Plant Protection in a World of Pests: Q&A With Dr. Raymond Cloyd

Plant Protection in a World of Pests: Q&A With Dr. Raymond Cloyd

<![CDATA[Pests are everywhere, and they happen to love the crop that your team is growing. Whether you’re working indoors or outdoors, a host of tiny antagonists await your plants. So, what’s a cannabis grower to do?One of the great fronts against mite pests is the world of biological control agents. These predator mites fight back against the problem. This process is called integrated pest management or “plant protection,” as Kansas State University entomologist Dr. Raymond Cloud puts it in this interview. We spoke with Cloyd ahead of his research-based panel discussion at Cannabis Conference 2022 to learn more about how to combat pesky pests. Eric Sandy: What drew you to study insects in the first place?Raymond Cloyd: I’ve always been interested in biology and the sciences throughout my life. Around high school, I really was fascinated by the diversity of insects, the number of them and just all the wonders of insects. I liked the different morphology and their evolution processes. It’s very fascinating dealing with a group of organisms that is by far the largest on the planet.ES: Were there certain crops you found yourself working with early on?RC: I’m primarily in horticultural entomology, which includes ornamentals in greenhouse, nursery and landscape. I do turfgrass and vegetables and fruits, Christmas trees, cannabis, hemp, and I also work with the pollinators—beekeepers and such—but it’s mostly horticulture crops. I don’t deal with the fuel crops, like corn, soybeans, cotton, rice. That’s handled by other entomologists. So, it’s quite diverse.Cannabis, as a result of being grown in greenhouse production systems or outdoors, has its cadre of insects or mite pests that we deal with, which are almost the same as those that deal with ornamental plants. Aphids and mites and thrips are probably at the top of the list. And then you can…

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