Optimization of management practices for biological control of thrips and other important pests of ornamental crops

Les Shipp, AAFC Harrow; Jacques Brodeur, University of Montreal; Cynthia Scott-Dupree, University of Guelph; Rose Buitenhuis, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre; Graeme Murphy, OMAFRA; Phyllis Weintraub, Agricultural Research Organization, Israel

Management of arthropod pests continue to be a serious challenge for greenhouse operators. Conventional controls are failing and few options remain to combat pest problems especially in the floriculture sector. Dr. Les Shipp with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has taken a targeted approach to assessing natural enemies by using pollen as a supplemental food source to boost the populations of predatory mites. Results have clearly demonstrated that cherry pollen, a readily available commercial product, is the most suitable supplementary food with predatory mites. Through this research, a set of cost-effective best management practices have been developed for the seasonal use of the predatory mites Neoseiulus cucumeris and Amblyseius swirskii for pest management of western flower thrips in greenhouse ornamental crops.