Latest Reports and Publications

December, 2014

Journal of Economic Entomology, 2014, 107(6): 2107-2118.
The article is available here to individuals with subscription.

Abstract: Justin M. Renkema, Rosemarije Buitenhuis and Rebecca H. Hallett. Drosophila suzukii Matsumura (Diptera: Drosophilidae) is a recent invasive pest of fruit crops in North America and Europe. Carpophagous larvae render fruit unmarketable andmaypromote secondary rot-causing organisms. To monitor spread and develop programs to time application of controls, further work is needed to optimize trap design and trapping protocols for adult D. suzukii. We compared commercial traps and developed a new, easy-to-use plastic jar trap that performed well compared with other designs. For some trap types, increasing the entry area led to increased D. suzukii captures and improved selectivity for D. suzukii when populations were low. However, progressive entry area enlargement had diminishing returns, particularly for commercial traps. Unlike previous studies, we found putting holes in trap lids under a close-fitting cover improved captures compared with holes on sides of traps. Also, red and black traps outperformed yellow and clear traps when traps of all colors were positioned 10–15 cm apart above crop foliage. In smaller traps, attractant surface area and entry area, but not other trap features (e.g., headspace volume), appeared to affect D. suzukii captures. In the new, plastic jar trap, tripling attractant volume (360 vs 120 ml) and weekly attractant replacement resulted in the highest D. suzukii captures, but in the larger commercial trap these measures only increased by-catch of large-bodied Diptera. Overall, the plastic jar trap with large entry area is affordable, durable, and can hold high attractant volumes to maximize D. suzukii capture and selectivity.

Controlled-release fertilizer application rates for container nursery crop production in southwestern Ontario, Canada
November, 2014

HortScience, Published November 2014.
By Erin Agro and Youbin Zheng

Region-specific trials examining optimum controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) rates for the Canadian climate are limited. This study was conducted to determine an optimum range of CRF application rates and the effect of the application rate on growth, nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) losses of six economically important container-grown woody ornamental shrubs using typical production practices at a southwestern Ontario nursery. Salix purpurea ‘Nana’, Weigela florida ‘Alexandra’, Cornus sericea ‘Cardinal’, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bombshell’, Hibiscus syriacus ‘Ardens’, and Spiraea japonica ‘Magic Carpet’ were potted in 1-gal pots and fertilized with Polyon® 16N-2.6P-10K (5–6 month longevity) incorporated at rates of 0.8, 1.2, 1.7, 2.1, and 2.5 kg·m−3 N in 2012. The experiment was repeated for the 2013 growing season with rates of CRF incorporated at 0.05, 0.35, 0.65, 0.95, and 1.25 kg·m−3 N. Plant performance (i.e., growth index) and leachate electrical conductivity (EC) and pH were evaluated once every 3 to 4 weeks during the respective growing seasons. The amount of N and P lost to the environment was determined for the 2012 growing season. The interaction between nutrient supply rate and target species affected most response variables. Although higher levels of fertilization produced larger plants and had the potential to decrease production time, increased losses of N and P and higher EC leachate values occurred. Results of this study indicate that an acceptable range of CRF application rates can be used for each species depending on the production goals, i.e., decreased production time, maximum growth, or decreased nutrient leachate. Overall, the highest acceptable CRF rates within the optimal range were: 1.25 kg·m−3 N for Spiraea; 1.7 kg·m−3 N for Hydrangea; 2.1 kg·m−3 N for Cornus; and 2.5 kg·m−3 N for Weigela, Salix, and Hibiscus. The lowest acceptable rates within the optimal range were: 0.35 kg·m−3 N for Hibiscus; 0.65 kg·m−3 N for Cornus, Weigela, Salix, and Spiraea; and 0.80 kg·m−3 N for Hydrangea.

Corporate brochure 2014
September, 2014


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September, 2014

IOBC WPRS Bulletin, 2014, 102: 23-28.
The article is available here at a cost

Abstract: Michael Brownbridge, Rose Buitenhuis, Taro Saito, Angela Brommit, Paul Côté and Graeme Murphy. Historically, poinsettia cuttings shipped into Ontario from offshore production facilities have carried very low levels of immature Bemisia whiteflies. These have been successfully controlled by preventative releases of parasitoids (Encarsia formosa, Eretmocerus mundus). In 2012 though, cuttings arrived into Ontario carrying large numbers of Bemisia eggs and nymphs. Parasitoid releases proceeded as normal but failed to regulate whitefly populations; multiple pesticide treatments were required to provide effective control. Endemic whitefly resistance (owing to heavy pesticide use in production facilities) means that insecticides registered in Canada frequently have reduced efficacy. Furthermore, pesticide residues on imported material can have a detrimental effect on parasitoid survival and performance. To ensure greater sustainability in poinsettia production, new methods of control are required to mitigate incoming pests on cuttings and ensure that biological control systems can be maintained through the crop production cycle. Several reduced-risk products, biopesticides and combination treatments, applied to infested cuttings by dipping immediately prior to sticking, were therefore evaluated to determine their relative efficacy against whitefly, ensure compatibility with parasitoids and to assess possible phytotoxic effects. A combination of insecticidal soap and Beauveria bassiana (BotaniGard® WP; BioWorks Inc., Victor, NY) was the most effective treatment tested; phytotoxic effects were minimal (some variation across cultivars) and survival of Encarsia and Eretmocerus was not affected following release onto treated leaves. The project has allowed effective treatments to be identified that can be readily implemented on a commercial scale.

September, 2014

IOBC WPRS Bulletin, 2014, 102: 29-35.
The article is available here at a cost

Abstract: Michael Brownbridge, Taro Saito and Paul Côté. Western flower thrips (WFT) are a major impediment in greenhouse floriculture. They are pests of global significance, resistant to many conventional insecticides and in Canada today, there is only one registered product that will successfully control this insect. Biological control is the only viable option available to Canadian growers. The thrips life cycle provides two distinct environments and life stages that can be targeted with different natural enemies. Nematodes, primarily Steinernema feltiae (e.g., Nemasys®), applied as a drench treatment, are widely used against soil-dwelling stages (pro-pupae and pupae). Metarhizium brunneum (formerly anisopliae; Met52® granular biopesticide) is registered for thrips control in Canada. The fungus is incorporated into potting media and will infect and kill thrips entering the soil to pupate. The purpose of the current trial was to define efficient use practices for these biocontrol agents and confirm their compatibility. We investigated effects of plant growth stage on nematode deposition onto the soil, nematode-Met52compatibility, and the relative efficacy of individual and combined, i.e. Nemasys + Met52, treatments against WFT. As chrysanthemums grew and the density of the plant canopy increased, fewer nematodes reached the soil after each spray which may affect efficacy. Overall, Met52 appears to be compatible with S. feltiae. Individual nematode and fungus treatments had a measurable suppressive effect on thrips, but the combined nematode/fungus treatment provided superior control. WFT populations were consistently lower on plants receiving the combined treatment; at the conclusion of the trial (8 weeks) < 10 WFT/pot were recovered. Opportunities therefore exist to enhance the reliability and cost-effectiveness of thrips biocontrol agents by taking an integrated approach to their deployment.