Biological Management of Insects and Diseases

March 6, 2023

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This session has held as part of the vegetable track during the 2023 MI Ag Ideas to Grow With virtual conference. This virtual conference held February 27-March 10, 2023, is a two-week program encompassing many aspects of the agricultural industry and offering a full array of educational sessions for farmers and homeowners interested in food production and other agricultural endeavors. Sessions were recorded and can be found online at

Video Transcript

Alright, this morning the kickoff session for the vegetable track is about biological management of insect pests and pathogens. I'm an entomologist. I came from a background of learning a lot about bugs. And so I'm going to lean into that a little bit in this presentation. Pathogens is something I've spent the last decade learning more about and how to talk about them, how to think about them. And then more recently, some of the biological approaches to managing them. And I'll talk to the best of my ability on that. I enlisted the help of a friend and colleague named Dan eagle, who is actually based at Purdue University to help me conceptualize some pieces of that part of the talk. So as an MSU employee, our programs are open to all. Alright. I'm gonna kick it off with a question here. What is biological pest management? The official definition, I guess you could call it, is conserving, augmenting, or introducing populations of biological organisms to do something that you want done. Can any of you think of any examples of that? And I found this nice picture that really exists from a Godzilla movie that looks an awful lot like a hoop house and a major infestation and a biological control agent that's been deployed to handle it. And I think a lot of people are coming from this angle. And the fact that there's something that looks like a hoop house in this picture points to another aspect of biological control. It is something that is a little easier to handle when you have more control over environmental variables. And the hoop house or greenhouse is a place where you have more control over environmental variables. That tends to be where some of these things are a little more successful. And I want to get a little more into that idea. So control over environmental variables is something that is known by another name in other industries, It's called process controls. And essentially it's like a standard operating protocol. There are checklists and there are conditions that must be met in order to get a consistent product time and time again. When it comes to biological systems, usually comes down to a few factors. The acidity of the environment, the temperature of the environment, oxygen level, the moisture, the salinity, sunlight, air movement, things like that have a huge effect on some level biologicals. And here's some examples of other industries using biological systems. Some of them are a little closer to what farming and gardening is and some of them are a little further afield. So here's pickles. Pickles and a big tank. They're fresh. That tank is full of a salt brine and that's salinity kills everything else that can live in that liquid. The solidity and the pH combined. It's very low pH, It's like 4.5. The only thing that can really live in that environment is a closely related group of organisms that eat sugar. And when all other bugs are excluded, then they can take off and in preserve these pickles through the process of eating their sugars so that there's pickles don't go bad. So they manage that system through managing salinity and pH primarily. Those are the two environmental controls that are most important. Fermenting beer is another set of organisms that are employed and there's certain temperature requirements and length of time of cooking and things like that to make a consistent product. Hold on. My door just opened all by itself. Ok, about managing environmental conditions. Alright, composting is another example of a system that is very biologically oriented. In this case, oxygen is very important. You don't want it to go without oxygen. You want it to have oxygen to increase the number of air-breathing organisms that are at work inside the pile and reduce smells. Contrasting that is anaerobic digestion, which is a way to basically generate power out of waste products. And in this case, there's no oxygen involved in a whole different set of organisms comes out of the woodwork and is used in you manage that by reducing the amount of access to oxygen. Baking, similar to beer making, utilizes a yeast to make it happen. And you need to be consistent with that yeast so you get a consistent product. And then cheese to especially the stuff with the blue stuff inside, right? That's that's, that's mold. That's basically controlled growth of mold. And that control growth of mold is managed through environmental conditioning. Several successful cheese makers utilize caves, essentially because the environmental conditions in caves are so stable that that's the place where they can do the best job. And you have to think about using biologicals, whether there are big ones that you can see or little ones that are microscopic. You have to think about using them with these environmental conditions in mind in order to be most successful. Okay, so I'd like to spend a little bit of time understanding who is here in terms of where they're coming from with experience here. So I've got a bunch of questions here. You can answer anyone you want really, I'd like to know if anybody here has used biological controls in the hoop house or in the field. Let's start with those. The top two, it says, Has anybody use biologicals themselves and like a hoop house or greenhouse setting or in a field setting, basically, I mean outdoors. So you can be at a garden level, a larger farm level. I'd like to know if you've tried that before. Okay, Someone's use VT. That's a good example. Bt in a field setting that's a well-used product. Okay? So few people have I got a specific from somebody about having used to be T. Colleen has tried. It sounds like a trap cropping system there. Okay. And for the rest of you who have said no, I'm assuming you're here because you'd like to learn more about it and perhaps try something. Okay, Melville is, hey Mel, How are you doing? Mel's use an orchard setting for Brown mom read it, stink bug. We've got some greenhouse uses here would be t nematodes. Oh cool. Predatory mites. Wow, got a diversity of experience in Bonnie. Thanks Bonnie for sharing that. Okay. Barry, his wondering what bio controls include cover cropping. Cannot some cover crops suppress certain insects? That's an interesting concept. I'm aware of. Cover crops being used specifically to out-compete weeds. And in that sense, the n, it could be a bio control. And I'm also aware of certain cover crops that don't necessarily suppress certain insects, but they don't allow them to flourish. So e.g. nematodes, the ones that are the pests, nematodes, the most common one in our part of the world is called the northern route not nematode. And they eat the roots of a lot of broad leaves. And they're most problematic on something when you sell the root, like carrots, but they don't feed on grasses at all. So if you, if you use a grass cover crop like oats, barley, rye, something like that. Or you even use the sweet corn crop to rotate during the main production season, then you prevent them from expanding their populations. They don't they don't really go down, but they don't increase. Oh, you got my brain going. Now, there's a certain variety of radish. There's actually three. It's very specific to the variety, not, not the species. One of them is called the defender radish, I think another one might be called red dragon or something like that. And it's used in the sugar beet world because there's a nematode that each sugar beets. And what they've found is this very specific variety of radish will attract the nematodes and then trap them there in a way that they cannot reproduce. And so it draws the population down. But that's very specific to that sugar beets system. Okay, a few other folks here, Kathleen is used to innovate as a soil trench. Okay. That's a that's a product that enhances plant health. And I'll talk a little bit about that. Elizabeth is used parasitoids, lay swings, beneficial nematodes, tracker derma and bacillus in a greenhouse setting, cool commercial greenhouse, nice. Adam is used organic veggies. Let's see here he's used biological controls. Bacterial based fungicides. Okay, released wasp lays swings. Alright, cool. We've got a wealth of experience here. I'd like to know if anyone's in the audience who deals with these products in a way, and by that I mean, they serve as a distributor or if they even raise their own whether you sell them or not, I'm not sure about the legalities there, but I'm curious if you've tried maybe propagating your own your own bios. Okay? So Chris Rose is in the audience here and he's a person who can serve as someone to take you further if you'd like to continue on this on this path. Chris Rose is a person in the audience who can help you with that. He works at a company called bio works. Chris says they've used sterile comp free for V 0 concrete. Yeah, it's an interesting product. Kind of a homegrown deal. It's a plant if you have not heard of comfort, it's a plant that's related to forage. It looks a lot, the flowers look like Baldrige. And if you're not familiar with Bohr edge, then I can't describe it much more. But it makes an interesting sort of liquid decomposes readily into a liquid with many properties that people enjoy. Garden level, mainly that I've heard of. Okay. Well interesting. Great. Thanks for sharing to active bunch this morning. Okay, Great. We're going to move on then. We're going to start with some insects. And it can sometimes help to categorize the main groups that we consider pests. And you can identify them all the way down to species. And sometimes that's important and sometimes it's not all you need to know is this higher level organization to take action. And we're just going to stay at that level for this talk. The main groups that are typically have the most sort of momentum for bio control, I'd say are the four on the left. So thrips, aphids, mites and white flies. And the reason that there's a lot more availability of products to control these is because they're one of the primary greenhouse, the greenhouse pests mainly. You can get them in the field easily. But in a greenhouse setting is where they really tend to take off really quick. And so it's also kinda harder to spray really toxic stuff in a greenhouse because the concentrated space, there's human safety concerns. And so a lot of research has gone into developing markets for biological agents to control. These guys are in the greenhouse and it doesn't always translate to success in the field. But there's a lot of availabilities there, from parasitoids to little, little bugs that eat them, even to nematodes and fungus and bacteria as well that can control them. The ones on the right. There's plenty of stuff available at sometimes it's kinda hit or miss and there may not be as much available. Caterpillars. There's quite a bit. Okay. We've got BT as a bacterial thing. We've got several different wasps, but many of them aren't commercialized. With beetles and grubs. There's a few biologicals that are fungus based. But again, when it comes to, like other bugs that eat beetles, it's not as commercialized. Depending on the species. Flies and maggots. There's a few things for greenhouses where we've got fungus gnat problems and there's some biologicals that handle them there, but it's a little tougher to find stuff for some of the big problem bugs in the field. And then true bugs are basically stink bugs and the other bugs that have like a shield like shape to them. And the availability of products there is also here and there. Um, these guys go through several life cycles where they're smaller and sometimes different bio controls work on them better when they're smaller. But these are the main groups I'm gonna go through a few of the, you know, like probably top-level bio controls. And I'll put these little symbols at the bottom to showcase what it is that they can work with. So the first bug I'm going to talk about is called the minute pirate bug. It's a predator. It's got this sort of checkered back to it. It has a poker knows it's got a straw mouth instead of choppers. And what that means is, in my in my opinion, really, what I've seen is that Owing, because they have this poker. They can hitch a ride on bugs and they can poke them. And then what they do is they inject them with a juice. Basically that they digest the bug they want to eat inside the other bug and they paralyze them. And this can have an effect where they can take on bugs a lot bigger than themselves. Because they don't have to chew them. It'd be a lot harder to sort of take apart above that's much bigger than you when you're smaller than it. But by being able to paralyze them helps. So they'll, they'll stab and poke. And they take out several different insects, including aphids, thrips, white flies, and some caterpillars. They're really quick, they fly really well. They'll often colonize fields. If you're in a field operation, they'll colonize fields readily as long as there's flowers. Because what they do when they're not eating bugs as they're feeding on nectar and sometimes pollen. They really like nectar. And in some senses, or in some systems, greenhouses mainly. They're actually raised on peppers. You can get small pots of ornamental peppers that flower profusely. And they serve to just host these guys a little mothership with lots of yummy, yummy pollen and nectar that they like. And then they fly out from there to get some of the other proteins they need from eating insects. I've known a few pepper growers in Southwest Michigan who have noticed that these come in later in the season and they wipe out thrips without having to do anything else, but withhold insecticides. They're really neat. They feed that all life stages and they'll bite you to. They really have no fear. They poke. Yeah, it feels a little bit like a tiny little bite. But they're really fearless. They're kinda neat. Another little guy that you can buy as a predatory lace wing. Perhaps Chris Rose can chime in on some of these. I believe you can get them sold in the egg stage. And so you can shake them out on plants as an egg. You may also be able to get them as a larvae. I'm not positive on that. But these are also insects that puncture and poison their prey. They have these big old looking choppers on, right? But really all those do's, They're just two needles, boop, boop. And they inject their digestive fluids and they're paralyzing agents and it holds their prey still. They also take on things that are larger than themselves. They're really fast. They don't fly though, as when they're in this stage, when they're eating, they don't fly. That's the larvae. Once they molt into this little ball, little fuzzy ball, they turned into a pretty little bug that doesn't really do anything but eat nectar and pollen. So once again, it's helpful to have some of these backup resources available so that they can reproduce in the field where you've installed them. I have a story about these. I had a grower who had a hoop house. Hoop houses, one with peppers and tomatoes and the other with zucchini. And the, they had a thrips outbreak in both. And they got lace wings for both, for both houses. And they released them at a similar rate. And when I scouted the houses a few weeks later, I couldn't find any lace wings in the squash. And I saw tons of thrips and the squash, like nothing had really changed except the thrips have gotten worse. But in the, in the hoop house with the tomatoes and peppers, I didn't find anymore thrips, but I did find eggs of the lace wings. And so what I found interesting was that the primary difference between those two houses was the crop architecture. The leaves and the stems of squashes are really pokey. And there's a lot of places where thrips can run and hide and it's a little tougher for this type of bug to chase them down. And then the, the benefit ratio wasn't really in their favor because strips are sort of small and wiring. And they weren't really getting a lot out of the chase that they had to give through all these complicated leaf structures. But peppers are very smooth leaved. Tomatoes are smoother than squash. They're a little hairy, but they're smoother than squash. The other difference was that some of the pepper plants at aphids as well, which don't move at all. And I think that what happened was the lace wings went to the easy prey first, they bulked up on these aphids, which are these nice little sugary, sugary guys. And they started reproducing and then taking over the hoop house from there. So is it really interesting biological system between those two hoop houses? One of them had alternative pray in a simpler leaf architecture, and the other one had no alternative prey and a complicated leaf architecture. And it seemed to make a big difference with how the lace wings performed. Predatory mites or another, another insect that eats other bugs. And they are also affected by leaf architecture. Because they're really small. You can get a few different species that work on different other little bugs. They're usually targeting thrips and mites. The two most common ones though, are the pictures I have here, Swiss, ski and persimilis. And I spoke to a rep from Copart a few weeks ago about this. And what he was able to tell me is that persimilis is produced so abundantly because it's a very effective product that you can order them anytime and they can ship them anytime. Because they're just always being produced with source. They need a little bit more time. And the reason you might choose one over the other is that persimilis has, has what they call like a knockdown effect. It seems to, it seems to take out populations that are large and spinning out of control. And they do that better than source UI. Ui needs more time to build up. And so they don't have quite a punch effect in the beginning. Often people will order both at the same time. So persimilis can do a knockdown and Swiss guy can build on background populations. And then we've got predatory Beatles to alright, and lady beetles are the main one here. There's lots of types of them. Some of them eat aphids, some of them eat make mealybugs, which I didn't have a picture of for this. But you can see mealybugs here. They also have to life stages where we're one-stage is like a crawler, kind of like lace wings. That's what these top two pictures are. And this one down here. And then they have the adult flight, flight capable venal. And I've heard of people ordering the Beatles themselves and then putting them in the garden and just watching them fly away, which seems to be fairly common when you get lady beetles. They do a lot of work in the background and typically you can find them on crops where aphids are the biggest problem. You might find the Beatles before you find the aphids. And at that point it's up to you to figure out, okay, well, does it look like the aphid population is low enough that the lady beetles can handle it? Or do I need to supplement or maybe even use an insecticide if it's too bad. Adam put an interesting thing in the chat there. I think you'd find that basically the entire bio control industry is reliant on, on insects that are probably not native to where they're being deployed. But in terms of how they are collected, There's differences. And I can't speak much more to that. Many of them are raised from a population that is at onetime collected and then the array is completely inside after that. And Chris put in something in the chat about talking with experts for consulting on your farm. So great, thanks. Alright, we've got predators, we've got parasitoids, and what parasitoids do is they kill the bug and they live their entire life cycle in the live a portion of their life cycle inside of another bug, and in the process they kill it. So two of the most common aphid parasitoids, or a Phineas and APHA Linus. And they operate slightly differently and they change, the effect is different colors actually see you can kinda tell which one is doing what. Some of them turned on black, some of them turning brown. These are often bought as a paring, not always, but often as a pairing so that you're almost looking for, you're diversifying the way these organisms hunt and parasitize. Here's one that you can't buy but works really well and you can find them fairly easily. In squash fields. Squash bugs are an insect that are sort of secretive and they don't move very well. The tendon stay in fields that they invest and not move so much afterwards. But there's this little fly called the feather-like fly that goes around in a parasitize them, lays their eggs right on their backs. And it's a very flashy fly. And you can often see the fly before you see the squash bugs because of how bright it is. Unfortunately, this is not one that's commercialized. Trickle grandma is a commercialized parasitoid. There has been used for decades on corn and potato peppers for European corn borer, which is a caterpillar, lays these eggs that look like fish scales, and these wasps then lay their eggs in those eggs. In Europe, they've been used extensively and organic crops there. They're spread by hand. And more recently they've been deployed through drones that drop these little balls that are full of parasitized corn borer eggs. And then the wasps come out and then they work their magic in the field. And here's a few bulletins that I wanted to share with you. See if I can reduce my thing here and I'll put these links in the chat. So you can take a, take a peek at some of these resources here. You go. Save those for later. Those are more on the bugs. Now we're going to switch to some other things. Oh, shoot, still talking about bugs. So I just talked about all the macro, the macros, the ones you can see with your eyes, the miter, a little tough, but there's a bunch of microbes to that will also attack insects, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and nematodes. And they all have somewhat similar effect in that they kill bugs. They often change the way they look in the process of doing that. And that's how they operate. You can often get them in a liquid because these are microscopic organisms. You can get them in a liquid, sometimes in a, sometimes in something that you have to make wettable. Some of the BTE is coming up out of that you make, that you then dilute. Once again, how you deploy them can be important. So nematodes, e.g. are often considered subterranean. Not all of them are subterranean. Some of them can handle some sunlight, but spraying nematodes on leaves on a bright sunny day, we'll probably not yield you the best effect as if you were to do it on a cloudy day in the morning. These often get applied in several ways. The ones that can that can mobilize themselves are often deployed in containers where they can release themselves and spread. And if they're really good spreaders, then you don't need them on every plan. If they're not great spreaders, if they're crawlers, then you often do need them on every plant, like in these cases up here, or with something like a shaker here. Some growers have gotten it creative with how they spread and have developed things like a Gatorade bottle and a leaf blower to spread, spread mites on a population of plants. Then also, you can modify your habitat to be more conducive to these insects and some of you in the chat and I've already mentioned doing this by growing trap crops and putting an alternative crops that they can live on. There are some pictures here of prairie strips. That's what this is here. Basically perennial flowers that never really see tractor equipment after they'd been made. Here are some annual flowers that are, that are incorporated into crops in the same year as another annual crop. And then here in a greenhouse or this is this banker plant idea. Where there's a plant here that hosts a pest that doesn't affect the main crop. So in this case, cucumbers. So it may have a different sort of bug that can, that can serve as a alternative food source for the good bug that you want to be around. It's called banker plants. If you want to Google more into how that all works, Look, look up banker plants. Okay, I'm gonna move on to diseases. But if any of you all have experienced on squash bugs in the garden, Frank. Frank is posed a question to the whole group. My personal experience with squash bugs in the garden is to try to look for the eggs, which look like little, little bronze footballs and they're arranged in like diamond shapes. Look for the eggs. And you can either crush those eggs with your fingers, rip them off the leaf. Some people use fire, but then you can damage the planet obviously. But in a commercial setting, what's used is an insecticide sprayed when the eggs are seen. They're only going to be on the plant for four days about before they start to hatch. The idea is to time and insecticide applications so that when they emerge and they walk on the leaf, the first thing they touches a leaf that has an insecticide on it and then they die. That's the commercial approach. But there are other ways. Obviously, many of you probably have some experience. If you're willing to share with Frank. We'd all appreciate it. I'm moving on to some diseases here. I'm going to start with a similar sort of structure to talk about the four main groupings of diseases because that affects how you think about them. We've got fungi which spread spores. And typically the spores are wind blown, not all the time, but many of them are. We have bacteria which reproduced by just splitting. They don't really made, they just kinda split. Okay. And bacteria need water to spread. They spread through splashes. Then we have oh my seats on the bottom right, which is sort of like fungi, sort of like bacteria. They make spores like a fungi and sometimes they can blow in the wind, but they can also make these different kinds of spores which swim in water like bacteria. So they can spread both ways through the wind and splashing water. And there are different enough that bacteria sides like copper and stuff don't really work well on them. And also many fungicides don't work well on them. They need a very specific treatment if you're gonna use a chemical approach. And then the last one up here is viruses. Viruses are vectored. They don't really spread all by themselves. They get vectored by insects. They get vectored by touch from your hands and breakages and plants. But they're usually carried by something to the plant. Not typically through wind and water. When it comes to diseases, the main approaches with a pesticide or bio pesticides, there's not a lot of macro things, easy things to see with your eyes that will have an effect on pathogens. That's because pathogens are themselves microscopic. So it often, the whole battlefield sort of changes until this really small zone. All microscopic happenings. They operate in a few different ways. They operate through direct toxicity. So one of these pesticides, we'll just kill the part of the pathogen. It'll kill it by disrupting some way that it works. It will make it so that it can't photosynthesize where it can't breathe or it can't reproduce. They can also work through parasitism where they actually infect the pathogen, pathogen that infects a pathogen. They can work through competition as well, where they are simply stronger at colonizing a surface. And once they've colonized that surface, they act like a bullet proof vest. And so that when pathogens want to colonize, they are unable to. And it doesn't mean that they're also pathogens. So some of these organisms, we'll cover a root surface, e.g. but they'll either have no effect on the plant directly or they'll benefit it in some way. And that's why they want to be on that route. And there's some sort of symbiosis happening. One of those SimBio, one of those symbiotic processes could be the last thing where it induces a response in the plant. It changes the way the plant is thinking or operating essentially. So I'm going to talk about a few of these. And like I said, this is something that's still new to me. Chris Rose has already put something in the chat for if you'd like to talk to someone that's more of an expert on this and who could even sell you something. But I'm going to talk about a few representative groups that work in different ways. It's, it's, it's not as easy to see how these things work, but there are some good pictures and here are some. So act innovate is a product that's made from this bacteria called Streptomyces Lucas. And how it operates is it creates a direct toxicity in its immediate environment in a way that a pathogen cannot really approach. You can see this in some of these plates act innovate in this tray of agar and fuse area in which is a soil pathogen primarily is unable to get around it. It creates some sort of fencing, basically a chemical fencing that prevents the path to be completed. You can see it's working on phytophthora here, not quite as well, but it's doing something. Here. It is working on Pythium. It's important to note that Pythium and also phytophthora are, that they're all my seeds, which are those ones that need special approaches, usually seems to have an effect on them. Parasitism is represented here by a product called Contents. And what that is, is a fungus that colonizes the overwintering parts of the pathogen called sclera or tinea. That pathogen works on a whole bunch of different crops. It's often called white mold. In some crops that gets different names like in tomatoes, sometimes it's called Timber rot because what it does is it hollows out the stems. It gets filled with these little black rat turns, and then they collapse. They fall over like a tree timbre. Well, these little black pieces are actually the, the overwintering part of the plant or the fungus. The fungus infects the plant. It only goes through one cycle a year. Okay? It doesn't reproduce all year long. It goes through this one life cycle. And at the end of it, it makes these black pieces which go into the soil and they start the process again the next year. So what contents does is it infects these black pieces. And that's what this picture is trying to represent. It's really hard to know what's actually happening here. But these, these overwintering bodies are being colonized by the contents fungus, the fungus. The label on this is a little confusing. It's written the last time I saw. It was written in a very traditional sense in that it lists a crop, you apply it to the crop is supposed to work. However, the most appropriate way to use this product is in the fall, after the crop is out, when you can apply tillage. In that sense, it doesn't really matter what the label says in terms of crop. You may want to think about if you can use it for next year's crop. But the reason it makes more sense to do it then is because that's when all the overwintering bodies are on the surface of the soil because they've fallen from where they've invested the crop. If you can remove the crop or apply contents and then till the crop in to destroy all the residue that gives the contents the highest chance of encountering one of these little black pellets. Then, because bio controls usually take longer, it gives them this whole fall and early spring to take action on them. Cleaning things up for the next year. We've also got another parasite here. This is called content or sorry, this is called agre. Agre Fage is a virus that affect, that attacks bacteria. So it's like a little machine that jumps onto the side of a bacterial cell and it just spins out its own little strip of DNA into the cell. And then the bacteria cell gets converted into making more viruses, making more of these little machines that then float around and just spread. The company that makes Agra, which makes it for three different, three different pathogens. It can attack bacterial spot, bacterial spec, and bacterial canker. The main drawback to this is that it's a little difficult to use it and it needs to be applied weekly. So either sort of a constant supply of it. There's currently research being done on how to make this product in easier one to work with, with a longer shelf-life, with an easier mixing protocol and things like that. And I think Agra fascist made some advancements there and other researchers are trying to do the same. Alright, we have a pathogen here that works as a competitor. Let's called clonal stack ease rosacea, and I first learned of it as glia cloudy. And it comes under a few different brand names. Last stop is one of them. You can use it fully early. And what it does is it sort of colonize as a surface in a way that prevents the sporulation of fungi, sort of like a pre-emergent, pre-emergent herbicide. That's sort of how it works. And there's some data from my friend and Purdue on its effects on early blight and tomato. And then there's also some that do more than one thing. So tripod derma is probably, I would say of all the, of all the biologicals for diseases. I see this, this organism in the most products track of derma hard Asiana and there's a couple of others. Sometimes you get more than one track of derma and the same product. And it's primarily used at the root level. And it has a nice long residual. It's often used prophylactically when most of these have to be used that way. When I say prophylactic, I mean, it's used before you, before any problems or there you use it just as a matter of practice. And then if you have a pathogen, great, if you don't, great, but you use it anyway. And a lot of folks will use this in the greenhouse at the transplant level. It helps for preventing damping off if you end up over watering on accident or you water, but then it stays so cloudy for so many days and the plants don't really grow in the water, just sticks around. That's when damping off really takes off. In this organism seems to, seems to provide some defense against that. The last main function of some of these biologicals for disease management is by actually changing the chemistry of the plant to defend itself. One of the products that does that is called regalia, which is an extract made from a not weed species. And this is a picture of not-we here if you have not seen it before. I do not think they're using Japanese, not wait for this. But if you're here in Michigan that you've probably heard of Japanese not weed and you may be. Wishing they were using Japanese not-we and to make this because that stuff just really noxious, it's all over. But the way it works is when it's applied. Oh, Adam said he's used for root shield before. He said it's difficult to gauge the effectiveness. That's exactly right. It's really no different. Sorry, I'm going to make an aside to address what Adam said in the chat. It's very hard to assess the efficacy of many pesticides, not just biologicals. And the reason is if you use it in the problem never presents itself, then it's hard to know. If it worked. The only way to really do the best trials to compare these things is to inoculate the pathogen. So you have, you have one hoop house say in which you use root shield. And you also spray it with a disease to make the plants get sick and then force root shield to show if it works. And then in another hoop house you use root shield and you don't spray the disease all over the place and then see how it works. But most people don't have the time or the space to do that sort of thing. It's very expensive to test all these products and many products that are of a biological origin. Depending on how they write the labels, don't have to go through the EPA for regulation. I believe root shield does because it has a very traditional looking pesticide labeled. And I have seen, and so in that sense they do have to show efficacy data for it to be labeled that way. It may not cover every circumstance or every disease, but there is some data out there. That's what it tells you if it has a pesticide label on it or an EPA label on it. But there's a lot of stuff that people can make and market without having to go through any regulatory agency. They don't have to show efficacy. And for that reason, the market in general for biologicals can be a little wild west D, in that way. Can be tough to know if something is effective or not. That's a great point you made there, Adam and I started, I went off on this huge tangent, but it is what it is. So I'm going to talk again about the systemic response here. In this little, this little chart I made here refers to data that came from my friend at Purdue and he got some, but he's also, he's the pathologists and he's aware of this stuff in the larger pathology world where several people are testing this stuff. And what we know about these, these ASRS or systemic response products is that they do change the chemistry of the plants. And it changes the chemistry of the plant so that they, they turn certain chemicals on that our defense oriented chemicals. And an easy way to think of this are things like bad tastes or even some smells that don't come up for us, but maybe other organisms can smell it. And why doing that? They reduce what they spend their energy on for other things like fruit production. So if you want, I'm trying to get at is if you use a product like regalia and there's another one that active guard, I think it's the other one I'm thinking of. Especially active guard. I know I'm very familiar with the data on that. If you use Active Guard too much at a too high of a rate, what happens is the plant grows very well. But it doesn't produce as much fruit because it's, it's only got so much energy to commit to these different things. And if it commits at all to defending itself, then it doesn't put it into fruit. So it's sort of a careful balance with something like Active Guard. There's other products that I've seen some data on. Also from my from Dan eagle at Purdue that seemed to show a bit of a cry wolf response and some of these products so you can apply it and the plant does upregulate some of these defense compounds. But then if it's not met with an actual challenge than it isn't, it changes its chemistry again, it goes back to what it was doing. Then if you apply the product again, it upregulates again, and then it goes away. If you, if you keep doing that, essentially you desensitize the plant to the stimuli. And when a real threat arrives, then it's sort of like not, not really ready for it. It's cried wolf essentially. So it's a little bit, a little bit of a tricky thing there. There's some, Here's another combo, combo deal. But Bacillus subtilis is another really well researched and long, long used product that's still, that's often used at the soil level. Again, similar to trickle grandma or sorry, tracker derma. It works on a lot of different pathogens, fungi and bacteria and all my seats, which makes it a jack of all trades. And as you can see here, it has a direct competition effect on the plate against rise at Tonia, but it also has a systemic response, like in the previous slide that I don t know as much about that part of it, but I've read that it has that effect. And it's used commonly in hoop houses similar for starting transplants. It's similar to root shield. Application of some of these biles for Disease Control are often in a liquid carrier. Not all the time, but there often are. So when it comes, if you want to amp up your your use of these products, it's really not so different than how you would apply anything else that you would spray or spread? You can do a drench. Sometimes they're applied to hopper boxes as a powder or some sort of slurry. And oftentimes they're incorporated. Sometimes during a transplant, transplant trade wrench to now similar to oh, I got a question in the chat here. Is cinnamon effective on molds? Ah, you know, it's funny, Colleen, I just saw this. Just the other day. Someone was explaining how they soak seeds. They were talking about tropical fruits. They soak seeds in water and then they put them on a, on a paper towel that's moist. But before they folded up to make it germinate, they sprinkle cinema not That's the first I'd heard of that. I can't really speak more to it except that it just recently came to my attention. Kathleen, your question about serenade? I don't have an answer to. Perhaps Chris knows about the status of serenade. Last piece here. Oh, thanks Katie. Hey, Katie. Last piece here. I'd like to address this habitat modification, which are coming from the bugs side of things. Seems like it gets a lot of attention. And I think it's because flowers are involved and people like flowers. And it just attracts certain, certain individuals. For diseases. Some of the habitat modifications that have the most impact. You. You can just grow. You can just grow to the point where like you just don't see them anymore. Because they seem so wrote. So average in a way they're not flashy. Things like rotating your crops, using a cover crop that's a different species from the two crops on either end. Destroying your crops quickly when you're done with them, they're not very glamorous things, but they have a large effect and they shouldn't be ignored. Because what you're doing is you're reducing the host that these pathogens can reproduce on. You. You don't want to have your hosts around longer than you need it. Another option that's sort of a new thing, relatively speaking, is a process called anaerobic soil disinfect station. And it's a process that modifies habitats and it uses process controls, like I had mentioned way back in the beginning about pickling and various things that your control acidity and all of that. The ASD process involves feeding the soil with a hefty amount of carbon. And it has to be something that can be easily broken down, not wood chips. Something that's finer than that. Folks have commonly use rice halls, wheat middlings, or just plain molasses. They put it on at a high rate. I mean, very high, like six to nine tons per acre. More than most things you would apply. Then the water then water is applied to the point where there's no air left between the soil particles and then it's tarps. And what that does is it awakens a bunch of organisms that laid dormant in the soil that operate when there's no oxygen present. And what they do is they feed on the carbon. They produce by-products that drive out the aerobes or the air breathers. A preponderance of our plant pathogens or air breathers. So it drives them out. It turns on these anaerobes and you let that go for a few weeks. It has to reach a certain temperature for a certain amount of time. And then you drain it and you poke holes in the plastic and it's ready to plant essentially, sort of a new thing. Okay. So there's a whole other talk I could give on that, but I'd be the least qualified one to do it. But I feel like there's a potential to use this process in Michigan. In hoop houses in particular. For people who are doing tomatoes year after year after year. It's a good opportunity for that. But also perhaps even in the field, if we have enough time in the spring to do to start the process, and if we could leave the field long enough so that when midsummer transplants are being done, the field would have a chance to do the process. Maybe there'll be more to talk about that in the future. I'm not sure. I've got a couple of other resources here that I think are worth following up. One is from a colleague at Cornell who just does a ton of work. She's just retired. I'm really bummed. She's just she's done a ton of work. Her name is Maggie McGrath. I'm on bio, bio products for Disease Control. She's had a really nice reference library on so many things. Great person to read it, read into. And then this other resource here is from Ohio State from a researcher named ANA testing. She now works for the USDA. She's still based in Ohio and she's continuing to do research on anaerobic soil disinfect station for these northern latitudes. And she's focusing mostly on hoop houses. This sort of works also being done at Penn State University. And I'm gonna be doing a, not a real trial, but I'm going to be trying it with a grower this spring. We've had a really bad nematode problem here in Southwest Michigan. In a hoop house. We're gonna give it a, we're gonna give it a try. Alright? Okay, That's what I've got for you all. And we're pretty close to the end here. But if you'd like to stick around, we can't stick around and we can talk more about anything you'd like to talk about. Heather put a cool thing in the chat. I saw this webinar that she just shared in the chat from E organic website. It's really good. It goes into everything you'd like to know about the anaerobic soil disinfection process or the ASD process from a hoop house angle from a Penn State researcher and also field scale stuff from a Florida researcher. Really great.