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Pest Management in the Home Garden: Making It Work

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1 Pest Management in the Home Garden: Making It Work
Bernie Solymár EarthTramper Consulting Inc.

2 Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act, 2008
Ontario’s cosmetic pesticides ban took effect on Earth Day (April 22nd), 2009. The ban is part of the McGuinty government’s toxics reduction strategy to reduce pollution and protect families from toxic chemicals. Use of most pesticides in the home and garden are no longer available

3 Exceptions to the Ban To control wasps and hornets
To control mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile Virus To kill plants that are poisonous to the touch, (e.g. poison ivy and giant hogweed). To protect the health of pets (e.g. fleas) To control indoor pests or pests that can cause structural damage to the home (e.g. carpenter ants) Control of mice and rats in the house

4 What It Means to Home Gardeners
No more use of synthetic pesticides Look at managing pests using alternative solutions Being innovative and thinking outside the box

5 Presentation Outline Integrated Pest Management
– what is it and how to use it Cultural Management Biological Control with Natural Enemies Use of “Natural” Pesticides Weed Management and Mulching

6 What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM) ?

7 IPM is: A pest management philosophy that utilizes all suitable pest management techniques and methods to keep pest populations below economically injurious levels. Each pest management technique must be environmentally sound, economically viable and compatible with the home gardeners objectives. IPM is a component all types of gardening - “organic”, “ecological”, “biodynamic”, etc. This is one of many definitions of IPM. We will go through the key points of this definition w/ explanations. Key points of this definition include: It is a philosophy where we try to manage a pest instead of controlling or eradicating a pest. It requires a greater knowledge of the pest, crop and the environment. We will explain the general types of management methods are and give examples. We will define what an Economic Injury Level is and how it should be used in an IPM program We will also must indicate that all management techniques must be environmentally sound AND that these techniques must be economically feasible for the producer.

8 A pest management philosophy…..
Recognizes there is no “cure-all” in pest control. Dependence on any one pest management method may actually have undesirable effects. Desire to determine and correct the cause of the pest problem. Understanding pest biology and ecology is essential. Manipulate the environment to the crop’s advantage and to the detriment of the pest. Recognizes that eradication of a pest is seldom necessary or even desirable, and generally not possible. Some damage is unavoidable and acceptable Recognizes there is no “cure-all” in pest control. IPM is a philosophy. That is, we recognize that there are no cure-alls and/or cheap and easy methods to manage pests. Reliance on a single tactic will favor pests that are resistant to that practice. For example, relying on glyphosate, the active ingredient in herbicides with the trade names of Roundup, Touchdown, etc. can result in weed species shifts or the development of weed species that are resistant to glyphosate. Determine and correct the cause of the pest problem. Instead IPM stresses reliance on preventative practices and balances the strengths of one practice against the weaknesses of another to provide a more complete or holistic pest management approach. Rescue (should rescue treatments be defined, or is it apparent?) treatments are used only if the preventative practices fail. For example, a preventative practice might be planting a potato leafhopper resistant alfalfa variety. Only when leafhopper populations are extremely high will an insecticide treatment may be necessary. Hopefully, by planting the leafhopper resistant variety you might not spray for leafhoppers during most summers. Another example is that proper weed control may create an environment which insect to not find attractive. Therefore, by controlling weeds within your fields you may also avoid some insects. Recognizes the eradication of a pest is seldom necessary or even desirable, and is generally not even possible. IPM realizes that some pest damage is acceptable. We must focus on economics before we implement management techniques. That is, we should only initiate rescue treatments when the cost of control is less that the amount of damage expected. For example, it would not be economic to treat for European corn borer if through proper field scouting we determine that there will be a $10/acre loss but spraying w/ an insecticide would cost $12/acre.

9 IPM is a continuum, not an end.
Good Fair Better IPM is a continuum that will change with time. Every farmer practices some type of IPM. Some are just further along than others. But as long as they make progress to better management that’s fine. As new pest control techniques are discovered, the producer and crop advisor must adapt their pest control program to reflect these changes. What is considered a good IPM program today, may be considered a chemical intensive program in a few years. Additionally some good advice to the producer and crop advisor is to try these new changes on a limited scale, becoming comfortable with the suggested practices before wide-scale changes are made. Poor Best

10 “Utilizes all suitable pest management tactics…………..”
Pesticides Cultural Mechanical Sanitary Natural Biological Host Plant Resistance NOTE: Some tactics fall Into several categories. In the next segment we will look at these management tactics, and give examples how they might fit in to WI crop production. It’s important to note that not all tactics are appropriate for every crop. Some tactics have greater utility in other crops. High value vegetable crops have greater profit potential than low value commodity grain crops and as such allow room for more alternative pest management practices that may cost more. However, high value crops sustain economic loss at lower pest levels than do low value commodity crops such as field corn and soybeans. Usually this means that high value crops are more labor intensive, requiring a higher level of pest management tactics.

11 Four Basic Principles of IPM
Thorough understanding of the crop, pest, natural enemies, and the environment ….and their interrelationships Monitoring/detection of pests Balance cost/benefits of all control practices Using least disruptive technique to “manage” the pest Understanding the basic principles of IPM is important if we are to become comfortable with the IPM philosophy. Whether we are managing pests in corn, cotton or canola, we need to abide by these same standard principles which form the basics of an IPM program. Because IPM is considered to be “management intensive” we substitute experience and education in place of pesticides. Pesticides are considered an simple control tactic to implement. You find a pest, you spray. Although that is an over simplification, the point is that pesticides are the easy way out. Reliance on pesticides creates problems such as increased input costs, pesticide resistance, secondary pest outbreaks, reduction of beneficial insects, etc. However, to reduce our reliance on pesticides and avoid risks of crop loss, we must know as much about these interrelationships as possible. By understanding how one factor affects the other, we are better prepared to substitute cultural, mechanical, or the other control methods for a pesticide application. We will go through each of these principles offering explanations and examples.

12 Economic Injury Level Economic Threshold Pest Density Pest Population
This graph explains the relationship of the Economic Injury Level to the Economic Threshold. The red arrow may indicate a pesticide application which was applied at the economic threshold and did not allow the pest population to reach the Economic Injury Level. Time

13 I.D. And Biology of Pests I.D. – immature and adult insects, mites, diseases, weeds Biology – lifecycle, crops attacked, behaviour, when active, alternate hosts, etc.

14 Cultural Management - Sanitation
Many insects overwinter in weeds or plant debris in or near the garden. Remove and compost weeds and debris, or spade them under as soon as harvest is completed. Look under mulch material regularly for a buildup of slugs, snails, and millipedes. Check transplants before buying or planting – do not use infested plants. Bury or compost garden debris in the fall.

15 Cultural Management - Rotation
Do not grow the same crop in the same area in consecutive seasons. This helps to reduce the build-up of soil insects such as grubs, wireworms, and maggots, and soil-borne plant diseases. Avoid planting crops susceptible to grubs where grass grew the previous year. If Japanese beetles are a problem, avoid growing roses and grapes near the garden area, as these plants are particularly attractive to the beetles.

16 Cultural Management – Maintain Healthy Plants
Healthy, vigorously growing crops tolerate more pest pressure. Provide the best possible growing conditions. Check the fertility and pH (acidity) of the soil regularly and make appropriate adjustments. Use mulch (hay, leafmold, etc.) or cultivate the soil to kill weeds which harbor pests.

17 Cultural Management - Handpicking
Many pests are effectively controlled by picking them off the foliage and destroying them. With perseverance, this works against pests such as Japanese beetles, Colorado potato beetles, tomato hornworm.

18 Cultural Management - Manipulating Environment
To reduce disease incidence ensure good air movement between rows Plant rows north-south to maximize sunlight interception Keep tomatoes and fruit trees well pruned Keep weeds down Use companion planting Provide nectar and pollen sources for predators and parasitoids

19 Pollen and Nectar Plants to Attract Beneficials
Alyssum, candytuft, marigolds, phacelia, schizanthus and salvias are good insect plants, as are some common weeds, such as dandelions, goldenrod, wild carrot, lamb´s quarters and wild mustard. Plants with small flowers, such as dill, parsley (a biennial), catnip, lemon balm, thyme and other herbs provide food for minute beneficial wasps. Daisies, coneflowers, milkweeds and yarrow are good pollen sources for lady beetles and other predators.

20 Cultural Management – Physical Barriers
Collars – Newly planted peppers and tomatoes can be protected from cutworms by placing a collar around each plant made from cardboard, paper or plastic cup or milk carton with the bottoms cut off. The collar should be at least 10 cm tall and pushed 4-5 cm into the soil. The collar acts as a barrier, keeping them from reaching and damaging the stems of plants. Shields – A 15 cm diameter “donut” made from carpet or tar paper, laid flat on the ground and fit snuggly around individual transplants will prevent the adult cabbage root maggot fly from laying eggs at the base of the plants. A ring of ashes deters slugs and snails

21 Cultural Management – Traps and Lures
Visual traps such as yellow, sticky boards are generally used to monitor insect populations. Lure traps, such as Japanese beetle and codling moth traps, contain chemical attractants, called pheromones. Bait Traps – mix of banana and beer in a can buried to soil level can “trap out” slugs Electronic and ultraviolet traps are not recommended.

22 Biological Control Biological control is the use of beneficial insects, mites, nematodes and diseases to control garden pests. Methods: Conserve and attract naturally occurring beneficial insects and mites. Purchase commercially available beneficial organisms and release in the garden.

23 Natural Enemies Predators: eat many prey in a lifetime, feeding both as young and as adults. Parasitoids: specialized insects that develop as a young in one host, eventually killing it. Pathogens: nematodes, viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoans.

24 Lady beetles (Coccinellidae)
• Most adults and larvae feed on soft-bodied insects. These may be important in aphid population control. Adults are rounded, and range in size from tiny to ¼ inch long. Color ranges from black to brightly colored. Larvae are elongated and red and black

25 Ground beetles (Carabidae)
Most are predaceous on insects in and on the soil as adults and larvae. Adults are most active at night, dark in color, with long legs. Larvae are often in leaf litter or soil and are elongate. Some feed on seeds and can reduce the number of weed seeds in agricultural systems.

26 Soldier Beetles (Cantharidae)
Adults feed on nectar and pollen and are often found at flowers. Some adults eat aphids, insect eggs and larvae or feed on both flowers and insects. Adults are elongate, with red, orange, or yellow and black patterns on head and abdomen. Larvae are dark, flattened and elongate. Larvae feed on eggs and larvae of beetles, butterflies, and moths in soil, leaf litter or under bark.

27 Rove beetles (Staphylinidae)
Most are predators and live in leaf litter as adults and larvae. Prey on small soft-bodied insects and insect eggs, larvae, and pupae. Adults brown or black with soft, short wing covers. Larvae are long and thin with a large head.

28 Stink bugs (Pentatomidae)
Genus Perillus and Podisus are predators with forward pointing tubular mouthparts. Most other stink bugs are plant feeders. Shield-shaped, often brownish, usually less than ½ inch long. Nymphs are rounder than adults.

29 Minute pirate bugs (Orius insidiosus)
This predator about ⅛ inch long feeds on aphids, thrips, mites, psyllids, and insect eggs. The insidiosus species occurs in Eastern Canada, These insects are abundant in many habitats. Adults are oval, black with white markings and a triangular head. Nymphs are slightly pear-shaped and reddish brown or yellow.

30 Green lacewings (Chrysopidae)
Adults have thin, green bodies and green wings with lacy veins; many are not predators. Larvae are predators, with long, curved mandibles that they use to suck the fluids out of prey. Larvae are about ¼ inch long, look like tiny alligators, and feed on most small soft bodied insects. Eggs are laid on individual silken stalks. Common in agriculture, gardens and landscapes.

31 Syrphid flies, flower flies, hover flies (Syrphidae)
Most adults eat pollen and nectar. Adults are black and yellow, often hover around flowers, and look like bees (but do not sting). Most larvae are predators on aphids and other soft-bodied insects. Larvae usually have an opaque skin with internal organs visible, and are usually green to dark brownish.

32 Hornets, Paper Wasps (Vespidae, Polistes)
Adults eat mainly caterpillars and feed their larvae beetles, flies, true bugs, and other wasps. Adults switch to feed on sugar in late summer. While some insects in this family are aggressive, native species in the genus Polistes are less likely to sting people. Adults are black and yellow and fold their wings lengthwise when at rest. Colonies do not overwinter in Ontario.

33 Predatory Mites Feed on pest mites like two-spotted spider mite and European red mite Natural populations often present Can be purchased and placed in perennial crops (strawberries, raspberries, apple trees) and annual crops (tomatoes, melons, etc.)

34 Jumping spiders(Salticidae) Crab spiders (Thomisidae)
Day active hunters in plants or on the ground. Do not make a web, but stalk and pounce on prey. Jumping spiders -Distinctive eye pattern with a front row of four eyes and two pairs behind the front row in a perpendicular line. Crab spiders - The front two pairs of legs are enlarged and extend to the side of their body, giving them a crablike appearance.

35 Parasitic Wasps (Braconidae and Ichneumonidae)
Parasitize larvae of beetles, caterpillars, flies and sawflies. Braconids -Adults usually are less than ½ inch long with an thin abdomen that is longer than the head and thorax combined. Ichneumonids - attack specific insects, but some species of most types of insects are attacked by this family. Common hosts include beetles, caterpillars, and wasps. Adults are usually slender with a long ovipositor.

36 Bee flies (Bombyliidae) Tachinid flies (Tachinidae)
Most are internal and external parasites of butterfly, moth, bee, and wasp larvae. Some attack larvae of beetles, flies, moths, or grasshopper eggs. Bee Flies - Adults are short, very hairy, medium to large flies with long, thin mouthparts. Tachinids - Adults are often dark, thick bodied hairy flies that look like houseflies but with stout bristles at the tip of their abdomen.

37 Should Pesticides be used in an IPM Program?
Pesticides in the home garden should be used as a last resort only and, of course, in a manner that is legal. Pesticides should be used only when there is no risk of environmental damage or when benefits outweigh the risks. Use pesticides only when other control practices aren’t available, economical or practical. Must monitor pest populations in the field. Identify the pest Are they causing visible damage? Life stage susceptible to pesticide? Crop stage and preventable loss? Pesticides can to be used in an IPM program, however only as a last resort and of course in a manner that is legal Yes, pesticides are a part of an IPM Program. In some cropping systems, they are a very important part. Some pests because of sheer numbers, continuous occurrence, low thresholds or because of food contamination issues dictate pesticide use. However, they should only be used as a last resort and only when all other management techniques, including preventative techniques, have failed or are no longer economical. They also must be used in a manner that is legal (rate, application type, target crop, target pest, etc.). Pesticides are to be used when there is no risk of environmental damage or when benefits outweigh the risks. Use pesticides only when other control practices aren’t available, economical or practical. Pesticide use in Wisconsin is regulated by the EPA and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. These organization, through various laws, have indicated when pesticides are to be used and there by pose no significant risks to human health or the environment. We must make sure that we follow these labeled directions. The pesticide label is the law. Not following labeled directions is a violation of federal and/or state law and is enforced. Some pesticides are classified as “restricted use”, that means EPA has determined these pesticides may cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment or injury to the applicators. In order for this pesticide to be applied, an applicator must be trained and pass an exam to become a certified applicator. Passing this exam implies competency in pesticide safety, laws and application methods. Must monitor pest populations in the field. Prior to using any pesticide, fields must be monitored to make sure that the pest is: Properly identified is present in economical proportions (above the economic threshold) Is at a life stage that is susceptible to the pesticide Present at a crop stage when there is “preventable yield loss” . For example the economic threshold for alfalfa insect pests includes this statement “do not treat if you are within 7 days of harvest. This is important because if you are less than 7 days to harvest you will not prevent enough yield loss to pay for the insecticide treatment. Instead, you should cut the alfalfa and watch the regrowth for insect activity. (It also may pertain to pesticide residues found in the crop.)

38 Microbial Insecticides
Most common is the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, better known as Bt. The "kurstaki" strain of Bt (Btk) kills caterpillars, such as gypsy moth, hornworms cabbage loopers, and cabbageworms. GMO crops – i.e. Bt sweet corn

39 More on Bt To be effective, Bt must be eaten by the pest.
Susceptible insects stop eating soon after ingesting Bt, as it destroys the lining of their gut. Death often follows in a few days. The primary advantage of Bt is its highly selective action. Most Bt products only kill caterpillars that eat it. This means that most beneficial insects are spared the adverse effects. Bt is considered quite safe to humans, and most products can be used right up to harvest. Bt does have some limitations, however. Because it must be eaten, thorough coverage of the affected plant is critical. Bt also breaks down rapidly upon exposure to sunlight and water, rarely lasting more than a few days. What's more, Bt kills not only the larvae of pests, but also the larvae of butterflies. Know the insect you are spraying for and keep away from plants where butterfly larvae feed.

40 Insecticidal Soaps Insecticidal soaps are applied as dilute sprays
(1 to 3 % concentration) and work primarily by damaging the cell membranes of insects and mites. A wide range of insects are sensitive to soaps -- primarily small, soft-bodied species such as aphids, whitflies, leafhoppers and spider mites. Effects are rapid, usually resulting in death of susceptible insects within a few minutes after exposure. Soaps are sometimes sold in mixtures with other insecticides, such as pyrethrins, to increase their effectiveness.

41 More on soaps The selective action of soaps and their high degree of safety to humans are their major advantages. Generally, they have a minimal impact on beneficial species. (One significant exception is that soaps kill predator mites, often an important control of spider mites.) One of the main limitations of soaps is that they work strictly on contact and have no residual effects. Also, soaps are more sensitive to certain environmental conditions than other insecticides are. For example, the minerals in hard water react with soaps to reduce their activity. And soaps may be less effective if applied during periods when they dry very rapidly.

42 Botanical Insecticides
Pyrethrum The most widely used of the botanical insecticides are extracts from the flowers of the pyrethrum daisy, Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium. Powdered pyrethrum flowers are rarely sold for pest control, but there are numerous products containing the extracted active ingredients, pyrethrins and allethrins.

43 More on pyrethrins Pyrethrins have a rapid "knockdown" effect they have, which causes most flying insects to drop almost immediately upon exposure. Pyrethrins are also highly irritating to insects and can therefore be used as a "flushing agent" to disperse pests. They also rapidly degrade when exposed to light or moisture and so do not persist for long in the environment. Most insects are highly susceptible to pyrethrins, so quite low concentrations are applied. At the same time, pyrethrins are quite non-toxic to most mammals, making them among the safest insecticides in use.

44 Managing Weeds in the Home Garden

45 Types of Weeds Annual plants are those that complete their entire life cycle in less than a full year. Grow from seed, develop into a mature plant, set flowers and seeds, and finally die after the seeds are shed. Two types: Summer annuals germinate from seeds in the spring, live through the summer, and set seeds in the fall. Winter annuals germinate from seeds in the fall, live over the winter months, and set seeds the following spring. Any program to control annual weeds should be designed to either eliminate the young seedlings or at least prevent the development of seeds.

46 Types of Weeds Biennial plants require two growing
seasons to complete their life cycle. These plants enter a non-flowering stage during the first season after germination of the seed. The root system on the young plant stores food and overwinters. During the second season, a new plant grows from the root and develops flowers that set seed to reproduce the plant. These types of weeds are best controlled in the young growing stages of the first-year plant.

47 Types of Weeds Perennial plants are able to live for two years or more. Each year they are able to flower and set seed. Some perennial plants reproduce and persist by vegetative structures such as bulbs, tubers, budding roots, rhizomes, and stolons. These multiple reproductive mechanisms make perennial plants especially difficult to control. In addition to destroying the top growth, which will prevent seed development, you must also eliminate the underground vegetative portions to assure any degree of success in reducing their population.

48 Preventing Initial Weed Growth
Avoid using manures or compost containing viable seeds that might germinate into weeds. Keep all weed growth in surrounding areas under control to prevent seeds from blowing onto the property. Remove seeds and vegetative parts from your tools and equipment before working in a clean area of the property. Check nursery stock for weed seeds or vegetative parts of perennial weeds before you set new plants on the property.

49 Cultivating and Hand weeding
Cultivating the soil and/or mowing are two effective weed-control practices that either destroy the entire plant or prevent the development of seed for the following generation. Hand weeding (pulling or hoeing), however, still might be the most practical method of weed control available to the individual.

50 Round-up, a “friendly” weed killer
Broad-spectrum herbicide Acts by absorption, moving to root and blocking transport system within plant. Can take 7 – 10 days to see results On soil contact breaks down very rapidly Extremely low mammalian toxicity

51 Mulches for Weed Control
A mulch is any kind of material applied to the soil surface for protection or improvement of the area covered. The value of any mulch material is measured in how well it improves crop quality. The most common reason for using a mulch is to eliminate weeds or at least retard their growth. Where a mulch layer is sufficiently deep, few weeds will grow. In addition to controlling weeds, mulches also aid the optimum development of the plants that grow in the mulched areas.

52 Advantages of mulching
Reduce evaporation thereby conserving moisture, which is particularly important during droughty periods of the growing season. Mulches help maintain a uniform soil temperature - insulation to keep the soil warmer during cool spells and cooler during the warm months of the year and retard freeze-thaw cycles during winter and reduce heaving of perennial plants. (i.e. Strawberries). As mulch materials gradually become mixed with the soil, they increase the water-holding capacity of light sandy soils and increase the aeration of heavy clay soils.  Organic mulches serve as "food" for many microorganisms in the soil.

53 Disadvantages of mulching
Mulch materials such as hay and straw can introduce additional weed seeds into the planting area. Wood chips, fresh sawdust, crushed corncobs, straw, and shredded bark, require the addition of fertilizer to reduce the chance of nitrogen deficiency in the growing plants Uncomposted organic mulches can heat up quickly when damp. This heat, created by the decomposition process within the mulch layer, can "cook" the bark or stem of a plant if it comes into direct contact with the mulch. In Fall improper hardening-off may occur to trunks of fruit trees. Plastic films, especially when very large areas are mulched, can cause problems - the amount of water that actually enters the soil as rainfall or irrigation might be reduced. Mulches around fruit trees provide an ideal haven for voles, which can eat the bark at the base of a tree.

54 Application of Mulches
Apply early, before weeds start to actively grow or very small to smother. However, delaying application of mulch also allows the soil to warm slightly, which aids in active root development. To function properly, a mulch layer should be from 2 to 3 inches deep. This depth will easily smother young weed seedlings, prevent evaporation of soil water, and allow water penetration to the soil below. Thinner layers will not be adequate. Thicker layers tend to waste mulch and are no more effective in most cases. Don’t let mulch contact the stem or trunk of the plant. May encourage bark to rot and creates conditions that favour disease organisms (e.g. Anthracnose of raspberry).

55 Thanks!

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