The fight just got a lot more interesting ... and sustainable
Hungry insects love to make a meal out of plants. The more destructive ones create serious problems to growing beautiful flowers, and even minor pests can reduce the quality and vase-life of the flowers you bring home. Conventional growers fight these pests with lots of pesticides, insecticides and other chemicals. Bloomia is anything but conventional, and we just don’t like how those chemicals threaten human and environmental health.
Bloomia, as a global leader in sustainably-grown floral products, is fighting pests with out-of-the box thinking. In fact, we’re not doing the fighting at all. We’re letting other insects wipe out the pests for us. We sidestep convention when, as in this case, it causes harm because we believe in treating flowers, people and our environment with care.
Insects are the Best Pest Management 🕸
For years, Bloomia has used biology, not chemistry, to win the battle against infestations. We use a proven biological system, called Integrated Pest Management (IPM), to produce excellent results. IPM is a safe approach that uses natural techniques, like introducing other insects or controlling water flow, to manage diseases, insects, weeds and other pests without using any toxic chemicals or sprays.
IPM works in three areas: prevention, monitoring and intervention. We prevent pests from building up by combining and optimizing different strategies, such as water management, plant nutrition and crop rotation. We also monitor our crops daily during the entire growth cycle, looking for pests and insects. Knowing what kinds of insects are in our greenhouses and at what quantities helps us determine if, when and how intervention should occur. That’s when the gloves come off.
Intervention: Step into the Ring 🥊
If intervention is needed, we use biological methods to preserve crops with minimal effects on the environment. Here are a few examples of the fights taking place in our greenhouses. Don’t worry, no humans are harmed in the making of our flowers.
Round 1 – Aphids vs. Micro-Wasps 🐝
Aphids are tiny pests with huge appetites. They feed on every part of the plant: its juices, leaves, stems, buds, flowers, and even the roots. To fight these mini-monsters, we send in the micro-wasps. These airborne warriors literally sting their victims and lay eggs inside them. After a couple of days, the affected aphid turns into a mummy. Inside the now-dead aphid, a new parasitic wasp emerges to lay more eggs and continue the cycle. But worry not: these wasps are tiny and do not go after or sting humans.
Round 2 - Spider Mites vs. Mighty-Mites 🕷
Spider Mites might be better called Vampire Mites. They live in colonies, mostly on the underside of leaves, and feed by piercing the leaf tissue and sucking out plant fluids. These vegetarian vampires can cause leaves to turn yellow, dry up and drop off. To get rid of these suckers, we release an almighty, predatory mite. They hunt the spider mites and, in a twist of fate, suck them dry in an incredible one-on-one fight. It’s not pretty, but fighting vampires rarely is.
Round 3 – Mealybug vs. Beetle 🐞
Mealybugs may sound cute, but they are a fearful enemy that causes considerable crop damage. When they feed on our flowers they cause misshapen and yellow leaves. We don’t like that and we know you don’t either. To get rid of these nightmarish bugs we release predatory beetles on our plants. With their voracious appetites, they make short work of this troublesome pest. We are not going to make a joke about Beetlejuice.
Is biological control “safe”? Yes, biological control is safe. We choose it specifically because it is safe for human health and the environment, and we want to do everything we can to reduce the widespread use of pesticides and other toxic chemicals.
What happens to the beneficial insects when all the pests are gone? Biological controls such as beneficial insects rely on a population of natural enemies for their survival. However, once the pest species is eradicated, the beneficial pests also disappear. It’s a natural cycle.
Are Bloomia flowers pesticide free? Yes! We are proud to use IPM, ozone treatment, and plenty of other processes to achieve a 100% pesticide-free operation. It’s not only safer for our workers, but also creates awesome looking flowers.
How can I learn more about IPM? You should check our partner’s website www.koppert.com. They have tons of resources, videos and interesting articles.
These are some examples of how we use and integrate nature and its systems to always deliver you the highest-quality flowers out there.
If you want to know more about our sustainability efforts, be sure to check out our first-ever sustainability manifesto published here.
'Pest fights' images by Koppert.