Free Water Conservation and Treatment Webinars

Free Webinars: Water Conservation and Treatment
Learn about the latest water treatment and conservation research in these six webinars presented by the Clean WateR3 (cleanwater3.org) research and outreach team, and hosted by the University of Florida IFAS Center for Public Issues Education

These free webinars will be 45 minutes long at 12 noon ET on consecutive Tuesdays, beginning on January 24. 

Webinar 1

January 24th

Clean WateR3: Research you can use on water conservation, recycling and treatment

Dr. Sarah White, Clemson University

Webinar 4

February 14th

Reasons we do or do not use water treatments and technologies

Dr. Alexa Lamm and Dr. Laura Warner, University of Florida

For more information and registration click here 

Webinar 2

January 31st

Manage diseases caused by Phytophthora and Pythium in nurseries

Dr. Johanna Del Castillo and Dr. Cassandra Swett, University of Maryland

Webinar 5

February 21st

Enhance irrigation practices through audits and monitoring

Dr. Jim Owen, Virginia Tech University

Webinar 3

February 7th

How do leading growers solve water quality issues?

Dr. Paul Fisher, University of Florida

Webinar 6

February 28th

Sensor-controlled irrigation and pathogen management

Dr. John Lea-Cox, University of Maryland

Pesticide Collection Day

If you are an ag operation in Hillsborough County and have any unwanted or unusable pesticides that you would like to legally get rid of we have an opportunity for you.  Hillsborough County agricultural operations can dispose of stored pesticides that are out-of-date, suspended, or unusable during an Agriculture Pesticide Collection on Friday, January 27th, 2017 from 8:00-3:00, at US Ecology, 7202 E. 8th Ave. in Tampa.  There will be no charge for dropping off chemicals and no questions asked.  There will be a very brief survey to help us gauge the value of this type of program for the future.
This program, hosted in partnership between Hillsborough County Economic Development Agriculture Industry Development Program, the Hillsborough County Extension Service, and the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County, provides farmers a safe and economical way to dispose of their unwanted pesticides, to avoid the potential public health and environmental risks associated with long term storage of these pesticides. The initiative also educates agricultural pesticide users on proper handling, storage, and management practices.
Funding for the collection is being provided through a grant from the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County Pollution Recovery Fund. This funding is limited and the collection will be closed when funding is exhausted.  This happened last year and we were forced to shut down earlier than expected due to the high amount of pesticides we received.
Pesticide manufacturers and distributors, homeowners, universities and government institutions, including state, county and local government pesticide users, are not eligible to participate.
For more information on the collection, contact Simon Bollin, Agriculture Industry Development Program Manager, Hillsborough County Economic Development Department, at (813) 276-2735 or bollins@hillsboroughcounty.org.

When:  Friday January 27th, 8:00-3:00
Where:  US Ecology, 7202 E 8th Ave, Tampa
Cost:  Free!


A New Whitefly in the Neighborhood

A new whitefly that hasn't been on the continent of the US before has now showed up in Polk County.  On October 10, 2016, Division of Plant Industry inspector Laura Ureta-Cooper submitted whiteflies she found in Polk county.  That was the first detection in the Continental US of a new whitefly.   Approximately one month later, another and totally independent sample was submitted by Phil McDonald of Island Environmental Pest Control, Inc. from Palm Beach County.  That sample also turned out to be what is referred to in the Pest Alert as Aleurotrachelus near anonae.
The host range listed in the literature includes Anona squamosa (Annonaceae), Morus indica (Moraceae) and Zingiber sp. (Zingiberaceae).  In Florida, this whitefly has also been found on banana and avocado.  Only two counties have been reported as positive for this whitefly: Polk and Palm Beach.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry has posted an alert on their website.  You can download a copy from this web link:  http://www.freshfromflorida.com/content/download/72797/1916960/Pest_Alert_-_Aleurotrachelus_near_anonae_Corbett,_Whitefly.pdf 


WPS Changes

There are a few changes that will affect how you run your operation according to the new revisions to the Worker Protection Standard that go into effect on January 2, 2017.  Things such as, your new hires that work in the field will no longer have a grace period before they are trained in WPS.  They also will need to be trained annually instead of every five years.  As employers, you must keep a record of training for two years.

A list of a few of the other topics where changes occur are:  hazard communications, notifications of treated areas, minimum ages for handlers and early-entry workers, a new application exclusion zone, an OSHA fit-test for handlers using respirators, a medical examination for handlers using respirators, decontamination supplies, emergency assistance, the definition of enclosed space production, and the definition of immediate family.  Here is a UF factsheet on the new WPS changes entitiled, "A Summary of Revision to the Worker Protection Standard - 2015 by Fred Fishel.    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/PI/PI26100.pdf



In case you missed our classes on the new Worker Protection Standards that are going to take affect on Jan. 2, 2017, we have another opportunity for you to be trained as a trainer at our class at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center.  On Thursday, December 15, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 1:30 PM you can register for a WPS Train-the-Trainer-Training.  To register so that you can be certified to train your employees on the WPS click on this link to register for the class.

If you are a private applicator and just want the information, here is a link to the new standards. https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/pesticide-worker-protection-standard-how-comply-manual. 

Poinsettia Field Day at UF

Registrations are now open for the University of Florida Poinsettia Industry Short Course on Dec 6. We hope to see you there to review the latest poinsettia varieties and UF greenhouse research. 

Location: UF Research Greenhouse Complex, 2475 Memorial Road, Gainesville, FL 32611.

8.30 to 9.20 Registration, walk-through greenhouse
9.20 to 9.30 Welcome and introductions
9.30 to 11.00 Poinsettia cultivar trials (Jim Barrett)
11.05 to 11.50 Heat delay and research presentations
11.50 to 1.00 Lunch sponsored by Syngenta, Commercial breeder presentations by Beekenkamp, Selecta/Ball, Dummen Orange, and Syngenta Flowers
1.00 to 2.30 Poinsettia cultivar trials repeat presentation (Jim Barrett)
Registration is $50 online registration at tinyurl.com/UFpoin2016, or $60 at the door.

For more information, please email floriculturealliance@gmail.com.


2016 International Plant Propagation Society Southern Region Annual Meeting Highlights

I just got back from the IPPS-Southern Region meeting and had some great tours of some surrounding farms near our meeting site of Virginia Beach.  We also had lecture time to share what we are innovatively doing and protocols for production.  Here are some of the observations that I thought were interesting from the field....
Pot-in-pot production with drip for larger materials.  

Boxwood blight is a real problem in the Northeast.  We needed to protect the nurseries we visited with strict protocols such as wearing foot booties so no soil would be moved to other places.

A picture of a large cell, liner trays that are used for stepping up material

A home-made contraption for unrolling cold-frame coverings mounted on a fork lift.

This nursery uses guys on sheet rock stilts to perform structural pruning tasks.

These guys are using a jig made from a flexible plastic board to space plants.  The piece has a spacer (metal bar) for distance between rows and lines on the board for where plants should be placed in-row.

An interesting application for a garage door as an entrance in a greenhouse setting. This allows for pushing a button and opening the door for entry.  The springs and motor are enclosed in a gear box to protect from the elements.

Shipping plants holding a board to keep plants from moving using a simple angle iron and vice-grips.

Mum trials on capillary mats for water savings and quality improvements.

Latest Pest Update

Here is the latest Pest Update for ornamental growers.  I would like to give credit to Lee Bloomcamp from Syngenta for taking the time to provide this information for growers.

Disease Issues

Leaf spots are prevalent now, as foliage ages and dies off.  Unless plants are going to be sold soon, treatment for foliar diseases is unnecessary, especially for deciduous plants.  Most leaf spot disease have long life cycles, and treating affected foliage now may not reduce leaf spot appearance.  Use a systemic fungicide as a drench to protect new growth as it emerges for better long term control, and use fungicides preventatively to keep infection from occurring.

Powdery mildew is active, recently seen on Mexican petunia, verbena, Gerber daisies, goldenrod, snapdragons, and crape myrtle.  This disease like cooler weather, with high humidity.  Scout regularly and maintain a preventative fungicide application program on vulnerable crops.  Mural, Palladium and Concert II are all very effective against  powdery mildew and leaf spots, other good choices for PM include Milstop, Eagle, and Phyton 27.

Downy Mildew is also showing up.  Salvias, basil, roses, coleus, and viburnum are some of the primary victims.  Downy mildew is systemic, meaning that it lurks in the plant until conditions are right for spore production.  That’s why fungicides are best used preventatively, curative rescue applications are often too little, too late for this fast-moving disease.  Limiting leaf wetting, increased spacing and airflow, and removal of severely infected plants is also important.

Phytophthora, Volutella and other systemic stem and root diseases continue to be a problem across Florida.  Extreme summer heat and the need for lots of irrigation are contributing factors.  In woody plants and some herbaceous material, cutting in to the stem tissue can help with diagnosis- discolored tissue indicates possible Phomopsis, Volutella or other die-back diseases like Phyllosticta  and Pestalotiopsis.  Roots are often unaffected.  With Phytophthora, roots are often discolored, and little to no evidence is found in woody tissue.  Segovis is an outstanding addition to phythophthora rotations- fully systemic, drench and foliar applications, low use rates and a 4 hour REI.  Bacterial disease symptoms can look like both.  Consider getting a disease analysis done if problems are severe, as a number of things can cause general dieback associated with these diseases. Specific fungicides and cultural controls are needed, and time and money can be wasted on the wrong products and techniques!

Sanitation is key to disease prevention- clean up old, diseased leaves and cuttings to reduce inoculum, and be ready to treat new growth as soon as it appears.  This is when many disease cycles begins, even if damage doesn’t appear until  foliage has matured.  Send samples off for diagnosis if problems are persistent.  Knowing the disease involved helps to determine the best timing, cultural controls and fungicides for preventative applications.

I am also seeing secondary foliar symptoms that look like disease but are related to nutritional issues.  Summer weather can deplete nutrients in even the best slow release fertilizers, and some micronutrient deficiencies can result from extreme soil pH conditions, and look like disease problems.  Proper diagnosis of the problem leads to a quicker resolution- did I mention this already?

Insects and Mites

Caterpillars are evident in many crops this time of year.  Species like Fall Armyworm, European Pepper moth and Cutworms have spring and fall population peaks, so check plants like ferns, poinsettias, bedding plants, gingers and other herbaceous perennials for caterpillar damage.  Webbing, droppings and foliage damage at the soil line are good indicators.  If uncertain, take the entire plant and soil out of the pot, and break it up into a bucket of water.  Larvae, pupae, webbing and other debris will float to the surface for easy ID.

Water floatation is also a good way to survey for Azalea root weevil, and Flea beetle grubs, which often attack the roots of the same plants that host adults feeding on foliage. Grower feedback on Mainspring GNL for caterpillar and flea beetle control has been very good, looks like we have another tool for these pests!  Mainspring GNL is labeled for foliar and drench applications, is systemic, and also has a 4 hour REI.

(Disclaimer-Mention of a commercial or herbicide brand name or chemical does not constitute a recommendation or warranty of the product by the authors or the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, nor does it imply its approval to the exclusion of other products that may also be suitable. Products should be used according to label instructions and safety equipment required on the label and by federal or state law should be employed. Pesticide registrations may change, so it is the responsibility of the user to ascertain if a pesticide is registered by the appropriate state and federal agencies for its intended use.)

New WPS Rules Take Effect in January

The Worker Protection Standard Rules will be changing January 2, 2017 and everyone that has been trained as a trainer will need to be re-certified in a Train-the-Trainer Training class.  If you are a Private Applicator you can still train workers and handlers but you should know what the new rules are as there are some significant rule changes taking place. Hillsborough County Extension will be conducting a class on November  10, 2016 at the Florida Strawberry Growers’ Association office located at 13138 Lewis Gallagher Rd, Dover, FL to update you on rule changes. The class will be from 1:00 -4:30 pm.  If you are a Private Applicator we will have 4 CEUs available in the Private category.  If you would like to attend please give Alicia Whidden a call at 813-744-5519 ext 54134.  The class will cost $25.00 and will include refreshments and printed materials.


AgVenture Needs Generous Growers

Were you ever inspired as a kid, by someone who loved their career?  Have you ever thought that you might be that person who would inspire someone on a new career trajectory?

Hillsborough County Farm Bureau and Tampa Chapter FNGLA will be trying to inspire children in third grade with a program called AgVenture.  Kids from all over Hillsborough will go to the state fair grounds and learn about different facets of agriculture, including Environmental Horticulture.  The only problem is that very few growers (FNGLA and Farm Bureau Members) ever want to leave their nursery for a few hours and teach kids about what they do.  I hope that you might consider giving a few hours of your time to help out this worthy program.  A free lunch is included after you are done teaching.  The lesson is a script and all the materials are already lined up.  Here is the information below.

They need volunteers at the Florid State Fairgrounds from Oct 24-28 & Oct 31 - Nov 4.  Hours each day are 10:00am - 12:35pm.

- teach students about growing plants for environmental horticulture
- there is a script you can use and demo material will be on site
- students rotate in groups every 20-30 minutes

Several of us have volunteered in years past; however, I know everyone is swamped at the moment.  If you can help or know someone who can, please contact 
Judi  Whitson


The Plant Producer Newsletter Summer Edition

The latest edition of the statewide "The Plant Producer" newsletter is now out. There are articles about Q-biotype whiteflies, mosquitoes, new crapemyrtles, a brand new CEU article (Core Credit), research updates, a grower spotlight, and an online plant disease class for growers.  You can check out all the information here.  http://tiny.cc/TPPSummer2016


Tampa Chapter FNGLA Fund Raiser

The Tampa Chapter FNGLA needs member and non-member help  to generate funds for youth programs that go toward horticulture youth programming such as the Strawberry Festival Youth Plant Show and Sale, Ag-Venture, and the Nursery, Landscape, and Floriculture Career Development Event and college horticulture related scholarships.  They are looking for help installing a landscape. Anyone interested please either call me or Friedel. 

Calling all members, non-members, vendors and kind-hearted folk…
We need your help installing plants on:
 Wednesday 9/28/16 from 7:00am – 4:00pm
-        Please bring shovels & rakes
-        Please wear closed toe shoes and work clothing
-        Water, Gatorade and Publix sandwiches will be provided from 11:00am – 12:00pm
-        We need 20 able body, hard-working volunteers to dig holes, grade for sod, spread dirt/mulch, etc.
Job site:
3316 W. Paul Ave. Tampa, FL 33611 (2 blocks south of Gandy Blvd, just west of MacDill Ave.)
Please contact Friedel Scholl with questions: 813-503-9020


Tampa Chapter FNGLA Meet-Up at Trade Show

Growers and Landscapers, you are invited to a FNGLA Tampa Bay Chapter Meet Up – Friday, September 16 at 10 a.m. at The Landscape Show.

Meet your fellow FNGLA Chapter members and catch up with friends. Please join the local chapter members at The Connection Corner inside the exhibit hall (upper right corner as you walk in) on Friday at 10 a.m. for a quick get together. It’s an opportunity for chapter members to meet and catch up. 

The Landscape Show is taking place September 15-17 at the Orange County Convention Center, West Building, Halls D2 and E, Orlando, FL.  For more details visit www.thelandscapeshow.org.

UF/IFAS Online Course on Disease Management for Growers

Would you like to have a better basis for what is going on with plant diseases and how to treat them?  We have a class for that.  We are less than 3 weeks away from the start of the next class on the Greenhouse Training Online series, Disease Management. The class begins on September 26th and you can register up to October 3rd
For more about how the class works and pricing go to the direct link  at http://tinyurl.com/DiseaseMgtHills2016

This course will train you to:

Learn how plants become infected, what factors contribute to plant disease development and what are the different options available for diagnosing and controlling diseases in the greenhouse and nurseries.
Learn fungicide formulations and accurate rate calculations.
Know rules and regulations of handling fungicides.
This is an intermediate level (some experience and training, entry level university).

If you have questions about the registration process, please email greenhousetraining@ifas.ufl.edu. Also, if you are registering 5 or more students from the same company or organization then contact greenhousetraining@ifas.ufl.edu for a quicker registration process.

Private, Core and WPS Train-the-Trainer Classes In Manatee Co.

If you are looking to get a Private Pesticide License or would like to be able to train your employees on Worker Protection Standards we have classes that will help you.  The following will be offered at UF/IFAS Manatee County Extension office on Monday, September 19th :

Core Exam Prep Class:   8:30 am – 10:30 am.  This class will help to prepare you for the Standard Core Exam required for most pesticide licenses.
   If you already have a license, 2 CEUs in Core will be available.  You may take the exam, if desired, directly following the class. Class fee is $15.00.

Private Applicator Exam Prep Class:  10:45 am – 12:45 pm.  This class will help to prepare you for the Private Applicator License Exam.
  If you already have a license, 2 CEUs in Private Applicator will be available.  You may take the exam, if desired, directly following the class.  Class fee is $15.00.  I will be the instructor for this class.

WPS Train the Trainer:  10:45 am – 12:45 pm.  The class will allow you to train your employees in the Worker Protection Standards required by law.
  Ricardo Davalos, the WPS State coordinator will be teaching a section of the class.  Come and hear about the changes in the WPS program!
  2 CEUs will be available in – Aerial, AG Row, Ag Tree, O&T, Private, Forest Pest Control, and Soil and Greenhouse Fumigation.  The class fee is $20.00.

Refreshments will be available.

Please register at the following links:

Core: https://core2016.eventbrite.com
Private: https://private2016.eventbrite.com
WPS TTT: https://wpsttt2016.eventbrite.com

If you have any questions about the class, please contact Agent Martha Glenn at Manatee County Extension  (941) 722-4524 ext. 255


School Board Breakfast for Growers

All Growers:  Enjoy a Grower Breakfast provided by the Hillsborough County School System Migrant Education Program.  They would like all growers to attend the breakfast to learn about their program.  Also, Alicia Whidden (Small Fruit and Vegetable Agent) will be doing a CORE presentation for 1 CORE CEU at the end of the event.  Remember you need 4 CORE to be able to renew your pesticide license every 4 years so this is a good opportunity to get a CEU. 

What:  Grower’s Meet and Greet Breakfast
When:  September 7, 2016  from 9:00-11:00
Where:  University of Florida-Gulf Coast Research and Education Center
Welcome and Introductions
The Migrant Education Program
Recruitment Efforts
Supplemental Services 
Collaboration Efforts
All About CORE-1 CEU


BASF Grower Meeting

FYI-  BASF will be having an informational meeting on their portfolio of plant protection products that might be of interest to ornamental growers.  Some of the products they will be highlighting are Orkestra™ Intrinsic® brand fungicide, Pageant® Intrinsic brand fungicide, and Sultan® miticide. They will also have Paul Pilon with Perennial Solutions Consulting Horticultural Consultant on the topic “Production Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them” and Dr. Kathie Kalmowitz, a BASF Technical Specialist speaking about “Introduction of a New Innovative Fungicide for Production” and “IPM Solutions for Weed Control.”

If you are interested, the meeting will be held on September 28, 2016 from
10:00am - 1:40pm which will include a working lunch. The event site will be University of Florida / IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (across from Lake Apopka, next to Magnolia Park) located at 2725 South Binion Road, Apopka, FL 32703.  

One CEU will be available!

To ensure your reservation, please RSVP to peggy.clanton@basf.com by August 23, 2016.


Preemrgent Herbicide Field Trial on Recycled Potting Soil

I have been working on a field trial with preemergent herbicides at a grower's field and thought I would share the results from what we have seen.  This is reused recycled soil that has had various preemergent herbicides applied as soon as pots were filled. We did two plots for each herbicide and we only did one plot of non-treated control.  We took pictures at two and four weeks after treatment (WAT).  This soil suffers from an abundance of nutsedge which is not normally an issue in potting soils due to its propagation from tubers and not from seeds.  This happens to be prevalent due to the process of reusing the old soil.

Preemrgent Herbicide Field Trial on Recycled Potting Soil

I have been working on a field trial with preemergent herbicides at a grower's field and thought I would share the results from what we have seen.  This is reused recycled soil that has had various preemergent herbicides applied as soon as pots were filled. We did two plots for each herbicide and we only did one plot of non-treated control.  We took pictures at two and four weeks after treatment (WAT).  This soil suffers from an abundance of nutsedge which is not normally an issue in potting soils due to its propagation from tubers and not from seeds.  This happens to be prevalent due to the process of reusing the old soil.

IPM Scouting Class in Manatee County

My colleague from Manatee County, Martha Glenn is starting a scouting class that some of you may be interested in attending.  Here is the information about it.

Sign up now for the Integrated Pest Management/Scout Training being held at the Manatee County Extension.  It is a three day training that starts next Thursday, August 11th continues on the 18th, and finishes August 25th.  Some of the topics included are:

 August 11th – Scouting for Insects & Beneficials taught by Justin Renkema (GCREC) & Adam Dale (Gainesville) both Assistant Professors of Entomology/UF
                Also included on this day will be the benefits of IPM and scouting and the mechanics and strategies of scouting.
August 18th – Scouting for Diseases  taught by Jim Mertely a plant pathologist at the Gulf Coast Research and Educational Center
                Also included on this day will be scouting techniques, and scouting for abiotics and nematodes
August 25th – Weed ID and Control taught by Chris Marble (Mid-FL Research and Education Center), Assistant Professor of Weed Management
                Also included on this day will be pH, EC and water quality

Plans are to do some hands on scouting each day.  Lunch is included in the fee for the training. 

Please register at   https://ipmtraining.eventbrite.com
If you have any questions, please contact Martha Glenn.
Email:  mglenn7@ufl.edu
Phone:  941-722-4524 ext. 255
Cell:  941-840-3000


Core and Private Applicator License Classes Available

On August 16, 2016, UF/IFAS Hillsborough County will be conducting a class for those who would like to become certified Private Pesticide Applicators or for those who need a few more CEUs towards their license.  The class will be divided into two segments: Core 8:30 am-10:30 am, Private 10:45 am-12:45 pm.  Exams will be offered immediately following the classes. However, you do not have to take the exams the same day. You may schedule a time to take the exams at your convenience.  You may take one class without the other, if needed.
If you are already a license holder, 2 CEUs in Core and 2 Private are offered for the classes, respectively. Light snacks will be offered.  Walk-ins will be welcomed.  The fee is $15 per class. Here is the link to register.  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/copy-of-private-and-core-pesticide-applicator-training-tickets-26708219002  You can pay online via the link or bring cash or a check made out to “Hillsborough County EOAC.” if you would like to register the same day.  If you have any questions please give Shawn a call 813-744-5519 x 54147.


Artillery Weed (Pilea microphylla) Control in Ornamentals

If you have grown in a shadehouse or greenhouse in central or south Florida, I am sure that at some point you have probably had to deal with artillery weed.  This weed is most commonly seen in moist areas usually in the greenhouse or shade house.  Commonly found in propagation houses.  It is a creeping plant and re-seeds itself with vigor and can quickly become a problem.

Dr. Chris Marble has done some work looking at controlling this weed with pre and post herbicides in ornamental crops.  Here are some pictures of the work that he shared with us at the Woody Ornamental Production Field Day at Balm and will be published in this year's Proceedings of the Florida State Horticulture Society.
Here are the results of the post-emergent herbicide treatments 5 weeks after treatment (WAT).  You may need to click on the pictures in case they aren't displaying correctly.

Although you can't really tell from this picture in a few more weeks the best treatments were Ronstar, SureGuard and Finale.  Roundup generally sets the plant back with yellowing and a slow down of growth is achieved, however, it is usually a short-term setback and the plant resumes growth after a while.

Here are the results of the pre-emergent treatments 8WAT

TPD in Need of Donations

The Tampa Bay Chapter of the FNGLA has been asked by the Tampa Police Department (TPD) to assist in the construction of the Fallen Officers Memorial Garden.   The officers of the FNGLA have successfully secured donations of pavers, irrigation, lighting, mulch and drainage material.  They are now looking for donating partners of landscape plant materials.  Typically donations were made on an annual basis to help support the chapter operations.  FNGLA hasn't requested donations of plants for a few years from its members.  If you are a member of FNGLA or if you are willing to assist with donations of plant material, please contact Will Womack at (813) 368-9891 for additional information and specific needs.  They gave everything to serve us, let us remember them by showing our support.


Whitefly Alert!!!

Unfortunately, we have a developing whitefly issue in Florida. We are having major issues managing 2 biotypes in a number of areas in South Florida. Both biotypes are referred to as Bemisia tabaci. The Q biotype has been detected in a number of landscapes in Palm Beach County.  This is the VERY FIRST TIME it has been found in a landscape or outside a greenhouse or nursery since it was found on an ornamental plant in a greenhouse many years ago (2004-2005). This is extremely troubling considering the issues we have with many of the tools we use to manage whiteflies.
Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) feeds on more than 900 host plantsand vectors over 111 plant virus speciesand is considered to be a major invasive species worldwide.The taxonomic status of B. tabaci remains debated between 36 previously identified biotypes and the newly proposed 24 discrete species and they can only be identified by performing genetic analysis. Losses in agricultural production have increased owing to B. tabaci as new, more virulent and less pesticide-sensitive cryptic species have spread to all continents except Antarctica.Very few countries have escaped its cosmopolitan distribution and subsequent establishment of at least one of the B. tabaci cryptic species. The two most invasive members of the cryptic species complex posing the greatest threat to growers are Middle East –Asia Minor 1 (MEAM1) and Mediterranean (MED) (commonly known as biotypes B and Qrespectively).
After the introduction of MEAM1 into the United States around 1985, unprecedented losses began occurring on poinsettia in the late 1980s in Florida, followed by high infestations in field-grown tomato crops.MEAM1 rapidly spread across the southernUnitedStates toTexas,ArizonaandCalifornia, whereextreme field outbreaks occurred during the early 1990s on melons, cotton and vegetable crops. Losses exceeded more than 500 million dollars in one year.
Indistinguishable morphologically from MEAM1, MED is extremely problematic to agricultural production because populations are highly prone to develop resistance to insect growth regulators (IGRs)and neonicotinoid insecticides.Both classes of insecticides are widely used for controlling whiteflies in many cropping systems, includingcotton, and ornamentals.
Based on recent reports, we may be in for a challenging year for whitefly management. We are receiving reports from the keys to Palm Beach County that whitefly populations in landscapes are reaching unprecedented levels and they don’t seem to be responding to pesticide applications.  At this point in time, the Q-biotype has been found in three areas: Boca Raton, Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens.  Samples from all the other difficult to manage populations are the B-biotype.  If you hear of whitefly problems please contact either Cindy McKenzie or Lance Osborne. 
Cindy McKenzie, Ph.D.                                                            Lance S. Osborne, Ph.D.
Research Entomologist                                                          University of Florida, IFAS
USDA, ARS, US Horticultural Research Laboratory                2725 Binion Road

2001 South Rock Road                                                            Apopka, FL 32703

Fort Pierce, FL 34945                                                              Phone: 407-410-6963
Phone: 772-462-5917                                                             Email: lsosborn@ufl.edu

What do we know as of 5-27-2016?
Biotype-Q has been found in 5 different communities with three properties in one neighborhood having infested plant material.  These communities are:  Palm Beach Gardens (4/25/16), Palm Beach Island (5/10/2016, 5/25/2016), Boynton Beach (5/11/2016), and Boca Raton (5/11/2016).  There was also one wholesale nursery in Boynton Beach. The primary host plant on which this whitefly has been found is hibiscus. Dr. McKenzie has also determined that these finds represent only one of the 3 haplotypes known to have been previously introduced into the U.S. greenhouses and nurseries.  The diagnostics used by Dr. McKenzie’s lab are state of the art:  Once a properly preserved dead insect is received, a biotype determination can be made within 24-48 hours.  This rapid diagnostic ability gives us the ability to track the spread of this pest very quickly.

Unfortunately, sample submission has been somewhat confused over the last week or so.

Agricultural concerns and ornamental Industry professionals can send their samples directly to Dr. McKenzie. 

If anyone would prefer to submit an insect to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Department of Plant Industries or to the Diagnostic Laboratory in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at the University of Florida in Gainesville they can do so, although adding this step will take longer for the sample to reach Dr. McKenzie and thus delay a biotype determination.

·         It is more difficult to manage with pesticides that other whiteflies?
·         It has limited distribution in Florida and the United States. This is the first time it has ever been found on plants outside of a nursery or greenhouse.  This whitefly attacks a significantly larger number of plants than we have observed for the Ficus, Rugose spiraling or the Bondar’s nesting whitefly in the last few years.
·         This whitefly produces honeydew and sooty mold but the amount will probably be greatly reduced compared to the Rugose Spiraling whitefly and will lack the white-waxy fluff.  Thus, the aesthetic damage won’t be as obvious as that caused by both the Rugose and Ficus (leaf drop).  
·         Biological controls exist that are sold commercially and present naturally in the environment.  We fully expect these natural enemies to provide control of Biotype-Q as they have done for Biotype-B since the mid-90’s, so  long as they are not disrupted by pesticides applications.
·         The real threat of Biotype-Q  in Florida will be to the commercial production of vegetables.  Biotyes Both Biotype-B and Biotype Q are efficient vectors of viruses.  We already know how difficult it is to manage the spread of viruses in both cucurbit and tomato crops as a result of Biotype-B feeding.  The presence of the more resistant Biotype-Q  will make the production of crops more challenging and expensive.  Biotype-Q is also perceived as a major threat to cotton and vegetable production in other U.S. states.

Sample submission specifics:

·         Homeowners who suspect they have a whitefly infestation should contact their UF/IFAS Extension county office. Offices  may be found at http://bit.ly/1Q8wguw or http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/map/index.shtml

Infested leaves and dead insect specimens should be brought to local Extension offices. Wrap in a dry paper towel and place in a sealable plastic bag and then in an envelope. Freezing the specimen overnight before transport is highly recommended. Live insects should not be transported.  

·         The collection information should be included with the sample. Date, location, what type of vegetation is affected, number of suspected whiteflies, and any information about whether a pesticide has been used on the plant, is helpful information to managing the pest.  For steps on how to submit a sample to FDACS DPI, visit http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Plant-Industry/Business-Services/Submit-a-Sample-for-Identification.

·         Samples can be prepared in the same fashion and sent directly to Dr. McKenzie:

Cindy McKenzie, Ph.D.
Research Entomologist
US Horticultural Research Laboratory
2001 South Rock Road
Fort Pierce, FL 34945
772.462.5917 office
772.462.5911 lab

772.462.5986 fax

What should commercial growers be doing?
 1. Scout – this is essential. Inspect your crops at least weekly to find infestations early. Do not let the whiteflies get ahead of you, or your treatment options will be more limited and expensive. 

2. Exclude or isolate. If reasonably possible, try to exclude whiteflies from your growing structures with screening material, and if possible, isolate the facility so that workers have to enter through an anteroom. 

3. Practice good sanitation – this is also essential. Keep weeds controlled because they serve as an alternate host for the whiteflies, and maintain other good growing practices. 

4. Inspect incoming shipments, and isolate if necessary. All of the major propagators cooperated in this program, so you should not be receiving undue numbers of whiteflies on your planting material. Zero-tolerance is NOT a reasonable goal and you may see a whitefly or two when shipments arrive. That is ok, and means that your propagator (or rooting station) is probably following good management practices. However, if you see many whiteflies on incoming shipments, keep those shipments separate from your other crops until they have been treated and the whitefly cleaned up. Do not forget then to contact your propagator or rooting station to inform them about the situation. Ask whether they are biotyping their whiteflies, if they are monitoring resistance levels in their whitefly populations, and if they are following the Task Force’s recommended Management Program. 

5. Watch your neighbors’ fields. If you’re near cotton or vegetable fields, you may see whiteflies migrate to your greenhouse at the end of their season, and you will then have to deal with them. If you know when those harvesting operations occur, you are better able to prepare. 

6. Study and implement the “Management Program for Whiteflies on Propagated Ornamentals” recommended by the Whitefly Task Force. It is available at http://mrec.ifas.ufl.edu/lso/bemisia/DOCUMENTS/WhiteflyManagementProgram_1-15- 15.pdf. This program is based on the best and most current scientific data developed by the Whitefly Task Force scientists. Do not rely on just one or two effective products, but instead integrate products with different modes of action to decrease the potential for developing resistance. Rotate chemical classes after each life cycle length for that time of year (time from egg to adult).

 7. If you have control problems: contact your propagator and your local extension agent or university expert. Follow our “Whitefly Management Program”, and get your whiteflies biotyped. The biotyping process is fast, and your specific information will be kept confidential. Knowing which biotype you are dealing with will help you choose the most effective control products. (The Management Plan provides a list of addresses where samples may be sent for biotyping.) In the United States the potentially impacted industries, federal and state governments, and scientists have cooperated in an aggressive, cooperative whitefly management effort to help growers produce a salable crop and minimize the likelihood of developing resistant whiteflies. You are an essential part of that effort. REMEMBER: Q-BIOTYPE WHITEFLIES ARE A DOCUMENTED THREAT, BUT THERE IS ALSO EVIDENCE THAT B-BIOTYPE ARE DEVELOPING RESISTANCE. Only by working cooperatively, wisely, and together can agriculture and ornamental growers solve this problem. PLEASE BE PART OF THE SOLUTION, NOT THE PROBLEM!