Insect Management in Floriculture: How Important Is Sanitation in Avoiding Insect Problems?

in HortTechnology
Authors:
Brian K. HogendorpDepartment of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, 1101 West Peabody Drive, Urbana, IL 61801.

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Raymond A. CloydDepartment of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, 1101 West Peabody Drive, Urbana, IL 61801.

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Sanitation, which includes removing plant and growing medium debris, is an important component of any greenhouse or nursery pest management program. However, there is minimal quantitative information on how sanitation practices can reduce pest problems. In this study, conducted from May through Nov. 2005, we evaluated plant and growing medium debris as a source of insect pests from four greenhouses located in central Illinois. Two 32-gal refuse containers were placed in each greenhouse with a 3 × 5-inch yellow sticky card attached to the underside of each refuse container lid. Each week, yellow sticky cards and plastic refuse bags were collected from the containers and insects captured on the yellow sticky cards were identified. Insects captured on the yellow sticky cards were consistent across the four greenhouses with western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis), fungus gnats (Bradysia spp.), and whiteflies (Bemisia spp.) the primary insects present each week. Insect numbers, in order of prevalence on the yellow sticky cards, varied across the four locations, which may be related to the type of plant debris discarded. For example, extremely high numbers of adult whiteflies (range = 702 to 1930) were captured on yellow sticky cards in one greenhouse each month from August through November. This was due to the presence of yellow sage (Lantana camera), bee balm (Monarda didyma), garden verbena (Verbena × hybrida), common zinnia (Zinnia elegans), sage (Salvia spp.) and fuchsia (Fuschia spp.) debris that was heavily-infested with the egg, nymph, pupa, and adult stages of whiteflies. High western flower thrips adult numbers in the greenhouses were generally associated with plant types such as marguerite daisy (Dendranthema frutescens) and pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) disposed while in bloom with opened yellow flowers, which contained adult western flower thrips. Based on the results of this study, it is important that greenhouse producers timely remove plant and growing medium debris from greenhouses or place debris into refuse containers with tight-sealing lids to prevent insect pests from escaping.

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