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