Saturday, January 30, 2010

Insect Images and Videos

Wondering where you can go to find images of insects that you know are correctly identified? There are a lot of insect photos on the internet but not all are correctly identified.

The 4-H Entomology website is a wonderful resource for not only 4-H participants, but the general public. While the site is targeted for 4-H Entomology students, there is a link to a list of common insects you can find in your own backyard well as while you travel throughout the state.

The guide to insect and non-insect orders is really cool because you can learn how to pronounce all those scientific names (it's an interactive pdf file- waaay cool!) and find out information on biology and characteristics.

Another great feature is a link to insect collecting videos. No, this isn't people collecting insects, but videos that show you how to do things like how to use an aspirator, choosing the correct net, pinning insects, etc. It's a great how-to section for those of you who want to start insect collecting as a hobby or start a reference collection to utilize as a teaching tool.

I need to thank Wizzie Brown's blog for this information.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Have you developed your IPM plan for 2010?

In a blog posting I will not be able to tell you how to implement an integrated pest management (IPM) plan from scratch.  I will however I can go over some of the basics.

Before developing an IPM plan, it is important to understand why you are developing an IPM plan. Integrated pest management is a strategy to limit damage caused by insects, mites, diseases, weeds, etc. It strives to use a combination of pest-control tactics to minimize risks to human health, the environment and nontarget organisms. IPM focuses on tactics that will prevent or avoid anticipated pest problems rather than trying to remediate problems after they occur.

IPM is the combined use of mechanical, physical, cultural, biological and chemical control methods. To properly implement an IPM program, you need to evaluate all control methods available.

In developing an IPM plan it is important to familiarize yourself with the growing conditions favorable to your crops and the pests to which they are susceptible. A team of individuals should develop the IPM plan. Having key growers, pest managers and key spray personnel involved in the process will help to ensure that all areas of production are addressed. By developing your management plan before you start your crop it will be possible to discuss the plan with your employees and ensure you have the supplies you will need.

You can divide your IPM plan into three key parts. The first part of your IPM plan should address sanitary measures before and during production. Ensuring no pests are present when you start your crop can save a lot of time and effort. The second part of your plan should cover your pest-monitoring program. A proper monitoring program is invaluable in any IPM program. Finally, determine how you will manage pests when they appear at levels that trigger a required treatment.

By determining in advance how you plan to manage common pest problems, you can be assured you have chemicals or biological-control agents available when needed. It is important to update you chemical management program every year due to new products entering the market. Many new pesticides are compatible with IPM programs in that they have a very narrow spectrum of pest susceptibility and are compatible with biological control agents.

As you implement your IPM program it will be important to keep in constant communication with your employees. At the end of the season, a meeting should be held to discuss the effectiveness of the IPM plan and make any needed changes for next year’s crops.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Field Day in Overton

I hope everybody is having a great 2010 so far.   I know the cold weather was a challenge for many growers.  I had problems with pipes bursting and heaters not working so I know what many of you went through last week.  This cold weather hopefully killed off some insect pests that were lurking about.

Now lets think about warmer weather.  The AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Overton will be hosting its first field day  dedicated to nursery and greenhouse production on June 24th.  We are still working out the details, but the program will start in the afternoon and wrap up with a free dinner.  We should be able to offer TNLA and TDA CEUs.

The field day will have something for everyone.   We will start off in the air conditioned auditorium with an overview of the research and extension programs at the Center.  The program will then move outdoors with field tours of Dr. Pemberton's plant evaluation trials and Dr. Steddom's and my pest management trials.  The NTNGA Memorial Greenhouse is now operational and will be a major feature of the program.   We will finish off inside with a great meal catered by Catfish Express (they catered lunch at the East Texas Nursery and Greenhouse Conference in 2009).