Bug Bites! Session 4: Biopesticide integration: strategy and economic considerations

February 9, 2021

- Good morning, everyone, and welcome to Bug Bites. My name is Jeremy and I am a greenhouse agent with Michigan State University Extension. This is the fourth in a series of short seminars by industry experts, speaking on topics suggested specifically by growers right here in Michigan. Before we start, I would like to recognize that JJ's presentation is sponsored by Plant Products. They have been a consistent supporter of MSU Extension educational programming over the years, and we're very grateful for it. Okay, well, with that, we'll get underway. JJ Klimp is the owner and operator of Hidden Leaf Greenhouse. It is a commercial horticulture operation right here in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Like many in the industry, he started working in greenhouses at a young age. He has been a grower for the last two decades and has years of experience using biological control agents to manage pests in commercial greenhouses. So JJ is locally recognized for his strategic use of bio pesticides and how he optimizes his program efficacy and significantly reduces overall program costs. JJ, thank you so much for joining us. There's an inherent risk to using pesticides and biological control agents in the same crop, but I'm assuming there are ways to make it work, yes? - Yeah, yeah, definitely, you can make it work. You just gotta think a little bit and time things out right. Okay, here we go. Hybrid bio programs. We're gonna focus mainly on thrips, and we'll talk about other stuff, but the rest we can handle with questions at the end. What, when, and where? Thrips are a common problem in the horticulture industry. And they're, by far, the biggest pest we encounter on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes varieties change, whether it be chilli thrips, western flower. But we kind of attack 'em for the most part, general base is the same. So here is what this is. Who am I? Jeremy went over a bunch of this. Congratulations to me, smiles and cheers. I am in the process of finishing a three-year buyout program on my greenhouse. We changed the name to this wonderful Hidden Leaf name and logo. Love it to death. I'm a father of five. So if people fully understand the busyness of the greenhouse, I fully understand that, and having children. It can make us the best and create some issues. So here we go, thrips. Thrips' lifecycle is pretty integral to when we apply our bios and when we are going to use backup safety sprays to help. Now, you've gotta understand this in order to get a full grasp on things. They lay their eggs in plant tissue, in stems. So they're rather hard to get. You can't do anything for the eggs. So once they start breeding, it's kind of all over from there. Eight to 15 days from egg to adult. Now, there's a wide range in there because of heat. When it's cooler, the life stages take longer to get through. And when it's hot, things speed up. So lots of you conventional chemistry guys out there, if we remember back, that's that five-day spray window, seven-day spray window. If it hits 80 degrees, you're gonna wanna be up in your sprays and go four to five days apart and rotating your chemistry. Or if it's cool, lots of guys out here in Portage, grow around 65. They can kinda relax and go every seven days. That's the exact reason why. With conventional chemistries, you're trying to hit the different life stages as they cruise through. So you're trying to get some instar twos and you're trying to get some adults, but the days in between you've gotta almost let them mature before you spray again. Otherwise, you're just kinda wasting your sprays. But in a bio-control atmosphere, we have a bit of a different spread here. So egg, two to four days. First instar is one to two days. Second instar, two to four days. Prepupa, these two pupil stages do not feed on plant tissue. So your damage is not coming from these guys down here. Prepupa is one to two days. Pupa is one to three days. These two stages, the thrips will drop out of the plant and either go into soil or debris, some place to take the energy they've gathered in the instar two stage, take that energy to morph twice to becoming an adult. We'll get into that here in a second. Adults live 30 to 45 days, depending on type, depending on heat. And they can lay five to six eggs a day. Once mating and breeding, they really get goin'. Next slide, instar one. Instar one is, man, I don't even know if I've officially seen without a lens, a really good lens, any instar ones. They can be out on the leaf. They're gonna be in the small, small crevices of the plant. And they're gonna be out feeding, feeding and growing. Most of what we see are adults and some instar twos. The prepupa and pupa, unless you're checking your gerbera blooms, you may find them in there 'cause that's when they will retreat to the bloom instead of falling to the ground. There's enough of a little honey hole there for them to go through these two stages sometimes up in the flower. Here's where the life stage part comes in. We talked bios, the entry level, the beginning, you're talking cucumeris People recommend putting out once a week, once every two weeks. It's casting a broad net to control this instar one stage right here. They do not eat any instar twos. So what we're doing is we're just creating some sort of percentage, some help in the instar one level. Cucumbers: they are small, they do not travel the best. So if you're dealing with something like verbena, tomatoes that are really hairy and spiky on the stems and leaves, they just don't get around much. They'll give you some, but I can't say how effective per se it is because it's really troublesome for them to just move around on those plants. Two to five weeks, depending on breeders, sachet. We've been doing breeder pile broadcast. So that's like two to three weeks. When we used to do breeder piles, we're looking at five weeks longevity of the little colony we're putting out. Limiting factors: food, predators, application, and heat. Food: if there's no thrips for them to eat, they kind of starve out. So that's one instance where the sachets and breeder pile method is better because the mold mites that are in the bran that we apply with are food for them, so they can keep their populations increasing and going. Predators: other mites. Other mites do like to eat them. Hypoaspis will tear through a breeder pile on the ground. When I first started this process, we tried to get cheap, and we mixed our hypos, our hypoaspis, with our cucumeris in breeder piles. Now we put 'em on and they seem to do good, but a year, and I'm looking at these breeder piles looking for longevity and I see these huge, fat mites, and turns out they were hypoaspis. Since the breeder piles were on the ground, the hypoaspis were always just returning to the breeder pile for a nice, easy snack of some cucumeris. And we thus changed our protocol. We were applying them together. So they were just right there eating 'em nonstop. Application. They don't move the best. They're super small. There have been studies done where they don't travel from a plant to another plant. The study was done on six-inch pots and they applied in the pots. And then the pot next to it, they didn't apply in the same shovel tray. And the mites did not go down and go through the dirt and back up into the new plants. They just kinda found the green landscape and stayed there. Now, once the plants touch, they go back and forth. But if there's a gap between, they don't. The only way I can explain this to you is if you've seen their size, they're so small. Just imagine you leaving like a food source, or your home, and wandering across this vacant desert in just search of something. No, you're just gonna stay where you're at. The same thing can be said when you're applying to like eight-inch mums or pots that are spaced. If you throw 'em out and they hit the ground, they're gonna come and find a green plant and a place to feed and live. But they're not going to leave there and go to someplace else. So that's why application is super huge. You have to be even in getting 'em out to have any control. Heat. When it gets super hot, the cucumeris tend to kinda slow down. They don't like it so much. I don't know if it's just the fact that their metabolism is too high and they just can't find enough food, I don't know what it is. They just don't like it and they slow down. Anyway, they will feed on two thrips per day. These are rough, rough guesses. Not guesses, rough knowledge I've gathered. Each one will feed on roughly two thrips per day. Now, then we move up to their big bad step cousin here, swirskii. Swirskii are a lot more expensive, but it's definitely a lot bigger bang for your buck. They are small, A, they are bigger slightly bigger than cucumeris. They are faster and stronger. These guys have all sorts of go-juice in 'em. You'll know it. As soon as you buy some and open up the tube, they're gone. They're gone. They are movin'. They remind me kind of like a persimilis or somethin'. But that's where you get a lot wider range. Their lifespan is still kind of the same. Two to five weeks for an adult. But if your food is right and they are breeding, you are gonna have some eggs comin' up where you can extend that two weeks. Same with the cucumeris. That will sort of extend because they'll replace themselves per se. Limiting factors: food, predators, application, and cold. So it's the opposite. The swirskii do better in the heat. I mean, if it's too cold, they're just too cumbersome. You could call 'em lazy or whatnot, but they like bright, sunny days and do not like to be cold. So you get better efficacy with the cucumeris when it's cool, swirskiis when it is a little bit warmer. Same thing with the application, right? They do move a little more. I did not see the study done on swirskii traveling from plant to plant. I would gamble to say that in a six-inch plant they would move, but on a spaced out eight-inch they are not gonna go across that black ground cover down the side of the pot, back up the other side of the pot. That's not gonna happen. Especially on a hot summer day. Oh, finger slipped in there. Same thing here, two thrips per day. I have heard that they will go after instar two larva of the thrip cycle. So they're just bigger, badder, meaner. They have a lot broader range and can take down a slightly larger, larger thrips. Okay, so there, we're covering the baby stages, were raiding the nursery in the thrips's household here and we're gettin' at the youngins. I'm gonna say this a bunch of times as we go through just to remind you. When we do conventional sprays, we are generally only killing the adults right here. So when you see numbers on your card, you've got a 30, you've got 30 adults, and you have a direct proportion of all these other stages still in the canopy and in the plant. So we spray the adults, we looked at the card. We spray the adults, we look at the card. But these guys are still comin'. So if you've got 30 thrips on your card, you have, I guess, a billion first instars and you have all the eggs already laid in the plant. You already have pupas down in the soil, along the edge of the sidewalk, sittin' in your gerbera blooms, down inside of your dracaenas, sittin' in the crotches of the leaves down by the base of the plant you're just waiting for all these to come out. So that's where we get into rotating chemistries, five to seven days apart, multiple, multiple, multiple sprays. Because we just killed these guys, we have to spray again when these guys get big enough for us to hit, when these guys come up from the soil. So one to three days, one to two days. Five days later, we have to spray again because these guys are now adults and they're up in the canopy, feeding on the plant. That's with conventional chemistry. We will come back to that in a second. Okay, prepupa and pupa. Eggs hatch out of the stem. They wander around. They feed, stay in the nooks. And being pert near unseen little tiny sliver white dudes, bigger, fatter sliver to sometimes I feel yellow. I think there's some fatties I can see up in the, you can see 'em right in the damage of the leaf. Lots of times I feel these second instars. They feed, they get all fat, they drop down to the soil or go some place to go through their little middle school years here. Now, conventional chemistries, I've heard of some orthene drenches and stuff like that. Most of our sprays are not gonna do anything for these guys, unless you are blowing the bank and gettin' all kinds of runoff. You're doing nothin' for these guys with your typical chemistry. That is where this guy comes in. Hypoaspis. I'm sure lots of you have heard of them before. They wander the soil. Quarter inch to half inch deep, just crawling around. Depending on how aerated you are, they can get deeper. They're just gonna wander around and look for food. Fungus gnat, larva, pupas and thrips pupa. I found, once I started incorporating hypoaspis, about, man, I think year two, we just started nonstop doing this. It really helped with control. Because instead of just attacking the smaller stages, I was now attacking yet another stage. Medium-sized, travel fairly well. They move. They're big. If you've been doing this long and just lookin' for mites and you've seen some, they're most likely gonna be your hypoaspis. And you can almost see 'em with the naked eye. They're really easy to see with a lens when they get up to their adulthood. They've got a big fat, round abdomen on the end and then the cream-colored head. They're wicked sweet. Two to seven weeks on these guys. They're gonna live a little longer just because the food source is just so much more. You've got shore fly larva, fungus gnat larva, thrips pupa. I feel they last a heck of a lot longer than the cucumeris and the swirskii. Limiting factors are moisture and application. Moisture is just, if you're running super dry, I'm a dry grower myself, and when it gets super dry, they just don't do so good. They don't like it. They need that moisture. And then we're back to the same thing with the application. You've kinda gotta get it on the pot for them to know where to wander around cruise and stuff. Feed on two to five thrips per day. That would be pupa then they're gonna eat and then they're gonna go looking for a mate. And as they grow, they'll lay eggs and keep going. Cool thing about this, this guy right here, and we'll briefly get into it later is, man, my second year, third year of doing biologicals, looking under my ground fabric in the greenhouse, we had pulled up the ground fabric and I'd called my representative, Carly, some of you know her from Plant Prod, and asked her what this bug was in my greenhouse. It was eight, seven-inch long to a quarter inch. It was this black thing. It was running all over the place. They were actually atheta. And since then, I have seen some hypoaspis. And (coughs), sorry about that cough. That's no COVID. But what had happened was we had quit spraying. And by the time our soil had started to clean up, I had never bought atheta and put them out in the greenhouse. They had just naturally come in. And since then, I have found some hypoaspis. Now, under our regular spray, our conventional chemistries, I had not seen these bugs. I had been in the greenhouse industry a long time and I sure as heck would've seen these 'cause they were glaringly obvious to me, the atheta. Just changing some ground fabric. But once we stopped with the conventional chemistries, our soil just became cleaner. Lots of the bifenthrin lasts super long time, the acephates, the other organophosphates, Mesurol, they have started to dilute and kinda go away so it could sustain a population of native species of bios. So when people say the bio program gets better two, three, four years in, part of it's knowledge, classes like this. The other part is literally, I believe, your soil is just cleaner and it's actually carrying over some of these predators that we're purchasing. And they are native. So there's your hypoaspis. I wanna reiterate again that when we spray, we're only attacking the adult. And when we use bios, we're able to attack the nursery here and come into the middle school over here to help with a percentage of control. Now, adults. Adults, we have sprays that can kill 'em. An adult lives for 30 to 45 days. In that time, an adult female can lay 150 to 300 eggs. So that is the problem we have with pesticide resistance. Once they start becoming unsusceptible and resistant to the pesticides, their numbers climb and we have to keep spraying again 'cause we're killing less of a percentage. And we're just chasing that dragon. Here, we have our Orius, minute pirate beetle. On a hot summer day, you can have a little gnat fly in your arm and actually bite you. And I would bet to 50% of time it's this little guy. If you look on his back and he has a cross shape of black and white, it is probably this guy. They're probably one-eighth inch long. And yeah, they're super awesome. They're large. They travel very well. They fly around. They'll live two to four weeks. I give control in my greenhouse four, so I'm reapplying at a two to four-week interval. Limiting factors: food, cold, short days. When it gets cooler, they slow down a little bit. They need pollen and thrips to eat, something to eat. They eat other stuff other than thrips. (coughs) Sorry about that again. So using a banker plant system, whether you're using Flash or, what's the other, we use Flash ornamental peppers. You can purchase pollen. We've done some Nutramax and put it out in the greenhouse. Now, Nutramax is the ephestia eggs. But you can apply pollen. You can grow banker plants with alyssum, marigolds, what is it, Black Beauty ornamental pepper, we use Flash ornamental pepper. Just to keep the pollen sustained because if you're like me, as soon as it has flowers on it, it's gone. So we use banker plants and inoculate the banker plants and keep reapplying to the banker plants. But they will travel away from that plant to go find food, to find your thrips and stuff. When it gets cold, they slow down. Short days are a problem. Because after about two weeks, the females will go into what's called diapause. (coughs) Oh, man, my throat is really tickly today. So the diapause, the females do not go to sleep. Something changes in their pheromones. All of a sudden the babies they produce will grow up to I think it's their second instar, and then they will go to the soil and just kinda fall asleep and hibernate. They diapause until the days get longer. And they wake up and come out and start finishing off into their adulthood. Now, they will feed on two to 10 thrips per day. But they're angry little bees. They will kill up to 45 thrips a day. So they definitely have a chip on their shoulder and they are a wonderful addition to any program. They might seem a bit expensive, but one of my good friends over at MSU years ago was working on a study of just using Orius for control, because they're bigger, because they travel farther. They are a decent alternative and a welcomed addition to any bio program, 'cause they will eat just about anybody. Okay, here we go. The full program. I told you, I was gonna get back to this. So when you're conventional chemistries, you're just going after adults per se. You might get some second instar on the leaves. The problem with this is keeping up sprays. You're leaving that residual on the leaf. These guys, the nursery is walking through it, getting minimal contact because you're not getting it on the bug. When I first started in the greenhouse industry, I was told both directions, super high pressure, to decrease your droplet size because you have to get it on the bug, these guys hide in the nooks and cracks of the plant. They're not all just sunbathing out on the leaf when you're spraying in the morning or in the evening. So the residual is where you build up lots of your resistance. Little, small, minute doses. When we look at a bio program, though, what ends up happening is I like to call it, it's the Kohl's Cash of the greenhouse industry. My wife goes to Kohl's, she comes with her 10% coupon and there's a 30% sale. And then she gets Kohl's bucks and it never, she never gets anything for zero. But it gets super close. So it's kinda the same instance here. Just because I use cucumeris, does not mean I'm not gonna have any first or second instars. I'm gonna throw the swirskii in. Oh, I'm not gonna get 100% of these first two instars. I'm gonna get a decent percentage of 'em depending on my application, but never 100%. Now, we add the hypoaspis and we're gonna get a good percent of pupils, the stages three and four, prepupa, pupa. But same thing, you're never gonna get every thrips that drops to the ground. Then we come with our emergency sprays, we'll talk about in a minute, and our Orius. And now, we're getting another good percentage of adults. So combined, we get a manageable, controlled environment. And if you need to be cleaner, you can up your rates up your application rates. But what ends up happening is the thrips we see on the card are, since we're controlling two other life stages, the damage precedes itself differently. When I see 30 on a card, yeah, I'm gonna spray and I'm gonna do something. But the guys creating the damage are far less because I've already been controlling 'em with the cucumeris. My adult load that is coming out of the soil is less because I'm already controlling it. So you've just gotta keep some of these things in mind. In one week, two adult thrips can turn into 25 adult thrips. Don't haul me to the coals on these numbers. It is really hard to calculate this kinda stuff because it incrementally grows so fast. But these are the rough numbers I came up with. So two adult thrips can turn into 25 adult thrips 14 days later, with up to 70 more in different life stages. So in one week, these two can turn into 25. 14 days later, you'll have up to 70 more in all these different life stages. Because these 25 on there were on their way to adulthood, these guys were still goin'. So it ramps up pretty quick. So the thrips numbers on your cards are direct indication of what's on the rest of your plant, yes. When you're doing bios, since you're controlling some of the other life stages, is a little different twist. But you're still looking at about two weeks, depending on the numbers you have on your cards to where you could be in trouble. So it's really good to keep your numbers at the front and make your decisions based on those. We went over the importance to attack different life stages. You must have plans started before the season. If you're gonna use the Orius, you've gotta get some bankers goin'. Whether you're buying bankers, we do make some and sell some extra of those. Or if you're gonna make your own, whether it be with alyssum, that's a quick crop to get some pollen, you've gotta have it, you've gotta have it planned out, as well as budgeting too. So we will next go into some costing. Okay, here is a bunch of biologicals. I buy a million of these things. So I don't know where your guys' prices are at. I just kinda rounded mine up a little bit to give it a fair shake. Here's cucumeris. Now, I apply 10 mites per square foot, is my aiming goal. One, two will get applied to 2,000 square foot in my greenhouse. Now, that cost is 3/10s of a penny per foot. Hypoaspis: 6.25 per square foot. I go a little lower on that, because they last a little longer and they're a little more expensive. Here's my cost per square foot. There's swirskii. Persimilis. If you have any spider mite issues, I tried to control them with conventional chemistries for years and it's pert near impossible with conventional chemistry. Persimilis is definitely the way to go. Gotta keep moving here. Aphidius-Mix. It's super important to identify which aphid you're going after. I have found that by the time I identify it, it's kind of a little late to use wasps, so I always just buy the Aphidius-Mix as a preventative. Now, that comes with colemani and ervi. The ervi will go after bigger aphids, like a sweet potato aphid, where the colemani are like melon, melon aphids, and stuff like that, the smaller guys. I buy the mix as a preventative, just because. If I do have a small population, I feel they find it and clean it up before I even see it. Now, if we get into a big population burst up or something that the wasps don't get to, then we're talking sprays and drenches. There's your Orius. I apply 1,000 per three quarter acre. That's almost two-tenths of a penny. And there's your atheta. If you're starting out fresh and new, it would be good to start out with some atheta. It doesn't matter what crop you put them on, 'cause they're gonna go out of that crop and wander everywhere. They are super fast, but they are utterly amazing. Here's the cost for the biorationals we're going to discuss. There's your Aza-Direct. There's your BotaniGard. This new one down here, Velifer is another bassiana. Just like BotaniGard, slightly different. We have been playing around with this one and we're really liking this one. (coughs) The Venerate is another one I'm kinda likin'. We're not seeing like super awesome control with thrips with it, but the fact that it is listed for so many worms and just true bugs and stuff like that is a very good broad, to just get out, to kinda give you a bump and help. Okay, we got Grandevo, there's price per foot. Here are the application rates we use here. Captiva. A few years back, I got asked by Golan to go to Columbia to look at a new product that they were bringing to market, and it was Captiva. And it doesn't kill anything per se by itself. What it does is it just irritates them and agitates them. So the guy explained it this way. He said, if you're gonna go across the field, a cow pasture, and we're gonna look at the poop on your shoes afterwards. So you'd go across the field and we'd look at your shoes and they were pretty clean, 'cause you had time to kinda step around the piles. And then he says, now we're gonna do it. And he got the timer ready and he took a bee's nest behind you and tucked it in your pants and hit it with a bat. And now you've gotta cross the same field. You got to the other side and you were covered in poo. Yeah, that's the way he explained it. Because when the bugs are agitated, they're gonna come out of their nooks and crannies. They're gonna fly around. They're gonna move on the leaf because they taste with their hands they taste plants with their hands, these bugs. So when they touch the leaf and they're irritated, they move. Well, there, we go back to what I was talking about earlier, is get it on the bug. When they're moving in and out, it's easier to hit them. So we spray this Captiva with all of our sprays. And just for fun, non-biorationals, I did these not rational. I just priced out Pylon, and the Pylon knockoff Piston just for craps and giggles. And here are the cost per square foot on those down here. Next slide. Planning breakdown. You take a program, you have to identify, you have to identify if you're gonna do the whole program or you're gonna do just certain things. We do not apply to everything here at my greenhouse. We haven't for years. We started out that way and then we started shifting things as we got knowledge. And I'll explain it here. So here is a program of flats for spring. You got your normal list. Begonia, celosia, coleus, impatiens. I have identified the three that pop out to me that we have seen that we have some thrips issues. Zinnia and salvia, they were pretty tight. But the salvia is a faster crop. We don't see too many problems with salvia. So those are the three I'm really gonna look at that consistently have problems. Then we're gonna pull 'em over here. So we pull 'em over here. These are the weeks. One week, two week, three week, four weeks. This fifth week is just early. So generally, we were looking at this dark green here. So your marigold crop. The first crop I do of the year is always four weeks, then we drop right down to three weeks to finish out the crop. So it's a problem child. But since the crop is only three weeks old, we'll decide whether we're gonna do somethin' to it. Here's our thrips gauge here. First week, I see thrips. Second week, they're growing. The third week, I'm gonna start seeing a lot of damage if I haven't done anything. So we'll just kinda keep that little cursor there and you can kinda take your eyeballs and move it down here and see where problems would ensue. And we look at the marigolds and we see like, man. By the time the thrips get really bad, it's gone. So it might be better to do something different with that one. Portulaca has plenty of time. And here, the zinnias have plenty of time. So we're gonna address these three. The marigolds, I choose not to put any bios on, because it's too short of a crop. By the time we plant it here, week one, wait 'till the end of week two, and apply, I mean, I've got one more week before it goes out, so I tend to kinda gamble on that one, knowing he's a problem child. If I have to spray at the beginning of this week two, I'm totally fine with that. But putting the bios out, the man time, the labor, just doesn't make sense. The portulaca and the zinnia, though, we have plenty of longevity to cause problems if we have the thrips in there. So we are going to do some biological control on flats for spring in these two categories here, portulaca and zinnia. So here are my bios. Here's the percentage for just doing cucs and hypos. Now, this is the price per square foot to apply. I've got my square foot over here, 2,400. And I did these two 'cause they were the same. I made these two the same so you could look. Here is my bio program. When I add the Orius and the wasps as a preventative in the area, it bumps it up slightly. I'm up to a penny a square foot. But that's with full control there. So portulaca, we're gonna apply week two. I'm gonna get two to four weeks of control, barring any baskets overhead that are just dropping unbelievably, large amounts of thrips on them. But there's the rough breakdown. I'm controlling one of the worst of my spread and it's costing me about 18 bucks to treat 2,400. Now, you will be buying more than that because you will have more. But this is just a one batch instance per se. And here are my zinnias. Now, I have added the Orius and the wasp to this one as blanket control to get all three. And there's my number. Let's go on to the next slide. And then the total, was it, no, that's just the cost thing. Here we go. Emergency biorationals added and compared to full biological program. So there, we had our full program. But let's say, like I was talking about earlier, we plant our marigolds week one and all of a sudden we're getting thrips on the cards week two. So I'm gonna come in and I'm gonna do a spray. In this instance, I chose to do a spray of NoFly with the Captiva. Remember, I add the Captiva to any pesticides that we spray. There's my cost per foot. And it takes about 40 bucks to spray. That's minus labor, for your grower. In this instance, same thing with impatiens. Sometimes you've got some baskets overhead, I start seeing thrips week two, I'm gonna spray. So there's the same spray, same emergency protocol with Aza-Direct and Velifer and Captiva all adds to tank mix. We really liked the bassiana with Aza-Direct in. And then we also add the Captiva. That combo works really well. Now, oh, here we have the portulaca. We put the bios out and things seem to be going good. But then here, week three, I start seeing some thrips. Knowing that I still have two, three weeks left, if you're a grower for many years, you know portulaca can be a little sketchy on your flower time. You know what, I just another spray right here. Your sprays, if they say they're safe for biologicals, that is it doesn't kill 30%, is the guideline to be labeled as safe. But what that does mean is it kills 70. So knowing that, we don't wanna just come in and spray preventatively once we've put bios out. So if I put bios out here and I have some weird inclination that we always have problems with these and I spray here, it just wouldn't be very advantageous. I'm gonna wait until I get some inclination to need to spray on a crop such as this. So if I have high numbers, I'm spraying, and I'm just knowing that I could be killing up to 75% of my bios. But there are the costs associated with that too. Here are my zinnias. My zinnias made it through. Yeah, we're good at 30 bucks on those. If I was to do all of my flats for spring, this is 40,000 square foot, I switched the numbers up, this is just the full bio program. I have done this and do do this with certain programs. All of my quarts get treated. All of my forage get treated. Just flats are so fast. I choose to break it down and use my head to make my bill a little cheaper. So in this one crop, here is the difference between choosing to wait and possibly have to do an emergency spray and just doing a full bio program. Now, these numbers are not absolute. This is just a show. We've been through multiple where we just did the bios. We didn't have to spray any of my flats. So just somethin' to consider. Here we go, on to the next one. Incorporating biorationales into quarts. I really liked this one. This gerbera one, because this is what the talk is majority about, but it's just so fast and easy once you understand it. Here are my calibrachoas. Calibrachoas always, always end up gettin' lots of thrips. They really like the thrips. So we apply the bios week two and then we wait. This is a six-week crop for us. We just kinda wait and see. Sometimes we sneak through without sprayin' and sometimes we have to spray. There's the spray. This one is the Aza-Direct and the Velifer and the Captiva again. And I just did the full mix of bios 'cause that's just what I do. Here's gerberas. They are really finicky crap damage. Can definitely blow up on you. So what we do is we apply twice. So gerberas, three to four weeks before finished bloom time is when the bugs are starting down in that eye. So we apply it to the second week, we do a preventative spray, sometimes even a sprench, but we do a preventative spray with this right here at the end of the third week. Now, I'm knowing that I'm gonna hurt these bios here, but I need this here, and I want it here so that it has a week to rinse off and (coughs) get ready for my second round of bios, which we time right when the bugs are starting down in that eye. Now, what this does is it, knowingly killing these and putting out more, it gives me control. We've been doing this for years. It works amazing. Sometimes we have had to add a spray here at the end. But it's just a great example of knowing the longevity of my bios and smartly sneaking in a spray. If I started seeing thrips here at the beginning right when I put bios out, I would still wait until here to spray. Unless there's like leaf damage over here, I am going to wait to spray because, let's just face it, this is a normal colonization. So the more food, the healthier the adult population, the more eggs. You've gotta throw 'em a bone to get the wheels spinnin'. And we've got plenty of time before we start seeing flower damage here. Because the flowers aren't even gonna start until this week, week four part right here. So we plant the plant, we put our bios out, we let 'em do their work, we let 'em go. We have our preventative spray and it's not wiping the slate clean. But just because it may or it's decreasing it, I give another boost right here with the second app of bios to finish us out and keep the flowers clean. The same thing happens with our baskets. I chose calibrachoa 'cause that's just one of the worst ones that I've found. I've heard tons of people say, oh, you don't have to do anything to baskets. Yeah, not at my place. Maybe I run the heat too high. But it's the same thing as the cucs. So I plant 'em, pot type, I'm applying bios. We hang them right here. We hang 'em three weeks before. So in this instance, what I'm doing is I'm applying the bios, letting them run their course. Now, before hanging, because of aphids and such, we used to use Imidacloprid, we used to use, I mean, all kinds of stuff. Met52 has gone. We used to apply Met52 right here, but I'm told that it's gonna be gone for this year. So we have played around with some Altus drenches. We drench with Altus. We rinse the leaves. Then the following week, to give it some time for the residue to go off the leaves, we apply bios again before hanging the basket up. So that way I know I've got something in the soil systemic, I've got more bios on the leaves before I hang it up and it sits for three weeks before sale. Here are some numbers and what that looks like. This is 750 feet worth of baskets. So it's a big batch of calibrachoa. We're puttin' 750 foot worth of bios out. We do this to all of our premium baskets. Get this regimen. I just put calibrachoa to put in there. So this second round of bios here before I hang the basket, the square foot I actually double it and apply that same amount of square foot on the small amount of square foot of basket. So I just double my dose. That is factored in here. Here's the first and here's the second app right there. The second app is double. Just because when you hang 'em, there's technically more space in the air. That is where you will be putting on your sachet, whether you're doing popsicle sticks or hooks. 'Cause I don't do sachets. I used to do breeder piles, but we found 'em to just broadcast a sick, crazy large amount onto a small area, gave us the same control for the three weeks that I'm talking about. Once you go outside, thrips generally tend to slow down, if not pert near go away. The Altus drench, here's the numbers for that. That's per square foot. It's just a drench. And we rinse off everything 'cause I don't want it on the leaves. I want it in the soil. So we drench it on and then run a pass of fresh water, just feed, just to get as much off of the leaves as possible. I think it helps with my bios too. So questions, if I didn't run too long. - Thanks, JJ. Thank you very much. That was pretty darn awesome. Okay, I'm gonna take one second here to acknowledge that it is just before noon. We ran a little bit long, but we've got a lot of really interesting info along with it. So this session is being recorded. It will be available sometime in the very near future. So if you do have to leave, no worries, you can absolutely view this at a later time and I'll send it on an email with a video link to all the registered participants when it becomes available. Second, and those of you who have been here, you know what's coming. So your feedback is super important to us. It's what help guides our effort to develop interesting and relevant programming for the benefit of the floriculture and the greenhouse industries. So when you leave this seminar today, you're gonna be directed to a two-minute survey. It really doesn't take much time at all. I try to keep them very short. But the results are really quite meaningful to both us and our guest speakers. So we sincerely appreciate you spending a few moments to share your thoughts with us. All right, JJ, we have several questions here. Are you ready to go? - I'm ready. - All right. So this came a little bit earlier in the presentation. For sustaining crawling beneficial lifespans, do you have a preference for using sachets with the bran for food or using supplemental sprays like Nutrimite as a food source? - I haven't played around too much with the Nutrimite I haven't done supplemental bran. We just use the breeder pile mix. Depends on the longevity of your crop. I mean, if you were doin' like palm trees or somethin', it would definitely be a good idea to do something like that because you're expecting that population to live so long instead of reapplying. It's somethin' to look at. I, personally, the breeder mixes of the cucumeris are just so cheap. I tend to look at just reapplying. And I still buy the breeder mixes, because they still have the mold mites in it in the bran. So as I reapply again, the guys that are leftover that have made it now can wander around and find the new food source with a bunch of new population boosters. Yeah, so I hope that answers the question. I haven't played too much around with the pollen addition. But on any long crop, the sachets are highly beneficial because they're timed coming out. That hole in the packet, they find the hole they crawl out, so it's this longevity of just slowly kind of releasing. When you do an immediate breeder pile or just a super broadcast, boom, I mean, it's there, it's instantaneous. Your cucumeris per square foot are there. They're eating, they're going. When you put the sachet in, if you don't have control and you have a real bad thrips population, you gotta wait for them to crawl out of that hole. Now, granted they're gonna be breeding inside and coming out, but it's just a little different look on the whole thing. - So you broadcast the feeder mites along with the predatory mites, just send it right out there? - Yes. - All right. - Same price. They haven't charged me (audio warps), right? - Extra for the feeder mites. Next question. So with hypoaspis, oh, it's a tough one. So in your experience, do they favor any food source over the other? Like for instance, will they eat trips over fungus gnats if both are present? - Man, that is a really good question. - I might have to get back to her on that one. That's a great one. - I would love to guess and say that, the fungus gnat larva are larger. They have to catch 'em when they're smaller. 'Cause I can't imagine 'em doing too good of a job on a three-eighths inch long, big, old, black head, clear body fungus gnat larva. But the thrips pupil are more their size. I would think they would eat them. I wish Suzanne could chime in. - Yup, she's there. So from a biological standpoint, I can see both from pests and predators. Even with generalists, most things do display a preference for some things. And I do think you have a very good point there with the size of the prey itself as well. And so, frankly, if you had a much smaller prey that I could conceivably eat without getting hurt in the process, then I might go for that one too. So they probably do. Okay, there's a question for JJ. Have you ever tried weekly, full year nematode sprays for thrips and fungus gnat control? - I haven't full on tried it. It would've been part of my presentation, but we've just drifted away from it. The nematode sprenches. I found it easiest to sprench with my booms in the greenhouse, rather than deal with the pressure rating and the screen for putting 'em through your sprayer, because there's definite problems with that if you're not addressing your pressure down. But it's all kind of the same question. We have done high-speed sprenches with my mist nozzles on, my booms. And the way it turned out was that, it's like $45 a package to do that. So $45 in 8,000 square foot, I can kinda spray somethin' else cheaper than that. I can put a whole heck of a lot of cucumeris on in the beginning, preemptively, to give me better longevity and a higher population of mites versus putting it on the nematodes. Now, as to speak to whether they work, I think they work phenomenal. I should have looked back. It seems like I've got a picture of thrips in a osteospermum bloom, where you can actually, we applied it and you can actually see the nematode right on one of the thrips. It was pretty cool. So I mean, I know they work and they work great, but it's just a cost standpoint from there. I mean, you can only have 'em for two weeks. In your cooler, you have that huge pack, you better use all of it. We've kind of drifted a little bit away from 'em, but they're amazing and they do work. I have not done it every week, though. I have not done it that way. - Interesting. Okay, so there's another follow-up on the nematode sprays. So gerbera and other spring ornamentals can be produced clean without other pesticide sprays. Also, is there no adverse effect on Orius with only nematode sprays? - Okay, adverse effect on Orius. They're pretty big. I mean, you're gonna get to some of the babies. But spraying your crop? I can't imagine too many babies and lots of our crops are pretty short. So by the time they mature, I grow my own breeders or banker plants. I've been selling them for a few. And it takes a while to establish a juvenile population of Orius. Man, it stands through, I haven't heard that it decimates a population of Orius. Whenever we do sprays or we do nematodes, we just move our banker plants. I know that is not a good answer. Suzanne would have a little more on that, but I haven't dealt with her or had any problems with it per se. - Yup, they're giving you some pretty tough questions, JJ. So like the others. So those nematodes are fairly generalist. And if it can remain alive, I guess, on the integument of the insect, the adult Orius, then, conceivably, it could infect it. I think the chances of that or probability is much lower than, say, the infection rate for nematodes on other soil pests, where the whole environment is much conducive to the nematode health. Okay. - The Orius are just so big and so fast. I would speculate that they, they ain't gonna do anything to 'em. 'Cause the adults are just so big and fast. But the juveniles, but then you're getting into where the juveniles are actually in your gerbera crop. - Our expert in the crowd says that they have not ever had any issues with nematodes being used in combination with Orius. So there you go. - Awesome. - All right, we have one last question here. Do you put the Captiva and NoFly in the same tank mix? Or do you separate the two sprays? - Yes, ma'am, and always whenever I can tank mix just to save our man hours. Just this morning, we sprayed NoFly, Captiva and I threw in some C's just for craps and giggles. I've got sweet potato program we're doin'. And that was kind of just a preventative. But I always put it with tank mix. - Okay, that sounds great. I think we're mostly just done here. One second. Yup, I believe we are. So JJ, thank you so very, very much for your time today. Without any other question, I do think that that wraps, that wraps up our fourth session here. So thanks for joining us, everyone. Be sure to tune next week for a session on fungus gnats and shore fly control with Saul Alba and Greg Bryant from Beneficial Insectary. Please note that this session has been scheduled for Monday, instead of the Tuesdays that we've been using. That is to accommodate our National Election Day. Also, because Saul and Greg are on the West Coast. We'll be starting at 1 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. In the meantime, if you have any further questions, you can always send them to me. Thanks again, everyone. Have a great week.