Education and Training to Increase Adoption of IPM for Western Flower Thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae)

Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman, Norman C. Leppla, Amanda C. Hodges, Joyce L. Merritt

Abstract


The University of Florida, IFAS, IPM Florida and Southern Plant Diagnostic Network (SPDN) are cooperatively developing education and training to increase integrated pest management (IPM) of western flower thrips (WFT), Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande). Management of WFT is exacerbated by difficulty in identifying thrips species and by their development of insecticide resistance. Education and training will emphasize workshops on identification of thrips; insecticide resistance management protocols; description of the effects of insecticides on natural enemies, i.e., Orius spp., and use of the “Grower's IPM Guide for Florida Tomato and Pepper Production”. Thrips identification aids, such as a national field-based identification deck currently under development by the SPDN and the North Central IPM Center (NCIPMC), will be useful to Florida growers. This kind of information will be delivered through Extension programs, including workshops, in-service training, field days, and classroom education. A section of the IPM Florida website is devoted to thrips in several Florida crops (blueberry, cotton, greenhouse and nursery grown ornamentals, pepper, strawberry, tomato) and contains general information, such as (1) F. occidentalis biology and ecology, (2) management tactics incorporated into an IPM program that is crop and location specific, (3) identification of thrips and natural enemies, (4) practices that reduce damaging pest populations in space and time, (5) problems with managing F. occidentalis and other pests, (6) updated, crop and location specific information on population levels, and (7) resistance monitoring. Future needs for specific in-service or other educational programs, including advanced diagnostic training sessions, will be determined by clientele groups. Adoption of IPM for WFT will benefit growers by minimizing insecticide resistance and maximizing benefits of cultural practices and biological controls.

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