Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bigger is not always better...

New research out of London is showing that just because you have a bigger brain does not mean that you are necessarily smarter. They are working with insects to show just how intelligent they are. Read on here at Science Daily.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bed Bug Identification for Travelers

Worried about bed bugs when you travel? Well now there is a tool to help you out. The "Bed bug identifier" is now available on iTunes for just $4.99. It includes photos of the different life stages, where to look for bed bugs in your hotel room, tips, insects that look like bed bugs and more...
Bed Bug Itunes app.

Want to learn more about bed bugs?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Kinder, Gentler Spider Eats Veggies, Cares for Kids

Who knew there was a vegetarian spider, Bagheera kiplingi. From Central America, it feeds on Acacia trees and helps care for its young, very unheard of in the spider world. Read more here

IPM celebrates 50 years!

Fifty years ago in October, four pioneering University of California scientists outlined a new way of thinking about pest control, establishing a pest management framework that changed the way the world farms.

Read the rest in California Agriculture magazine "The 50th anniversary of a great idea"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Name change for Hypoaspis miles

Time for yet another name change for one of the good guys. Hypoaspis miles, commonly called the soil dwelling mite, is now going to be called Stratiolaelaps scimitus. This mite is used for control of fungus gnats and western flower thrips. Photo from Syngenta Bioline

Where can you buy Stratiolaelaps scimitus (Hypoaspis miles) ? Syngenta Bioline, Applied Bionomics, BioBest, or Koppert.

Key to Adult females of Species of Stratiolaelaps (from Walter & Campbell 2002)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Texas is looking into the beneficials that work at night...

Entomologist Bob Pfannenstiel and other ARS scientists down in Texas have been looking into beneficials that come out and feed at night. The have been doing this for 8 years now and have discovered many interesting things. Like the Asian cockroach, Blattella asahinai is a predatory on moth eggs. They also found nocturnal cursorial spiders to be moth egg predators as well. Learn more by reading the article on the ARS USDA website! Working After Hours A Nighttime View of Insect Predation

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Syngenta to boost pollinators across Europe

Syngenta (based in Basel, Switzerland) is rolling out a 5 year plan to help provide habitat and food sources for pollinating insects across Europe. Operation Pollinator is based on the success of Operation Bumblebee in the United Kingdom. Within three years, this Syngenta project increased bee populations up to 600% and contributed to the regeneration of rare species such as Bombus ruderatus, previously on the verge of extinction. Read more...Operation Pollinator

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Koppert launches biological control in Ecuador

Koppert, one of the worlds largest producers of beneficial insects and mites is opening a new facility in Ecuador. It will be called Koppert Ecuador Cia. Ltda.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Diaprepes root weevil

Diaprepes root weevil have been a problem in Florida and Texas for many years. Now they have shown up in California. Luckily there are a few different treatment options available from pesticides to biological control (using beneficial nematodes). University of California has put together an excellent article with all this information. Diaprepes root weevil, a new California pest, will raise costs for pest control and trigger quarantines.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Happy National Pollinator Week!!

Beeing (hahah) its National Pollinator Week thought I put up some links to some cool website. Like Save the Bumblebees, It has links to keys and other helpful information.

Looking for images of bumblebees? Check out Bug Guides image gallery for the genus Bombus.

Another cool site on pollinators. North American Pollinators Protection Campaign.

and The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign and The Pollinator Partnership

Amblyseius (Typhlodromips) swirskii

Amblyseius (Typhlodromips) swirskii is becoming more and more important in the world of biological control. It is being used not only to control whiteflies and western flower thrips it is also being used to control chilli thrips, a pest that can be quite difficult to control. BioBest has put together a great fact sheet on swirskii and how to use it. Follow this link to read this helpful piece of literature. Swirskii-System

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Plant parasitic nematodes better watch out!

After many years of waiting, Pasteuria usgae is now registered with the EPA. Pasteuria Bioscience developed the technology to be able to rear the Pasteuria on a large economically feasible scale. This fungus is looking to be among the most promising biological agents for control of plant-parasitic nematodes. Read more....

Friday, June 5, 2009

New Weapon in the Deer Tick War

Cornell Cooperative Extension is now testing a new deer feeder on Shelter Island. It's a feeder that passively applies a tickicide to the deer's head and neck as they feed. This will kill the deer ticks that vector lymes diseases. Read more....

Floriculture Sector and Vineland Research and Innovation Centre Partner to Establish Biocontrol Research Program

Looks like Canadian growers are being very proactive in furthering the research on biological control. Floriculture producers in Ontario have made a four-year $200,000 commitment to partner with Vineland Research and Innovation Centre establishing a biocontrol research program. Read more.....

New EAB Insecticide Bulletin is Available Now

Looking for the most up to date info on Emerald Ash Borer? There is now a downloadable piece of literature that will provide you with all the information you need.

Insecticide Options for Protecting Ash Trees From Emerald Ash Borer

More emerald ash borer (EAB)

Ottawa, June 4, 2009 – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) hasconfirmed the presence of the emerald ash borer (EAB) in Welland,Ontario. The infested trees are located in the Carl Road and Darby Roadarea. The emerald ash borer poses no risk to human or animal health.The CFIA will be carrying out increased surveying of trees in the areato determine the extent of the infestation. Affected property ownerswill be notified. Regulatory measures to control this pest will be takenbased on information obtained through the surveys.

Catnip driving away pest ladybugs

From the Agricultural Research Service, USDA Multicolored Asian lady beetles are appreciated by farmers and home gardeners alike--until the pest-eating insects decide to spend the winter indoors. The beetle, Harmonia axyridis, becomes a nuisance insect upon entering homes to escape the cold, sometimes in huge numbers. When threatened, it releases a yellow liquid that, while nontoxic, smells foul and produces stains. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have sought to develop beetle-friendly methods of keeping the helpful predators outside where they belong. Most recently, ARS entomologist Eric Riddick and colleagues in Stoneville, Miss., in collaboration with ARS natural product chemist Kamal Chauhan at Beltsville, Md., tested compounds in catnip oil that naturally repel the beetles, causing them to fly off, stop crawling, move back or turn away. In studies at the ARS Biological Control of Pests Research Unit in Stoneville, 95 percent of adult male and female lady beetles altered their course upon encountering filter paper impregnated with the highest of three doses of the catnip compound nepetalactone. The researchers chose nepetalactone because it had previously been shown to repel some species of cockroaches, flies, termites and mosquitoes. They also tested nootkatone (a grapefruit extract), iridomyrmecin (another catnip oil compound), and other plant-based repellents, but none performed as well as nepetalactone. Turning away--more so than the three other avoidance behaviors--characterized the beetles' response to the compound, report Riddick and colleagues in a recent issue of the Bulletin of Insectology ( Ultimately, such observations could lead to a "push-pull strategy," combining repellents that deter lady beetles from entering a home's cracks and crevices with traps that lure the predators to an attractant for collection and release elsewhere. According to Riddick, the push-pull strategy offers a friendlier alternative to insecticide spraying and preserves the insects' usefulness as efficient predators of aphids, scale and other soft-bodied arthropods that damage plants.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Beetles Are Inspiration for Coatings

Ever wonder how how beetles that live in dry areas get water to drink? This video shows how. It also talks about how Scientists at M.I.T. are using this information to develop spray coatings. Super Cool! Read more

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Escargot anyone? Eleven-year-old Fin Keheler let 43 slimy snails crawl trying to set the Guinness World Record. Read more

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bee Decline

Preliminary Results: A Survey of Honey Bee Colonies Losses in the U.S. Between September 2008 and April 2009.

The Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and USDA-ARS Beltsville Honey Bee Lab conducted a survey between September 2008 and early April 2009 to estimate colony loses across the country. Over 20% of the country’s estimated 2.3 million colonies were surveyed. A total loss of 28.6% of managed honey bee colonies was recorded. This compares to losses of 35.8% and 31.8% recorded respectively in the winters of 2007/2008 and 2006/2007. While a decrease in total losses is encouraging, the rate of loss remains unsustainable as the average operational loss increased from 31% in 2007/2008 to 34.2% in the 2008/2009 winter. Read on

Monday, May 18, 2009

U.S. organic sales grow by a whopping 17.1 percent in 2008

From the Organic Trade Association. U.S. sales of organic products, both food and non-food, reached $24.6 billion by the end of 2008, growing an impressive 17.1 percent over 2007 sales despite tough economic times, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), which today made available final results from its 2009 Organic Industry Survey. Read whole article

Emerald ash borer has been found in Minnesota

The emerald ash borer has been found in Minnesota, posing a critical threat to the state's 900 million ash trees.
To learn more read here...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Music For Pest Managment

I have never been a Led Zeppelin fan so it looks like morman crickets and I have something in common. Residents of Tuscarora, Nevada have been playing Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones tunes to help drive these pesky crickets away. This is a truely a great way to control pests without pesticides. Read more....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Slugs in Oregon

Here is a useful video on slugs produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting. It is a Field Guide Video on Slugs. Robin Rosetta, an Associate Professor at Oregon State University and is one of the leaders in the US on snail and slug issues, especially invasive ones. She provides helpful information in the video.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Orchid Mealybug

And another new pest insect... Orchid Mealybug, Pseudococcus dendrobiorum Williams (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) was collected on March 27, 2009 off of an Phalaenopsis orchid in Florida and was identified on April 2, 2009. This is new to this hemosphere and to the continental US.

DESCRIPTION: (from the Florida DPI Website) Adults and immatures of this mealybug are grayish-pink in color. Wax filaments are present around the entire body, with the two or three pairs of filaments at the tip of the abdomen being slightly longer than the rest. A patch of white waxy secretion is often present on the roots surrounding the mealybug. See images here

HOSTS: restricted to the following members of the Orchidaceae: Ascoglossum sp., Cymbidium sp., Dendrobium sp., Phalaenopsis sp., Pholidota sp. and Promatocalpum species.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Plants Taking Up Antibiotics From Manures

A study has shown that antibiotics commonly added to animal feed can be taken up by plants that use manures for fertilization. In one study the test crops were corn (Zea mays L.), green onion (Allium cepa L.), and cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. Capitata group). Scientists found the higher the concentration in the manure, the higher the antibiotic levels were in the plants. Other research has looked at potato crops. That work found antibiotics in the potato tubers, which suggests that root crops which are directly in contact with soil may be particularly vulnerable to antibiotic contamination.

Antibiotic Uptake by Plants from Soil Fertilized with Animal Man

Plants uptake antibiotics

Crops absorb livestock antibiotics, science shows

Antibiotic Uptake by Plants from Soil Fertilized with Animal Manure

U.S. National Arboretum is "going green"

I think leading by example is an excellent idea... and it looks like the government is trying to do that. The U.S. National Arboretum installed its first solar-powered drip irrigation system that will save electricity and water at the 446-acre facility. It is run by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Washington, DC.

Read more here

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Evaluation of predatory mites Neoseiulus cucumeris and Amblyseius swirskii for control of Chilli thrips.

The USDA ARS has posted reserach results from work being done on Chilli thrips, Scirtothrips dorsalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). The work was done on peppers using Neoseiulus cucumeris and Amblyseius swirskii (Acari: Phytoseiidae). Publication Date: January 20, 2009

Interpretive Summary: The invasive chilli thrips, Scirtothrips dorsalis, is a polyphagous species known to attack more than 100 recorded hosts from about 40 different families... read more

Technical Abstract: The invasive chilli thrips, Scirtothrips dorsalis Hood poses a significant risk to many food and ornamental crops in the Caribbean, Florida and Texas. We evaluated two species of phytoseiid mite as predators of S. dorsalis.... read more

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Online Training for Retail Employees

The University of California is now offering online training for retail employees on pesticides. It provides a training course for retail and garden center employees and others who advise residents about home and garden pesticides.

EPA Will Mandate Tests On Pesticide Chemicals

From the Washington Post... The Environmental Protection Agency for the first time will require pesticide manufacturers to test 67 chemicals contained in their products to determine whether they disrupt the endocrine system, which regulates animals' and humans' growth, metabolism and reproduction, the agency said yesterday.

Researchers have raised concerns that chemicals released into the environment interfere with animals' hormone systems, citing problems such as male fish in the Potomac River that are bearing eggs. Known as endocrine disruptors, the chemicals may affect the hormones that humans and animals produce or secrete. Read more

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

IPM Twitter Reports

For all of you in the Pacific North West there is a new way to keep up with pest problems using Twitter. The PNW Nursery IPM report will send out updates via Twitter. All you have to do is have a Twitter account and sign up for the updates. Its FREE and easy !
Utah State University Extension IPM also has set Twitter for an IPM Advisor. It is for tree fruit pest advisory information on codling moth, peach twig borer, and fire blight spray timing.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ladybugs - Should you buy them?

With spring arriving many gardeners are looking to be more “green” or even organic. There are many ways to do this but one area many are interested in is pest management. Unfortunately people’s good efforts are not always so eco-friendly. From the time we are young we are told that ladybugs (ladybird beetles) are good, and they are! They are excellent to have in the garden, but the real question is, “should you buy them and release them?”

Buying ladybugs… is it a good idea?

First thing you should think about is where they are coming from. Almost all “red” ladybugs are harvested from the wild. In the Spring, as the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys warm up the ladybugs (Hippodamia convergens) migrate to the Sierra Nevada foothills. There, they congregate in large numbers on the forest floors. Businesses then come along and scoop up the beetles, removing them from their native habitat. They are then taken to coolers for storage until they are to be shipped. So, why is this an issue?

  • It removes ladybugs from their native habitat.

  • Once released most will not stick around, they leave, providing little or no control.

  • A percent of the ladybugs may be parasitized by a small wasp, Dinocampus coccinellae. It develops as an internal parasite of lady beetles and kills them. Research has shown this to be an issue. A study found on average 8% of the ladybugs purchased by researchers carried parasites.*

  • Microsporidia, a disease of ladybugs, was also detected in individuals from 13 of 22* shipments in these studies.

So by releasing infected ladybird beetles you may be spreading these parasites and diseases. It’s much more effective and eco-friendly to attract them in naturally with organically** grown plants like, dill, yarrow, sunflowers, angelica, and other assorted flowering plants. If you want to do a release of beneficial insects, release laboratory reared ones. An excellent option to ladybugs are green lacewings. The larva of green lacewings will do an excellent job of feeding on plant pests such as aphids, mealybug crawlers, scale crawlers and other garden pests. They are commercially available from Beneficial Insectary.

*Natural enemies of the convergent lady beetle, Hippodamia convergens Guérin-Méneville: Their inadvertent importation and potential significance for augmentative biological control. S. Bjørnson Department of Biology, Saint Mary’s University, 923 Robie Street, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 3C3 Abstract
** Organically grown plants will not have harsh pesticide residue on them that can kill the beneficials. They will also not have systemic pesticides inside of them that can not be washed off.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Growing a Greener World Podcast

Here is my latest guest appearance on the Growing a Greener World with Joe Lamp’l podcast. We talk about some of those summer garden pests and how to deal with them. Be sure to swing by Joe's site at
And for those that missed it, here is my first appearance on the show where we talk about attracting beneficial insects, Japanese beetle control, beneficial nematodes & new biodegradable planting pots.
Go D'hara

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fire Ants on the Move Again !

Well the fire ants are on the move again.... the USDA has just expanded the fire ant quarantine zone in Oklahoma and Tennessee. Quarantine areas are being established in the following counties of Oklahoma: Atoka, Coal, Cotton, Garvin, Jackson, Jefferson, LeFlore, Murray, Pontotoc, Pushmataha, Stephens and Tillman. In Tennessee: portions of Sevier and White counties; additional areas of Cumberland, Humphreys and Williamson counties; and all of Coffee, Marshall, and Maury counties.
You can read more here at the North American Plant Protection Organization's (NAPPO) Phytosanitary Alert System website.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

'Hey I'm Dead!' The Story Of The Very Lively Ant

I heard this story while drive around today on NPR. What first caught my attention was the voice, it sounded familiar, and sure enough it was. It was E.O. Wilson, the most knowledge person on ants in the world. In this article and interview he talks about how ants know when other ants are dead. Very interesting!

See and hear the story here 'Hey I'm Dead!' The Story Of The Very Lively Ant

Go D'Hara

Monday, March 30, 2009

Pesticides and How They Impact Biological Control Agents

Interested in learning how pesticide impact beneficial insect and predatory mites? Both and have tables in their side-effects portions of their websites. You will need to know the active ingredient in the pesticide and the scientific name of the beneficial. Additionally Koppert has added a mobile website, so while in the field you can learn about pesticide compatibility.

Go D'Hara

Sunday, March 29, 2009

International IPM Symposium

I have just returned from the The Sixth International IPM Symposium in Portland, OR. It was more focused on agriculture than I would have liked, thought there would be some ornamental stuff but it was educational. I was most-impressed with the information presented by William Snyder of Washington State University. He presented the talk “Spatiotemporally Distinct Natural Enemies Have Synergistic Effects on Shared Prey.”

What Snyder’s team is looking at is when beneficial insects are around pest insects but have not been killed, the pests are more likely to be killed by beneficial fungus or beneficial nematodes. They think the beneficials stress the pest, making them more susceptible to the pathogens.

Also, researchers from the University of Florida stressed for thrips management the importance of conserving native beneficials. They have found that by spraying pesticides for western flower thrips it actually causes more western flower thrips problems in the long run. They said it is better to use spray products that are soft on the beneficials, and to limit those sprays so native beneficials can get to work. They also discussed the many different native species of thrips and how they can outcompete western flower thrips.

Go D'hara