Integrated Pest Management By C. Kohn Based on Pest Management for Retail Greenhouses and Garden Centers by Leanne Pundt
Why Integrated Pest Mgmt (IPM)? • Over 90% of flowering plants and 75% of crops depend on insect pollinators • Pollinators are an integral component of natural ecosystems that make the natural energy flow and nutrient cycling necessary for crop production possible. • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices have been developed to improve pest control while minimizing impacts on beneficial species, such as pollinators. • http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/Documents/IPMpol.pdf
What is IPM? • Definition: A long-term pest control technique that relies on combinations of crop rotation, cultural practices, biological controls, and pesticides • Pesticides are used only as a last resort and according to strict guidelines • Key words: long term ; combination
Benefits of IPM • Minimizes loss of pollinators, which… • Increases plant productivity • Reduces economic losses • Minimizes health risks (what kills an insect in small doses kills pets and animals in large doses) • Decreases risk of pesticide resistance • Protects the environment, which… • Increases plant productivity and reduces economic losses • Finally – It’s more effective!
Background • Plants often come to retailers and eventually to you through large supply chains. • This increased transportation of living plants increases the spread and depth of an insect infestation • Nutshell: it’s pretty much impossible to buy plants completely free of insects • If you have bought plants, you will have insects • If you raise plants from seed, the risk is lower but still substantial.
Principles • The basic principals of successful integrated pest management (IPM) include: • Inspectingincoming plants • Regular, consistent monitoring • Sound cultural practices (crop rotation, spacing, etc.) • Accurate identification of insects, diseases and cultural issues • Prompt, timely pest management decision-making • Good communication between all members involving in this decision-making process including scouts, pesticide applicators, managers, owners etc.
Inspection of Plants • The most important aspect of IPM is inspection of plants on arrival. • The entire plant from leaves to roots should be carefully observed. • DO NOT purchase or accept plants that… • Have rotting roots • Have viral or bacterial diseases (spotting, mosaic patterns, ringed circles, blotchy spots) • Have nematodes (microscopic root worms) • Just plain do not look right! • Quarantine and treat plants on arrival before moving them with others
Prevention • Select insect-resistant plants • Keep records of what varieties have done the best • Consult extension agents to determine if a plant is considered resistant • Sanitation (next slide)
Prevention - Sanitation • Cleanliness is a key element of prevention. • Remove all dead or dying plant material immediately • A hospital does not leave dead bodies and cut-off limbs in the hallway; neither should a garden or greenhouse • Keep floors clean, swept, and sprayed down • Prevent standing water (which would encourage the growth of fungus, algae, and some insects) • Regularly disinfect materials and equipment, as well as greenhouse floors • Soap is very effective
Prevention - Monitoring • Have a weekly monitoring program in place • Hang sticky-cards above your plants to trap insects for identification • Use indicator plants (plants that are more susceptible and will show symptoms earlier) • Inspect plants while caring for them (watering, fertilizing, etc.) • Scotch tape analysis can help for smaller pests • Stick a piece of scotch tape to the underside of the leaf and examine with a magnifying glass
Prevention - Record Keeping • Keep track of all decisions • Approximate pest numbers and locations • Approximations do not have to be exact • E.g. you can make up your own scale based on previous experience – mild, moderate, extreme • Records will help you to determine if treatments are effective, if pests are recurring, and if pesticides are necessary.
Cultural Practices • Most plant health problems come from poor management, not from insect infestations • I.e. poorly trained humans are a worse problem than insects • Watering tends to be a big issue – avoid overwatering or underwatering • Large amounts of water infrequently is better than daily small amounts • The soil should be allowed to slightly dry in-between waterings to prevent pests. • Overwatering or too-frequent watering increases the risk of mold, fungus, and pathogenic algae
Cultural Practices – Water, Fert. • Watering should occur earlier in the day • Late-day watering increases the risk of foliar (leaf) disease (water sits on the plant surface overnight, encouraging pathogen growth) • Time of standing water should be minimized • Fertilization is also a major contributor to plant health problems • Over-fertilization increases plant susceptibility to insect predation • Under-fertilization will reduce plant growth and reduce the plant’s ability to ward of predation
Cultural Practices – Temp, Air • Temperature – • Too-cool temperatures can increase rot, blight, and dampening off diseases • Too-warm temperatures can increase the risk of drought and water-loss, reducing a plant’s ability to fight predation • Airflow – • Good airflow is necessary to allow for transpiration and reduce moisture build-up that encourages mold and fungal growth
Cultural - Sanitation • Discard diseased plants once they are found. • Isolate questionable plants and return them with the rest if nothing is found. • Remove all debris, dead plant matter, and weeds that can harbor insects • Keep all dead plant matter in sealed plastic bags until they are ready to be disposed of • Dispose of dead plant material as soon as possible
Cultural – Mechanical, Rotation • Mechanical controls can include the use of screens, nets, fences, or traps. • These can be as effective as nearly any other treatment for a specific pest. • Crops should be rotated regularly so that their respective pests are able to die out during off-years. • Pruning and thinning can also reduce infestations.
Biological Control • If pests are a problem, biological control may be an effective alternative to chemical pesticides • Biological control is the use of predators of pests to manage pest levels. • E.g. predatory mites, ladybugs, green lacewings or host specific parasitic wasps • Natural predators of pests do not work quickly; they are best used as preventative measures • Biological control cannot be used with pesticides (the pesticides would kill both the pest and the predators) • Insecticide residues can affect predators up to 3 mo’s after application.
Pesticides • Pesticides should only be used as a last resort • Pesticides can be a part of IPM, but only if all other measures fail • The term pesticide refers to insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and various other substances used to control pests. • A pest, by this definition, is a living organism that can cause damage to a desired plant, animal, or structure • This could be insects as well as weeds and even animals such as rodents or deer
Classes of Pesticides • Two major groups of pesticides exist – • 1. Restricted use: to use and apply these kinds of pesticides, you must undergo training and certification in most states • Unclassified/General Use: the equivalent of over-the-counter; anyone can purchase and use these • All pesticides should be considered dangerous! All pesticides should be applied according to directions and with care! • Pesticides should only be applied as needed.
Pesticide application • IPM promotes calculated and targeted applications of pesticides that are more specific to the pest species. • Plants should be monitored after pesticide application to determine the effectiveness of the treatment and whether or not an additional treatment is necessary • Records should be kept of the effectiveness and cost of the pesticide application. • http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/uo190.pdf
Choice of Pesticides • Choosing the correct pesticide to control the pest(s) in your home, lawn, or garden requires a certain amount of planning. • Many types of pesticides exist to treat a specific pest, and a variety of pesticide formulations are available to the consumer. • http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/uo190.pdf
Pesticide Considerations • 1. Is the pesticide appropriate for your specific pest? • 2. Can you use this pesticide, or is a professional needed? • 3. Have you tried all other non-chemical options and have they all failed? • 4. Is this the least-toxic pesticide option? • 5. Have you read the label thoroughly and understand the instructions? • 6. Do you have a place to keep a record in case of medical, veterinary, or environmental problems?
Pesticide Labels • The label provides information about the active ingredient, how to mix and apply the product, when and where to apply the product, how to store and dispose of the product, as well as safety and environmental precautions and first aid instructions. • The pesticide label is a legal document, and misusing a pesticide product is a violation of the law. • http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/uo190.pdf
Components of a Pesticide Label • Trade & Brand Name • Ingredients • Use statement (restricted or general) • Emergency Phone Number • Registration Number • Cautionary words – Caution, Warning, Danger, and Danger: Poison – reflect the risk of injury from the product • Hazards, Storage, Disposal • Directions for Use
Final Comments on Pesticides • Always wear protection! • Shorts, sandals, and t-shirts are NOT adequate • Clothes should cover all extremities • Clothes should be washed after application • Washers should be allowed to run an additional cycle while empty after washing pesticide-affected clothes. • Pesticides must be stored in their original container (federal law) in a cool, dry area • Pesticides must be disposed through special programs • Ingested pesticides should be diluted with water (do not induce vomiting unless instructed); poison control should be called immediately.