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Dr. Robert HollingsworthPhoto of Dr. Hollingsworth
Research Biologist

Tropical Plant Pests Research Unit
Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center
P. O. Box 4459, Hilo, HI 96720



Articles about the Potential of Caffeine as a Control for Slugs and Snails

"Caffeine as a repellent for Slugs and Snails" reprinted from Nature (27 June, Vol. 417, pp. 915-916.

"Coffee Breaks Slugs" Nature Science Update, 27 June, 2002

"Caffeine 'repels slugs" BBC News, 26 June, 2002

"A Slug of Caffeine" reprinted from Crops Magazine, 20 July, 2002 (copyright Reed Business Information, used with permission).

Control and Management of Quarantine Pests on Ornamental Crops

Close up photo of thripProblem:
     Ornamental crops are permitted for export only if they are free of all quarantine pests (for example, certain species of thrips, aphids, scales, mites, snails, slugs and nematodes). If pests are found by quarantine inspectors, a shipment may be rejected, and the grower may lose permission to export. Due to the risks associated with quarantine pests, growers use pesticides intensively prior to harvest. Even with intensive insecticide use, growers of orchids and anthuriums have trouble controlling thrips, mites and whiteflies. Many growers decide when to apply pesticides based on the calendar, instead of scouting for pests. This approach accelerates the development of pesticide resistance. The use of post-harvest treatments (such as pesticide dips and hot water) allows growers to reduce pre-harvest use of pesticides. However, effective post-harvest treatments are not available for all flower crops. Some commodities (such as gardenia flowers) are prohibited from export due to potential pest problems. For these commodities, approved quarantine treatments, or a change in the current quarantine law, is required.

Goals and Approaches:Close up photo of scale
     To address these problems, we are developing better sampling methods for detecting thrips in orchids, researching the effects of calendar-based pesticide spray programs on populations of pests and natural enemies in anthuriums, and testing non-toxic dip ingredients for their potential in removing surface insects from flower and foliage crops. In addition, we are developing new quarantine treatments for control of green scale on gardenia.

Photo of gradeniaProgress:
     Preliminary indications are that thrips are randomly distributed within orchid plantings. Distributions of thrips were not heavily influenced by orchid variety. These findings will be used to develop optimal sampling methods for thrips detection. Although natural enemies of thrips were present, they did not provide effective control. On anthuriums, it was found that natural enemies did not bring thrips under biological control despite continuous presence of the pest for one year. Results also indicated that thrips may be resistant to an insecticide commonly used against this pest by anthurium growers. A combination of fluvalinate and insecticidal soap was found to be the most suitable post-harvest dip for control of coffee green scale on gardenia. This treatment, in combination with field control of coffee green scale, is the basis for a proposed systems quarantine approach under which the export of gardenia flowers from Hawaii to the continental USA would be permitted. APHIS is in the process of revising the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) relative to the export of gardenia flowers. Meanwhile, the export of gardenia flowers from Hawaii to California is permitted under special conditions set out by APHIS, based on our proposed quarantine approach.

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