garden

Protecting your pollinatorsA presentation delivered by Dr. David Smitley from Michigan State University (Department of Entomology) on “Growing Flowering Plants that are Safe for Pollinators in the Yard and Garden” presented at the 19th Annual Ornamental Workshop on Diseases and Insects. The presentation focuses primarily on neonicotinoids, which have received a lot of media and public attention recently. (Sharing with permission from Dr. Smitley).

‘Natural’ Pesticides – Softer on good insects?

There is an increasing trend towards organic and natural products – from food, cosmetics, and even down to the choice in pesticides. It’s not uncommon for people to lean towards or prefer a pesticide that is ‘natural’. After all, an unnatural pesticide will be more harmful, right? However, there’s a discrepancy between perceived safety of ‘natural’ and the reality. For starters, there seems to be no regulation on the word “natural”. As the FDA puts it,

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Crape myrtle bark scale efficacy trial

Summary:

Efficacy of a horticultural oil + insect growth regulator mix (SuffOil-X + Molt-X) and two imidacloprid formulations (Bayer Tree and Shrub; Fertilome Tree & Shrub Systemic Insect Drench) were tested for control of bark scale (Eriococcus lagerostroemia) on crapemyrtles at LeTourneau University. There was a trend towards decreasing alive scales and decreasing alive:dead scale ratio with time, especially by the fifth week in all treatments (including the control). The systemic insecticides (imidacloprid) demonstrated a decrease in alive:dead scale ratio two weeks after treatment, whereas contact treatments showed a decrease one week after treatment (horticultural oil + insect growth regulator). Since the control also showed decrease in scale populations, in some cases before other treatments, the efficacy of the insecticides studied here are inconclusive.

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What bugs are eating your money? Main culprits, new invasives and how we can stop them from eating your crops

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 3.32.12 PMOriginally created for the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association 2014 Expo, this presentation outlines five common pests found in greenhouse ornamentals and turf crops, how to monitor them and management strategies, as well as informing growers about new invasive insects they should keep their eyes open for.

Spotted Wing Drosophila in Texas

Snapshot:

Drosophila suzukii, Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD), is an invasive pest that attacks several soft-bodied fruit, such as cherries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and grapes.  Similar in size to the common fruit fly, except the females have a serrated ovipositor (organ used for depositing eggs), allowing them to lay eggs in fruit just before harvest.  As a result, the fruit can be unfit for fresh markets by the time they are harvested, resulting in crop loss.  If you would like to send samples to confirm SWD identification, please use the spotted wing drosophila submission form.

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Monitoring Crape myrtles for crape myrtle bark scale in McKinney

On June 24th and 25th (2014), a number of Texas A&M AgriLife personnel set out to McKinney to collect data on susceptibility of different varieties of crape myrtles to the new invasive pest, crape myrtle bark scale (CMBS).  McKinney is home to over 114 varieties of crape myrtles from all over the world, making it a great site to investigate the preference of CMBS for certain cultivars and varieties.  Follow the gallery below to see how the research was carried out.

 

Why and How Aphids Suck

Why and How aphids suckThere are thousands of species of aphids and any grower that tells you they don’t have them must not get out much.  Aphids reproduce at an alarming rate, with newborn aphids already developing embryos the moment they are born.  Apparently they are in a rush!  This is a 30-minute slideshow on aphids and their control.

 

 

 

 

 

Spotted Wing Drosophila

Fly on a cherryA short presentation on Spotted Wing Drosophila, Drosophila suzukii, which is a new pest to North America (2008).  It is a new pest to many soft-bodied fruit, such as cherries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.  If you think you may have Spotted Wing Drosophila in your crop, be sure to contact me and send a sample if possible.