Last part of our article series on IPM

Integrated pest management for indoor cultivation pt. 4

Thus, we get to the final part of our series on pest management for indoor farms. We have seen the most recurring pest in part 1 and part 2. In part 3, we explored different cultural practices to prevent the spreading of diseases and pest outbreaks. Today, we are going to focus on pest scouting and monitoring.

As it should be clear by now, the best approach to get rid of pests is to create the conditions for them not to develop. While we have indeed explored the cultural practices to achieve such prevention, there are other things that help significantly with that: namely, pest scouting and monitoring.

Scouting is all about looking for early signs of insects and diseases, while monitoring is about tracking the severity of the infestation over time. Both of these processes help to identify pest issues and catch them in time. When these are combined with a swift reaction and the appropriate control measures, growers can sleep worry-free at night.

Tips and products for scouting
As a best practice, pest scouting should be carried out on a daily basis. Growers should look for injuries and symptoms, as we have detailed them in part 1. Randomly select plants and lift a few leaves from the bottom, middle, and upper third of the plants. Particular care should be taken when checking buds and blooms. That’s why it is advised to use a microscope or a magnifying glass to help identify the pest.

During the scouting, a grower should always walk every aisle and move from bench to bench in a kind of snake-like pattern. Usually, 10 minutes should be spent for 20 or more plants every 1,000 sq. ft. The same procedure should be followed all the time[1] . It is advised to start from the main doorways, as this is where disease and pest problems usually begin, and to pay special attention to the plants in their proximity.

Some recommended products are:

·         Grower’s Edge Illuminated Magnifier Loupe 40x

·         Grower’s Edge Illuminated Microscope 60x-100x (Greater magnification level than the model above)

·         Grower’s Edge Universal Cell Phone Illuminated Microscope with Clip 60x

Tips for smart monitoring
Sticky card traps are particularly useful for monitoring the severity of the infestation. Yellow sticky cards tend to be more attractive to aphids, whiteflies, and fungus gnats, while the blue ones are more effective for thrips and adult leafminers.

These traps should be placed in a grid-like pattern, with one card every 1,000 sq. ft. These should be put above the plant canopy, and the position should remain the same every time they are changed with a new one. By doing so, growers can accurately determine the increase or decrease of pest populations. Cards should be checked twice a week, at least, and should be replaced every 1-2 weeks – depending on the severity of the infestation. It is critical for growers to count and keep track of the captured insects before discarding the cards. Equally critical is taking note of the areas where infestations most commonly develop, as to better prevent that from happening.

Some recommended products for this are:

·         Sensor Cards Yellow Monitoring and Trapping Cards

·         Grower’s Edge Aphid Whitefly Sticky Traps

·         Grower’s Edge Thrips & Leafminer Sticky Traps

Thus, our article series on integrated pest management has come to an end. Be sure to check out part 1, part 2, and part 3 in case you missed out, or you need to refresh your memory.

For more information:
Hawthorne Gardening  

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