Greenhouse trials were conducted in 2000-2001 to evaluate the indirect effects of insect growth regulators, whether stimulatory or inhibitory, on the egg production of female citrus mealybug [Planococcus citri (Risso)]. Green coleus [Solenostemon scutellarioides (L.) Codd] were infested with 10 late third instar female citrus mealybugs. The insect growth regulators kinoprene, pyriproxyfen, azadirachtin, buprofezin, and novaluron were applied to infested plants at both the high and low manufacturer recommended rates. Beginning two days after treatments were applied, plants were monitored daily to determine when female mealybugs began to oviposit. Individual mealybugs were removed from plants, placed into glass vials containing 70% isopropyl alcohol when female mealybugs started to oviposit, and dissected to determine the number of eggs. Overall, there were no consistent patterns to suggest that the insect growth regulators and different rates tested had any effect on the egg production of citrus mealybug females. Although, in one instance, the insect growth regulators kinoprene and pyriproxyfen actually lowered citrus mealybug egg production. In addition, the insect growth regulator buprofezin numerically increased female citrus mealybug egg production.
The way extension specialists and educators conduct programs, such as workshops, and transfer information to their designated clientele, including homeowners, professionals, and specialty groups, has changed within the last decade due to merging departments, budget cuts, reduced operating funds, and lack of refilling vacant positions. These factors have resulted in a number of driving forces that influence the way extension specialists and educators perform their duties, such as accountability, regionalization of extension, impact of technology, and expanding expertise. To be accountable under today's standards, extension specialists and educators must document the impact, relevance, and effectiveness of their programs. Required documentation must include economic, environmental, and human development factors. The effect of downsizing in many states has led to regionalization, which involves sharing extension specialists and educators across state boundaries. Although there are concerns, such as funding issues and evaluation of extension specialists and educators among states, regionalization in general has resulted in collaborative efforts to organize workshops and produce regional publications that serve a wider clientele base. Extension specialists and educators need to use computer-based and electronic technology, such as teleconferencing and distance-education, to present effective programs and address a wider audience, which will reduce the amount of required travel time. Finally, extension specialists and educators need to keep abreast of issues, such as invasive species, and develop programs to increase awareness of the economic and ecological impacts of invasive species in order to effectively serve the clientele base. Extension specialists and educators will more effectively serve their clientele, justify the importance of extension programming, demonstrate extension as a valued resource to administrators, and deal with the challenges of financial constraint existing now and in the foreseeable future by documenting impact, using multi-state programming, adopting new technology, and keeping up with current issues.
Pesticide mixtures are commonly used by greenhouse producers to deal with the array of arthropod (insect and mite) pests encountered in greenhouses. Greenhouse producers tank mix pesticides due to convenience because it is less time consuming, costly, and labor intensive to mix together two or more pesticides into a single spray solution and then perform one spray application compared with making multiple applications. Pesticide mixtures may also result in improved arthropod pest control. However, there has been no quantitative assessment to determine what pesticide mixtures (two-, three-, and four-way combinations) are being adopted by greenhouse producers and why. As such, a survey was conducted by distributing evaluation forms in conjunction with three sessions at two greenhouse producer conferences (two in 2007 and one in 2008) to obtain data on the types of pesticide mixtures used by greenhouse producers and determine if there are any problems associated with these pesticide mixtures. The evaluation form requested that participants provide information on the four most common pesticide mixtures (insecticides and/or miticides) used and for what specific arthropod pests. The response rate of the evaluation forms was 22.5% (45/200). The two-way pesticide mixture that was cited most often (n = 8) was the abamectin (Avid) and bifenthrin (Talstar) combination. The two pesticides typically included in a majority of the two-way and three-way mixtures were spinosad (Conserve) and abamectin. Spinosad was a component of 17 two-way and 7 three-way combinations, while abamectin was cited in 15 two-way and 9 three-way combinations. Both products are labeled for control of the western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis), which is one of the most important insect pests in greenhouses. One pesticide mixture that was difficult to interpret involved the fungicides, thiophanate-methyl (Cleary's 3336) and metalaxyl (Subdue). This mixture was cited twice, and the arthropod pest listed was thrips (Thysanoptera). However, both fungicides have no insecticidal activity. Two of the mixtures listed in the survey used pesticides with similar modes of action: acephate (Orthene) + methiocarb (Mesurol), and pyrethrins (Pyreth-It) + bifenthrin (Talstar). A number of the pesticide mixtures listed for spider mites (Tetranychidae) were questionable due to similar life stage activity of the a.i. as indicated on the label including fenpyroximate (Akari) + clofentezine (Ovation), abamectin + chlorfenapyr (Pylon), and bifenazate (Floramite) + etoxazole (TetraSan). In fact, 38% of pesticide mixtures cited for twospotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) control should have been avoided due to analogous life stage activity. The data obtained from the survey clearly demonstrates that greenhouse producers implement a wide-range of pesticide mixtures to deal with the multitude of arthropod pests in greenhouses. However, the basis by which greenhouse producers decide the types of pesticides to mix together is not known. As such, the survey data can be used to direct future multistate or multiregional extension (outreach) efforts in developing programs specifically designed to educate greenhouse producers on which pesticides should and should not be mixed together.
Fungus gnats, Bradysia spp. (Diptera: Sciaridae), are major insect pests because the larvae can directly damage plants grown in greenhouse production systems. In general, insecticides are commonly used to suppress fungus gnat larval populations. However, the rove beetle, Dalotia coriaria (Kraatz) (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae), a commercially available predator of insect pests, including fungus gnat larvae, may be an alternative to using insecticides. Growing medium selection used for growing plants can influence insect pest and predator interactions in greenhouse production systems; however, quantitative information is limited. Therefore, we conducted greenhouse experiments and a laboratory experiment to determine the effects of growing medium type on D. coriaria adult predation and fungus gnat, Bradysia. sp. nr. coprophila (Lintner) (Diptera: Sciaridae), larval survival when feeding on the roots of coleus, Solenostemon scutellarioides (L.) Codd, plants. In addition, experiments were conducted to determine the number of rove beetle adults, based on predator:prey ratios, needed to regulate fungus gnat larval populations. In all three experiments, fewer fungus gnat larvae survived in Pro-Mix BX than the Berger BM1 growing medium, and rove beetles reduced the number of fungus gnat larvae in both growing media in the greenhouse experiments. Although predator:prey ratio was not significant, we found that 10 rove beetle adults per 15.2-cm diameter container (1834.82 cm3 with 2.0 L of growing medium) regulated fungus gnat larval populations at the densities investigated. Therefore, greenhouse producers should consider the effects of production practices, such as growing medium type, when using rove beetles to regulate fungus gnat larval populations.
The fungus gnat, Bradysia sp. nr. coprophila (Lintner) (Diptera: Sciaridae), is an insect pest of greenhouse production systems. The rove beetle, Dalotia coriaria [Kraatz] (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae), is a commercially available predator of certain greenhouse insect pests that reside in growing media, including fungus gnats. There is minimal information discussing how growing medium type and moisture level (watering treatment) impact the interactions between pests and natural enemies. Therefore, we conducted laboratory and greenhouse experiments to investigate the influence of two growing media (Sunshine® LC1 Professional Growing Mix and Fafard® 3B Mix Professional Formula) and two moisture levels (“constantly saturated” and “initially saturated”) on predation by adult D. coriaria on B. sp. nr. coprophila larvae after releasing one or two rove beetle adults. In the laboratory experiment, moisture content or the amount of water retained by the growing medium did not significantly influence the recovery of adult fungus gnats for any of the rove beetle treatments. However, there was a significant difference in the recovery of fungus gnat adults between the two growing media. Fewer fungus gnat adults emerged from the Sunshine® LC1 Professional Growing Mix (0.9 ± 0.2 adults) than the Fafard® 3B Mix Professional Formula (6.0 ± 0.9 adults). Significantly fewer adult fungus gnats were recovered in the treatments where one rove beetle adult was released (2.7 ± 0.7 adults) and two rove beetle adults were released (2.3 ± 0.5 adults) compared with the control without rove beetles (5.4 ± 1.4 adults). However, there was no significant difference between the number of rove beetle adults released. In contrast to the laboratory experiment, moisture content in the greenhouse experiment significantly influenced the recovery of adult fungus gnats. More adult fungus gnats were recovered from the “constantly saturated” treatment (9.9 ± 1.4 adults) than the “initially saturated” treatment (3.8 ± 1.0 adults). Similar to the laboratory experiment, there was a significant difference in the recovery of fungus gnat adults between the two growing media, with fewer adults captured from the Sunshine® LC1 Professional Growing Mix (3.2 ± 0.8 adults) than the Fafard® 3B Mix Professional Formula (10.4 ± 1.4 adults). However, the treatments with rove beetle adults [one rove beetle (6.6 ± 1.8 adults) or two rove beetles (5.3 ± 1.5 adults)] were not significantly different from the control without rove beetles (8.6 ± 1.5 adults), suggesting that the growing media and moisture levels were acting directly on fungus gnat survival. The results of our study demonstrate that survival of fungus gnat larvae that reside in the growing medium and the success of rove beetle adults used to regulate these pests can be influenced by growing media and the moisture content within growing media.
Fungus gnats, Bradysia spp., are major insect pests in greenhouses and interiorscapes. Management typically involves the use of either insecticides or biological control agents such as entomopathogenic nematodes. Efficacy trials provide information to greenhouse producers on the effectiveness of these management options. However, a simple procedure that rapidly evaluates the performance of control products against fungus gnat larvae is needed. Because fungus gnat larvae inhabit the growing medium, excess or deficient growing medium moisture may reduce adult fungus gnat emergence, thus confounding effects from efficacy trial treatments. Therefore, it is important to determine the amount of moisture and moisture content that results in the highest recovery of fungus gnat adults. We conducted two replicated experiments in a completely randomized design using a range of initial water volumes (treatments) and two larval stages (second and third) of the fungus gnat, Bradysia sp. nr. coprophila. The success of the procedure was based on the number of fungus gnat adults that emerged per treatment. In the first experiment, initial water volumes of 0, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, and 200 mL were applied to 300 mL of a soilless growing medium consisting of 50% composted pine bark, 20% Canadian sphagnum peatmoss, 10% perlite, and 20% medium coarse vermiculite (SB300 Universal Mix). In general, the highest mean numbers (range, 11.2 to 14.6) of fungus gnat adults were recovered from growing medium treated with 50, 75, and 100 mL of water. In the second experiment, initial water volumes (treatments) of 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, and 75 mL were applied to 300 mL of the soilless growing medium (SB300 Universal Mix). There were no significant differences in the mean number of fungus gnat adults recovered regardless of the larval instar (second instar: 15.8 to 17.7; third instar: 14.4 to 17.4). The final percent moisture content ranged from 65% to 68% for the second instars and 56% to 66% for third instars. This study demonstrates that the highest number of fungus gnat adults may be recovered from soilless growing medium (SB300 Universal Mix) treated with between 50 and 75 mL of water, thus enhancing the confidence in any data set generated when evaluating insecticides or biological control agents for control of fungus gnats.