Thrips on loose in your farms and gardens

Thrips (order Thysanoptera) are minute, slender insects with fringed wings. Other common names for thrips include thunder flies, thunder bugs, storm flies, thunder lights, storm bugs, corn flies and corn lice. Thrips species feed on a large variety of plants and thrips 1animals by puncturing them and sucking up the contents. Some species of thrips feed on other insects or mites and are considered beneficial, while some feed on fungal spores or pollen. More than 6,000 species of thrips are known around the world, with over 300 of these in Europe and only around 150 natives to Britain. Thrips are small hemimetabolic insects with a distinctive cigar-shaped bauplan. They are elongated with transversely constricted bodies. They range in size from 0.5 to 14 millimeters (0.020 to 0.551 in) in length for the larger predatory thrips, but most thrips are about 1 mm in length.

thrips 2Many thrips are pests of commercial crops due to the damage caused by feeding on developing flowers or vegetables, causing discoloration, deformities, and reduced marketability of the crop. These tiny insects pierce hundreds of species of plants, sucking the nutrients and causing billions of dollars in damage to U.S. agricultural crops. Barely visible to the naked eye, they heavily damage fruits, vegetable, and horticultural crops, so much so that they can and do pose a biosecurity threat. In 1996, Cuba’s Fidel Castro accused the United States of aerially releasing Thrips palmi over potato fields. Thrips may also serve as vectors for plant diseases, such as Tospoviruses. Over 20 plant-infecting viruses are known to be transmitted by thrips. These enveloped viruses are considered among some of the most damaging of emerging plant pathogens around the world.

Herbaceous ornamental, and certain vegetable crops are more susceptible to serious injury from thrips feeding and thrips-vectored viruses, especially when plants are young. Thrips feeding can stunt plant growth and can cause damaged leaves to become papery and distorted, develop tiny pale spots (stippling), and drop prematurely. Infested terminals may discolor and become rolled. Petals may exhibit “color break,” which is pale or dark discoloring of petal tissue that was killed by thrips feeding before buds opened. On some plants, thrips can cause severe stunting to the early season flush of terminal growth.

Western flower thrips is primarily a pest of herbaceous plants; but high populations can damage flowers on woody plants, such as roses. Rose petals may develop dark streaks and spots from feeding injury that occurred before the buds opened, or the flower buds may deform and fail to open. Western flower thrips also vectors Impatiens necrotic spot virus and Tomato spotted wilt virus, which can severely damage or kill certain vegetable crops and herbaceous ornamentals.

thrips 4In the April issue of “Greenhouse Management”, Kansas State University professor and extension specialist in horticultural entomology and plant protection Ray Cloyd wrote that, “Western flower thrips are still the most destructive insect pest of greenhouse-grown horticultural crops, the reason being that western flower thrips cause both direct feeding damage to leaves and flowers and indirect damage by vectoring viruses. This results in a very low tolerance for this insect pest.”

As stated earlier some species of thrips feed on other insects or mites and are considered beneficial, while some feed on fungal spores or pollen. Hence they hold a lot of ecological importance in our ecosystem. In many thrips species, by the time their damage is observed, such as after buds open, the thrips may no longer be present. Thus instead of taking controlling remedies, one must look for effective preventive measures. Thrips can be difficult to control effectively with insecticides and pesticides, partly because of their mobility, feeding behavior, and protected egg and pupal stages. Also use of insecticides and pesticides are harmful to them as well to the ecological system.

At C Tech Corporation, we offer a safe and effective solution to deal with these insects. Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous product that primarily repels insects from the application. It is a broad spectrum repellent which works against almost 500 species of pestering bugs thus efficaciously repulse them away from the application. The best feature of this product is that it is environmentally safe and causes no harm to the insect as well as humans and the environment. It is available in masterbatch and lacquer form and as a liquid solution. For prevention of damage caused by Thrips, films incorporated with Termirepel™ can be used to cover the area or mulches can also be used to save the plants. Such films can also be wrapped around big fruits to prevent damage. This product work on the mechanism of sustainability and green technology and therefore significant in today’s time and date as ecology salvation has become the prime focus.

Termirepel™: An effective solution against Multicolored Asian lady beetles

MALBHarmonia axyridis commonly known as ‘Multicolored Asian lady beetles’ is a large coccinellid beetle. Its color ranges from yellow-orange to black, and the number of spots between none and 22. It is native to eastern Asia but has been artificially introduced to North America and Europe to control aphids and scale insects. It is now common, well known, and spreading in those regions, and has also established in South Africa and widely across South America.

Multicolored Asian lady beetles are about 7 mm long. As the name indicates, they occur in a wide spectrum of colors ranging from yellow to orange to red and have a varying number of spots. The variability of appearance in the adults can mislead people to think they are different species. A characteristic that assists in their identification is an “M” shaped marked located behind the head.There are about 5,000 species of ladybug beetles worldwide, so depending on the species and habitat, there is a large variation in this insect’s lifecycle. For example, some lady beetles are predators, while others are plant feeders.

MALB3The greatest damage caused by the multicolored Asian lady beetle is the discomfort they give to homeowners. It is not uncommon for tens of thousands of beetles to congregate in attics, ceilings, and wall voids, and due to the warmth of the walls, will move around inside these voids and exit into the living areas of the home. In addition to beetles biting (which they do), they exude a foul-smelling, yellow defensive chemical which will sometimes cause spotting on walls and other surfaces. They are also known for the annoying habit of accumulating on the sides of buildings and wandering indoors during the fall. Asian lady beetles are a beneficial biological control in trees during the summer, and in fields and gardens during the fall, but can be a severe household nuisance during late fall and winter. Wooded residential and industrial areas are especially prone to problems.

In Asia, multicolored Asian lady beetles feed primarily on aphids found in trees. In the U.S., they feed on aphids not only in trees but also in agricultural crops and gardens. In fact, the multicolored Asian lady beetle is an important predator of soybean aphids, a serious pest of soybeans in Minnesota and other Midwest states.

MALB2In their native Asian habitat, these insects fly to cliffs and rock outcroppings each fall where they overwinter in large numbers. In the absence of such areas in the U.S., the beetles seek out sunny sides of tall or prominent buildings during fall. Lady beetles are particularly attracted to buildings that have contrasting dark and light areas. Because the beetles feed on aphids in trees, buildings adjacent to wooded areas are more likely to encounter large numbers of multicolored Asian lady beetles than buildings in open areas.

Large numbers of lady beetles generally begin to fly to buildings on the second day of temperatures above 65 o F that follow freezing or near freezing temperatures. Such conditions usually occur in Minnesota between late September and late October.

Once lady beetles reach buildings, they crawl into cracks and gaps around windows, doors, roof lines, and other openings. Some continue to move inside the structure until they reach the living areas of homes where they soon die. Others will find suitable overwintering inside wall voids, attics, and other areas, sometimes forming large living masses of insects.

Let us look at the following recent news article regarding infestation caused by lady beetle.

MALB news




Asian lady beetle infestation is upon northern Minnesota

By John Myers on Oct 12, 2015, at 6:00 p.m.

They are out there all summer, living in the woods and fields, and now they want a snug place to spend the winter.

Your house, cabin, camper or deer shack will do just fine, thank you.

Orange Asian lady beetles, the little bugs who have replaced ladybugs across much of the landscape, are making their annual trek from the outdoors to indoors, and the infestation seems worse than ever to many Northlanders.

“We’ve had them before, but never this bad. It’s been pretty nasty,” said Dan Woodhull of South Range, who had hundreds of the beetles in his house in recent days.

Reports of beetle outbreaks are coming in from across the region.

“It does seem particularly bad this year. We’ll have to wait and see if this is just an early rush or if there really are this many more of them,” said Larry Weber, a Duluth-area naturalist. “I left my vehicle sitting out overnight and I had a bunch of them that tried to get into it, all around the door seals.”

Asian lady beetles are much the same that field mice, Weber noted, always around but mostly unnoticed until they try to get indoors this time of year.

Experts say the beetles are pushed by diminishing daylight hours to seek winter cover. But they also swarm and fly most often on warm, sunny fall days following the first cold snap — which may be why so many people reported infestations over this past weekend.

“I noticed them for the first time over the weekend. I’m getting a lot of calls on them,” Minnesota Department of Natural Resources entomologist Val Cervenka said Monday.

Amanda Glowacki at Guardian Pest Control in Duluth said many people are calling to say they are grossed out by such large numbers of the orange bugs.

“We’ve been getting a lot of calls on them this year. That’s what nearly all of our calls have been for the last couple of weeks,” she said.

Marty Johnson, a technician at Guardian, said he offers an exterior “ground to eaves” chemical treatment for homes that often also reduces beetle numbers inside the house, too. It costs $200. He also offers interior treatments.

“I had them all over my house this weekend, too,” he said.

Experts say the best way to get rid of Asian lady beetles is to vacuum them up, but then empty the vacuum or it may start to smell bad. To keep them out of your house, seal up even tiny cracks, around doors and windows, where cable, pipes or wires enter homes, and under fascia, soffits and eaves.

“But they will still find some way to get in, it seems,” Weber said.

Woodhull said he turned on his home’s air conditioning so the beetles huddled together, and then sucked them up with a vacuum.

The first Asian lady beetle infestation in the U.S. was reported in Louisiana in 1988. Since then the beetle has expanded across the U.S. and parts of Canada. There’s still debate if the outbreak was caused by beetles that were intentionally released to see if they might help control plant pests, or if the beetles spurring the outbreak hitchhiked on a freighter that docked in New Orleans. The first big U.S infestations occurred in the 1990s. The first major Northland outbreaks were in the early 2000s, Weber noted.

Native red ladybugs are considered beneficial because they live on flowers and plants and eat other pests and don’t swarm into buildings. But the orange Harmonia axyridis — native to China, Korea, Russia and Japan — can swarm in large numbers, crawl around on windows, walls and ceilings, and sometimes emit a noxious odor and yellowish staining fluid before dying, according to University of Minnesota Extension entomologists. The bug experts say Asian lady beetles are attracted to illuminated surfaces. They tend to congregate on the sunnier, southwest sides of buildings illuminated by afternoon sun.

They don’t eat wood or cause damage, experts say, and don’t spread disease. But some people say the orange beetles can bite.

Weber, however, says it’s more of a pinch. “I don’t think they can really break the skin, like a true bite, but they might annoy some people by pinching their skin.”

Others report incidents of asthma or allergy outbreaks after an Asian lady beetle infestation.

Asian lady beetles generally lay eggs outdoors under leaves, but may lay eggs inside, too. The average time from egg to adult is about one month and there are multiple generations per year. Individual beetles can live up to three years. They appear to have few if any natural enemies in North America.

Some folks who noticed them in and around their place this fall may see them again when temperatures warm in spring. Awakening beetles may emerge from behind baseboards, walls, attics and suspended ceilings. Because the beetles are attracted to light, they often are seen around windows and light fixtures.

MALB5Multicolored Asian lady beetles can be beneficial insects. They do a great job of controlling aphids that can damage many types of plants – this is called “biocontrol” – and they reduce the need for harmful pesticides. Despite this benefit, people are bothered by the beetles swarming outside their homes or flying around inside the house. Thus one needs to b very careful in taking measures against these pests. We need a solution that helps protect our shrubs and plants from damage, while at the same time does not harm the environment or these beneficial insects in any way. So, how do we fight this pest?

At C Tech Corporation, we offer a safe and effective solution to deal with these insects. Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous product that primarily repels insects from the application. It is a broad spectrum repellent which works against almost 500 species of pestering bugs thus efficaciously repulse them away from the application. The best feature of this product is that it is environmentally safe and causes no harm to the insect as well as humans and the environment. It is available in masterbatch and lacquer form and as a liquid solution. To keep these insects at bay, this product can be coated in lacquer form or added in mulches or films. The repelling mechanism of the product would keep off the beetles and any other insects that could harm our shrubs and plants.





Avoid using toxic chemicals to deal with termite damage

t3Termites are a destructive species which threaten to unleash destruction in various forms in our lives. They secrete formic acid, a potent chemical capable of dissolving even the hardest of plastics. They are formidable house guests and termite colonies have the power to bring down an entire house.  Termites damage homes and other wooden construction by eating the seasoned timber found in houses. Most prefer leaf litter and dead grass, others prefer the damp, rotting wood inside trees and logs. Many homeowners are also unaware that home insurance typically does not cover this type of damage which can often amount to tens of thousands of dollars in repairs. Although they can cause much destruction, termites are essential components of our eco-system and are essential to maintaining balance and harmony.

t2Many methods are adopted by local homeowners to deal with termite damage. The most popular amongst them being the use of toxic chemicals to kill the termites in the way of fumigation. Fumigation makes use of harmful chemicals to get rid of termites. This method is mostly used by homeowners who often do not realize that these chemicals apart from being toxic to termites are toxic to humans too! Prolonged repeated exposure to such harmful and toxic chemicals can cause irreparable damage to humans. Let us look at the below news article;


10-year-old hospitalized after termite fumigation

CNN)A 10-year-old boy is suffering from brain damage after a botched fumigation of his family’s Florida home, according to a family attorney.Peyton McCaughey and his family fell ill shortly after a Terminix subcontractor, Sunland Pest Control, sprayed their Palm City home for termites on August 14, family attorney Bill Williams said. The family was told it was safe to return to the home two days later on August 16, Williams said.The family immediately began feeling ill.The boy’s uncle, Ed Gribben, told CNN that everyone was vomiting, and Peyton’s condition was even worse.Gribben said Peyton had trouble standing and speaking, so the family took him to a local clinic where a doctor suspected poisoning from fumigation.The parents, Lori and Carl McCaughey, and their 7-year-old daughter recovered, but Peyton kept getting worse. After spending more than two weeks in three different children’s hospitals, he can barely speak, Williams said.The child, who loves Minecraft and is known for his witty personality and athletic talent, has lost 90% of his motor skills, Gribben said.He also lost function of his left arm and leg, Williams said.“He has traumatic brain injury and loss of motor skills,” Williams said. “The rest of the family is fine, thank God. The little boy is not fine.”Williams said CT scans show areas of concern in his brain.“He’s got his personality; he will still smile and still laugh, but he can’t get the words out that he wants to say and can’t move the way he wants to move, and frustration sets in,” Gribben said.A source with knowledge of the incident says the Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation.And the Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services announced Friday that it, too, “is investigating in collaboration with the (federal) EPA and the (state) Department of Health.”

“While our investigation is ongoing, we are issuing a Stop Work Order prohibiting (Sunland Pest Control) from conducting any fumigations at this time,” the agricultural and consumer services department said in a statement.

Sulfuryl fluoride, a gas fumigant, was the pesticide used to fumigate, sources told CNN.

Terminix gave this statement to CNN: “We were saddened to learn of this and our hearts are with the family. We are carefully reviewing the matter.”

Sunland Pest Control could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.Gribben set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the family so they can take time off of work while Peyton recovers.The family has not filed a lawsuit.This is the second time this year that Terminix has been involved in a fumigation that injured people.In March, a family vacationing on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, fell ill after a suspected pesticide exposure. Preliminary tests showed the presence of methyl bromide in villa where the family was staying. Methyl bromide is a substance that is not permitted in the United States for indoor use.The DOJ and Environmental Protection Agency are investigating.That family, from Delaware, continues to recover, but the father and two sons have lost much of their motor skills as well, according to a source close to the family.

t1The article highlights how the toxic pesticides used in fumigation techniques can have unseen but potentially life crippling effects on humans. The worst part is that this is not a random isolated incident. There are many more. In fact, with Terminix alone, this has happened for the second time within a span of 6 months!

The above incident highlights the need for use of safer methods to deal with termite damage. It also emphasizes the importance of using a product that is non-toxic and non-hazardous to humans. Termirepel™ is a coming of age product developed by C Tech Corporation in India which is non-toxic and non-hazardous. Termirepel™ works on the mechanism of repellence and aims at protection the applications from termite damage by repelling the termites. The product is RoHS and RoHS2 certified. It is excluded from FIFRA meaning it is not classified as a pesticide. Termirepel™ has paved the way for a new age solution which is non-toxic in nature to deal with the ever-looming termite threat!

Termirepel™ to stem fruit fly damage!

download (2)The Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni) is a species of tephritid fruit fly native to Australia. There are over 250 species of fruit fly in the family Tephritidae which occur in Australia but only about ten are pests. Adult flies are about seven millimeters long and are reddish-brown in color, with distinct yellow marking. QFF (Queensland Fruit Fly) is different from the small dark brown drosophila flies that hang around the ripe and decaying fruit. Drosophila flies are not agricultural pests but can be a nuisance where fruit and vegetables are stored. It is a widely acknowledged and feared pest in the agriculture and horticulture industry.

The fruit fly is native to eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales.  The ready availability of suitable hosts and habitat in urban and horticultural production areas in Queensland, Northern Territory, New South Wales and Victoria in Australia has enabled the fly to expand its natural range. It attacks a wide range of host plants, lowering production and making fruit inedible. This can have severe consequences for local and international trade.

downloadThe fruit fly causes damage in the larval stage as well as the adult stage. The female fly has a retractable, needle-sharp egg-laying organ (ovipositor) at the tip of her abdomen. Using the ovipositor she digs a flask-shaped chamber about 3 mm deep in the outer layer of the fruit where up to 12 eggs are laid at a time.

The fly lays eggs in maturing and ripe fruit on trees and sometimes in fallen fruit. The maggots (larvae) hatch and the fruit is destroyed by the feeding maggots and by associated fruit decay. The fly can attack a wide range of fruit, fruiting vegetables, and native fruiting plants. Evidence of the fly activity is sometimes seen as puncture marks in the skin of the fruit. The stings are where the female fruit fly has laid her eggs. Sting marks may appear as brown spots on persimmons, apples, and pears or small holes that may become small raised lumps in citrus and avocado. They are most active in warm humid conditions and after rain. The flies might be seen walking on the undersides of leaves or on maturing fruit. They readily take flight if disturbed.

download (1)There have been innumerable fruit fly outbreaks in the recent history. An outbreak however small in intensity spells huge losses for the horticulture industry as thousands of fruits growers are affected. They attack a host of fruit trees like apple, apricot, blackberry, cashew, etc. Bananas are said to be attacked only when overripe, and other fruits, such as grapes, are attacked only in peak years.

In Napa County a hub of olive growers, the meddling fruit fly has caused severe damage as reported in a leading newspaper. An ardent horticulturist Chris Craiker, the owner of Corlyone Olive Oyl in Browns Valley, said the infestation had hit his orchards hard in 2013, as he estimated a loss of 40 to 50 percent of his crop to the fruit fly infestation.

He said he usually grows about 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of olives, but had to discard the entire crop rather than sort the healthy fruit from the infected fruit.

Let us look at the following recent news article regarding the return of these devastating insects.

Fruit fly makes growers ‘nervous as hell’

By Mike Barrington – NORTHERN ADVOCATE

9:25 AM Friday, Jan 24, 2014

 A single male Fruit Fly found in the Hatea Drive area of Whangarei. Photo / Ron Burgin

The discovery of a male Queensland fruit fly in Whangarei has sparked a major biosecurity alert.

Up to 50 Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) staff was in the city and another 50 in Wellington were preparing yesterday to deal with the pest threatening New Zealand’s $4 billion horticulture industry.

The fly was found in the front yard of a home near the Whangarei Town Basin on Tuesday. It was collected from an insect trap MPI had placed there as part of its national fruit flies surveillance program involving 7400 traps around the country.

MPI staff yesterday put up signs banning people from taking whole fresh fruit and vegetables out of a 200m zone circling the place where the fly was found. Bins have been provided for residents to dump fruit and vegetables rather than disposing of them with other household rubbish.

Today MPI officials will begin putting about 200 pheromone traps into fruit trees in that zone and within a 1.5km radius of the discovery site extending up to the Regent, along Riverside Dr and into Parihaka.

An MPI mobile laboratory arrived in Whangarei yesterday for use analyzing fallen fruit and vegetables to be gathered from the two zones.

Queensland fruit fly is one of the most damaging fruit fly pests because it infests more than 100 species of fruit. Some countries will not import fruit and vegetables from sources where the fly is known to exist.

MPI deputy director general compliance and response Andrew Coleman said yesterday that New Zealand’s trading partners had been notified of the Whangarei find and measures were underway to find out if there is an infestation.

If no further evidence of fruit flies was found within a fortnight then overseas markets would accept the insect was alone, he said.

When the Northern Advocate asked whether the location of the fruit fly found in Whangarei indicated the insect had arrived in one of the many overseas yachts berthed at the Town Basin, Mr. Coleman said it may have done.

“But we may never know how it got here,” he said, explaining that the fruit fly life cycle involved a pupae development period on the ground.

The pheromone traps containing female fruit fly sex scent are expected to detect any males. If an infestation was found, ground spraying would be carried out to eradicate the invaders.

Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy and MPI chief executive officer Martyn Dunn were in Whangarei yesterday to see the fruit fly measures being imposed and for talks with Whangarei MP Phil Heatley, Mayor Sheryl Mai and top Northland Regional Council officials.

Mr. Heatley said later the minister had assured Whangarei people there would be no aerial spraying such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry carried out with the insecticide Foray 48B over parts of Auckland from January 2002 to May 2004 to eradicate another exotic pest, the painted apple moth.

Kerikeri Fruit growers’ Association chairman Rick Curtis said growers in his area were “nervous as hell”.

“They are watching and hoping the male fly found was alone,” he said.

Fruit fly facts:

  • The Queensland fruit fly is a native of Australia where it is considered to be the country’s most serious insect pest of fruit and vegetable crops.
  • Air and sea passengers are prohibited from bringing fresh fruit and vegetables into New Zealand.
  • Fruit flies eat ripened fruit and vegetables. Eggs which female fruit flies lay on fruit hatch into larvae which find dark places where they grow six legs and wings before emerging as adults.
  • Larvae of fruit flies develop in moist areas where organic material and standing water are present. The entire life cycle lasts 25 days or more depending on the environmental conditions and the availability of food.

Thus these flies are notorious pests which affect the horticulture industry reigning in losses to the tune of billions of dollars. Let us see what has been done conventionally to deal with these pests. The fly has been the subject of extensive control regimes including a Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone where it is forbidden to take fruit, and post-harvest dipping of fruit in dimethoate and fenthion. Now dimethoate and fenthion are interesting chemicals. They are basically organophosphates. Dimethoate is a widely used organophosphate insecticide used to kill insects on contact. Fenthion is an organothiophosphate insecticide, avicide, and acaricide. Since both the above chemicals are extremely toxic and hazardous to the human life due to their mode of action targeting the central nervous system, their use was under review by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), with dimethoate suspended from use.

In effect, we still have outbreaks of fruit fly infestations with almost no means of controlling them. Termirepel™ a product by C Tech Corporation is a promising alternative solution. Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous insect and pest repellant. Primarily designed to be used as a termite aversive, it is highly effective against a host of other insects and pests. It works by the mechanism of repellence by which it ensures that the target insect or pest stays away from the application without resorting to killing it. Termirepel™ is available in liquid form which can be used in the form of a spray. Also, the masterbatch form can be incorporated in agricultural films.