Stephen Vinisky, Oregon

Narcissus pest control – Chemical & IPM update from Farwest Show

August 27, 2012

Categories: Bulb Fly, Diseases and Pests, Nematode

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This update information only applies to the USA. The situation will be different by country. I am NOT an expert in these areas. The information is taken from seminar handouts and hastily scribbled notes. Believed to be fairly accurate but strongly recommend that interested growers do their own research.

I attended several Farwest Show seminar tracks that related to Chemical controls and IPM (Integrated Pest Management) controls in nursery crops. NONE of the seminars directly related to Narcissus as a crop however some information seems that it might be applicable. I have specific interest in following existing/future control methods of: Large bulb fly, Bulb scale mite, and, Bulb and stem nematode.
Chemical controls: A key point stressed is that NO NEW chemical controls are in the immediate pipeline due to the horrific costs of development and approval. Current minimum approval costs was estimated at more than $25 million dollars for a single pesticide, fungicide, or herbicide. No new chemicals are expected for the next five to seven years. Therefore those that currently exist are all that we have to work with. Some reformulations and combinations of things that exist and are currently approved might be expected but nothing new. Due to insect/pest developing resistance, rotation of control chemicals is of extreme importance.
IPM (Integrated Pest Management): One humorist in the audience (it wasn’t me!) suggested that IPM stands for I Pay More….. There is some cause for enthusiasm in the IPM arena. Mite control has an optimistic outlook although all the info was presented was for greenhouse control. Control of mites outside had less clear results. A specific strain of predator nematodes is being developed for fly control in horse and dairy barns and might have some applicability for the Large Narcissus fly. Bulb and Stem nematodes might be suppressed and/or controlled by another specific strain of predator nematodes. Interested commercial growers should contact their regional biological control suppliers in order to develop an effective trial IPM program based on their situation. Note that the mentioned strains of predators are specific. None are available as a generally formulated consumer product.
In the IPM approach, much more falls on the growers shoulders. A much more comprehensive understanding of specific pests is required to succeed with an IPM program. Understanding of emergence dates and times, insect development stages, predator habits and biology, application of predator timing, constant monitoring and record keeping for both pests and predators, and application methods (along with many other factors), are very different from chemical controls. As an example, the threshold for applying chemical control is generally when one notices insect damage. With the IPM approach, once one notices damage, it is too late to apply effective control. That puts the grower in the position of applying predators based on the biology of the pest to be controlled. A very different approach from spraying for damage.
Thought and hoped that this update and comments might be of interest to some.

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One Response to Narcissus pest control – Chemical & IPM update from Farwest Show

  1. Bob Spotts, California
    Bob Spotts, California
    August 27, 2012 at 1:54 pm


    Your comments on chemical controls and IPM are helpful. I’ll post a message describing the issue I’m facing.