Below is a compilation of pest scouting tips from industry pros straight
from this month's digital issue of Greenhouse Management Magazine. If you
are not already doing so, you should consider a formal pest management plan
for your school greenhouse. This is a great SAE opportunity for one or more
of your students.

*Mastering the basics*
Every greenhouse’s scouting program is different, but the most important
part of any program is sticking to it.

*Compiled by Chris Manning*

[image: image.png]
Regular scouting, mixing up the scouting pattern and tracking pests and
diseases over time are some of best practices for growers.
*Photo courtesy of Jeremy Jubenville*

For greenhouse owners, pest scouting is an important task that is sometimes
forgotten or not done regularly enough to make an impact. Here, three
industry experts offer their advice on how to make a scouting program stick
and make it work for your business.

*NANCY RECHCIGL*Technical field manager, Syngenta, 30-plus years of
industry experience
The very first thing is to have a dedicated person for scouting. Everyone
that’s working in the greenhouse or nursery should have eyes on the crop,
but having someone who is regularly dedicated to scouting the crop will
find problems earlier as opposed to really seeing the symptoms down the
road. When you have a scout, and you have a good scouting program, those
scouts will find those problems — pests or disease — earlier. And that
means corrective actions can be taken faster and that probably means fewer
applications have to be made to correct the problem. It keeps the quality
of the crop in a better condition. ... The other problem with not having a
dedicated person is that people working directly with the crop have other
duties — fertilizing, planting, etc. They can’t do a thorough job.

The second thing would be to have a plan of how you’re going to monitor the
crop. Have a plan of how you’re going to approach it. Know where you’re
going to start scouting and plan to alternate your scouting pattern every
week, or at least every two weeks, so that you’re covering an entire area
and are keeping your inspection random. ... It’s always good to carry some
flags or stakes or something so that when you come across a problem in the
greenhouse, you can flag it. That way, you can be sure that when you’re
going to go in and do a treatment, you’re going to do a thorough job. And
that makes it easier to go back and re-check the area to make sure you did
a thorough job.

*JEREMY JUBENVILLE*Floriculture and greenhouse educator —Southwest
Michigan, Michigan State University, 10-plus years of industry experience
There are a couple of things I think are really helpful. You should create
a map of your facility — graph paper helps. And you should take that along
with you as you scout, probably once a week. Some people forget to do that.
I recommend using pen and paper for this because I’ve done it digitally or
seen other people do it digitally. It doesn’t really stick, and they get
lazy with it. Some other common pitfalls are moving too fast through the
crop, misdiagnosing a disease or physiological disorder and misidentifying
an insect pest. This is especially important when using biological control.

Make sure that you’re recording this in a spreadsheet and tracking numbers
for different locations. This is especially important for something like
thrips. When you do that, you can track trends over time. That way you know
if they are creeping up, if they are spreading throughout the crop. You
won’t know if you’re not keeping track of it. Sticky cards are a great tool

[image: image.png]
Using sticky cards, taking notes while scouting and marking spots to
revisit with stakes are some of the many tools and tricks growers can use
to boost their scouting program.

*Photo courtesy of Jeremy Jubenville*

*DOUG VANGUNDY*Vice president of R&D, Central Life Sciences, 30-plus years
of industry experience
Know what you’re doing — it’s got to be specific knowledge. And know the
pest spectrum for each kind of plant material that you’re growing. If it’s
a plant material that has a propensity towards aphids, then that’s what to
look for.

Most greenhouses, in my experience, grow a variety of different plants and
it takes somebody — I think it should be a dedicated individual — to be the
scout. Some of these greenhouses are huge, too, so they might need more
than one person dedicated to that.

It’s going to take more than one product to combat the whole pest spectrum.
A grower could be dealing with mites and aphids and thrips, and they’ll
need different kinds of products from miticides to insect growth regulators
to systemic products to quick knockdown products. ... Identifying the pest
is important, as is knowing the economic threshold of combating that pest.
If you see one aphid, it’s probably not time to spray, but it gives you a
heads up to say, “Well, I’ve got one. I better look around more in [the]
greenhouse and look at more plants to see if they have a problem.” IPM and
timing of that spray is going to be so important. ... Some years are going
to be worse than others and that makes that scouting program so important.
If you have a history of spider mites in your greenhouse, then having
products on hand to take care of that makes sense. But these days, if you
have a distributor nearby or someone that [you] have a relationship [with],
you can get what you need fairly quickly.

Josh Allen
North Region Ag Education
1420 Experiment Station Road
Watkinsville, GA 30677
706-202-0770 cell