Control of orchid-infesting insects by vault fumigation with methyl bromide

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Material Information

Title:
Control of orchid-infesting insects by vault fumigation with methyl bromide
Physical Description:
28, 6 p. : ill. ; 27 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Bulger, Jacob W
United States -- Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine
Publisher:
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration, Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine
Place of Publication:
Washington, D.C
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Orchids -- Fumigation   ( lcsh )
Bromomethane   ( lcsh )
Genre:
federal government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Notes

Additional Physical Form:
Also available in electronic format.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Jacob W. Bulger.
General Note:
Caption title.
General Note:
"E-690."
General Note:
"May 1946."

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 030291743
oclc - 779966823
System ID:
AA00026058:00001

Full Text
Li UKAKY
STATE PLANT BOARD : I
May 1946 -



United State- '5 ari.wat of .Vgi-....-
Agricultural ka.'-_.h /r..A ctr t*r..:
Bureau of Bitomology and Plant Quarantine

CONTROL OF ORHID-INFESTING INSECTS BY VAULT FiaTCy r'TO
WITH XETHTL BROMIDE

% By Jacob W. Bulger
Division of Control Investigations

During 1941 and 1942 extensive experimentation was performed ut
and near Hoboken, N. J., on the fumigation of growing orchid plant
with methyl bromide. These studies were planned to provide data upon
which treatments could be recommended for the fumigation of orchid
plants imported into this country under the provisions of the Nursery
Stock, Plant, and Seed Quarantine No. 37, 'administered by the Bureau
of Entomology and Plant Quarantine.

Since it was impractical to obtain plants of foreign origin for
these studies, domestic orchid plants were used. Cooperation was
arranged with several orchid growers at Summit, I'i-L Orange, Bergea
field, and Woodcliff, N. J., whereby plants could be borrowed for
these studies.

A number of cases of methyl bromide injtv to orchid plants ha
been reported, particularly on Cymbidium and CGprl.rieLdium, where such
plants were included with plant material treated for other than
orchid insects.

The dosage schedules in the present studies were f iom 1 25to
2 pounds of methyl bromide per 1,000 cubic feet of vault space for
from 1.5 to 2 hours. These amounts, which were re3.tiv2 'i 2 gbht in
comparison with dosages of methyl bromide used for other purposes,
were effective against insects on orchid plants, and the orchids ir
general reacted favorably to these schedules.

The result of these studies not only provided a basis for
recommendations relative to the treatment of imported orchid plants,
but suggested a possible means of practical control for scale in-
sects, mealybugs, or other insects which cause a considerable loss
to domestic orchid growers each year.

Experimental Procedure

Studies on insect mortality and plant tolerance were carried on
simultaneously, usually on the same plants.


JUN 15 1946





10, 2 4


Each fumigation was aaaigne(l a number, and all plants in the
test were labeled with this number. A record was prepared, giving
data on the date, temperature, dosage and exposure, varieties of
plants and numbers of each included, and any other pertinent infor-
mation. Later records on insect mortality or plant reaction were
identified with the fumigation test number.

All fumigations were performed in gastight vaults. The potted
plants were removed from the benches and placed in the vault.
Methyl bromide was carefully measured in a special applicator, and -
introduced into the closed vault, where it immediately volatilized.
A small fan within the vault kept the air-gas mixture agitated for
the first 15 minutes of fumigation. At the end of the exposure
period the gas was removed from the vault by a venting system, and
the plants were removed to a shaded place for a period of aeration
before being returned to the greenhouse.

In each test, after being returned to the greenhouse benches,
the plants were kept isolated until final observations on mortality
were made 10 to 20 days following treatment. This postfumigation
holding period allowed affected scales to change appearance, and any
remaining viable eggs to hatch. Counts on mealybugs were made 48 to
72 hours after treatment, .since they tended to fall off the host
plants if left longer. Mealybug eggs were observed for 10 days or
longer.

Most of the studies on insect mortality were directed toward
the various species of scale insects found in N Jersey orchid
establishments. As soon as the approximate lethal dosage to these
species was determined, studies on plant tolerance were expanded.

At the beginning of the investigation limited numbers of plants
were used, and careful records kept on each plant. As the studies
progressed, larger numbers of plants were used, and it became imprac-
tical to keep such detailed records; therefore, notes were restricted
to more general observations. Complete records were kept of the
varieties treated, however.

Fumigation tests in the fall of 194. were performed at the Plant
Inspection House at Hoboken, The plants were replace in their
owner's establishments within a day or so following treatment, so
that they could be kept for observation under their usual greenhouse
environment.

Opportunity was afforded for studying the reaction of one lot
of fumigated plants before proceeding with the fumigation of others.
By this cautious approach the tolerance of many orchids was obtained.





S3 -


By February 1942 continued favorable plant reaction to drnnrp.,-
lethal to most of the scale insects involved prompted one gro. :
offer a complete house of assorted orchids for experimental trm.t-
ment in return for the benefit to be derived from a cleanup of tii,
greenhouse. Accordingly, a vault of 33 cubic feet was install-d in
the head house of his range, and the contents of one house (fig. 1)
were methodically treated, from 30 to 200 plants at a time. Thia
grower handled all the plants, and shortly after the start of this
program also took over, under supervision, the application of the
fumigant. All subsequent reference to'Ohe grower" in this paper re-
fers to this operator.

The cooperative arrangement covered approximately 18 months,
which allowed observations to be made on fumigations performed in
both winter and summer, under various atmospheric and other condi-
tions, and at temperatures ranging from 50 to 95 F.

Studies on Insect Mortality

Ten species of scale insects and one species of mealybug were
found in orchid houses in the New Jersey area, and the effect of
methyl bromide fumigation was studied on all of them.


Scientific name

Chrysomphalus aonidum (L.)

Coccus hesperidum L.


Coccus pseudohesperidum

Diaspis boisduvalii Sign.
Lepidosaphes ?ackieana
McKenzie
Lepidosaphes machili
(Mask.)
Parlatoria proteus Curt.

Pseudoparlatoria pRla-
torioides (Comet.)
Pulvinaria floccifera
(Westw.)
Saissetia hemispherica
(Targ.)
Pseudococcus sp.
(close to maritimus)


Common name

Florida red scale

Soft scale


Soft scale

White scale

Oystershell scale
Black scale of
orchids


Hemispherical
scale
Mealybug


Found on-

Qncidium suhac 3A-
turn chiefly
Maxillaria, Dendro-
bium and miscel-
laneous orchids
Most genera

All varieties

Dendrobium
Cymbidium

Cypriped ium
(Summit)
Cypripedium
(Bergenfield)
Oncidium and m is-
cellaneous orch.ds
Ardesia

To some extent on
most varieties






Further results of the studies are given in table 1. A dosage
of 1.75 pounds of methyl bromide per 1,000 cubic feet of vault space
for 2 hours consistently gave complete mortality of all armored
scales and mealybugs. Complete mortality of soft scales was not ob-
tained, but it was high enough to give practical control.

Specimens o Lepidosaphes sp. from Dendrobium, sent to special-
ists in the Divioa of Insect Iodntification, were returned as
Lepidosaphes hackiesna UcKenzie'-- In the meantime the infestation
was apparently wiped out, as subsequent observations failed to reveal
any live specimens.

All stages of the mealybug proved to be killed readily with the
dosages tested. Only one species appeared to be present in the orchid
greenhouses observed in the New Jersey area, identified as Pseudococcus
sp. (close to maritimus).
One specimen of Cerataphis lataniae, an aphid, with a scale-like
appearance was killed by a dosage of 1.75 pounds for 2 hours.

After a lot of plants had been fumigated, infestation was a
long time in reappearing, and then it was restricted to isolated
groups which were easily cleaned up by refumigation of a small 'num-
ber of plants.

Studies on Plant Reaction

A total of 16,172 plants, representing 56 genera, were included
in the studies on plant reaction. Figure 1 shows a greenhouse filled
with Cattleya, Stanhopea, Oncidiua, Dendrobium, and miscallaneous
types which were fumigated during July and August 1942, as they
appeared 4 months later. The general condition was considered as
excellent.

It was observed that the older leaves or the injured leaves
(fig. 6) of fumigated plants often became discolored and dropped off
in a few days or weeks. While this condition was definitely asso
ciated with fumigation, no characteristic burn or injury *as evidt-
In fact each stage of discoloration could be matched id-th aimilarz
colored leaves from untreated plants, except that in the iiter in-
stance the process of discoloration and loss was spread over months
instead of days. It was suggested that perhaps methyl bromide_
caused a premature and rapid ripening of the older leaves. At first
this occurrence was regarded as serious, but upon long and careful
observation the grower concluded it to be of minor consequence,
since fumigated plants tended to produce excellent new growth and,
in some cases, appeared to be stimulated by the fumigation.

4 McKenzie, H. L. Miscellaneous diaspid studies, including notes
on Chrysomphalus (Homoptera; Coccoidea; Diaspididae). Calif.
Dept. Agr. Bul. 32: 148-162, illus. 1943.






The poetfumigation handlIng iol- t.-,h -i'iJ n-'" th1. ,;'
reaction Under certain circumstanct.s. I-i tir *;:.,.:,Lttve teats on
a sunny day during the midsdummer of 1942, plrt- *'., Catteya
Bowringiana were fumigated at 75 F. in the ror.jing and at 88 in
the afternoon, and immediately replaced in tie greenhouse, were
shading was normal for summer. The plants fumigated in the morning
and replaced at about 11 a.m. showed injury to fairly sound leaves,
whereas those fumigated in the afternoon and replaced about 5 p.m.
showed no injury. The injury was similar to that which orch'.i grow-
ers attribute to too much sunlight.

A review of all previous tests showed that the occasional In-
stances of injury were usually in tests made in the morning, and
that afternoon tests seldom showed any injury. This difference was
attributed to the additional sunlight, or bright light, to which
the plants from morning fumigations were exposed. Subsequently all
plants were kept in deep shade (usually in the head house) for.sev-
eral hours following fumigation, and further injury of this type was
prevented.

The detailed results are given in table 2. Under the heading of
injury, the loss of old leaves is not considered.

All names are listed as shown in the growerr' catalog and have
not been checked botanically.
For greater convenience, the rejpo cf r'lf s is discussed
by groups.


Response of Various Groups of Orthioa._- .-.
Bromide Fumigation

Cattleya.--In general, plants of the Cattv.ty -o..ip responded
well to methyl bromide fumigation. Vigorous L.'t respo Jed better
than weak ones. Growth buds and eyes were not inj-ciad, even at dc-
ages in excess of those discussed in this article. Plants with
heavy infestations of scale insects encrusted on the leaves ohowt
spotting under such scale patches, but this was judged to be due
insect injury. The loss of older or injured leaves was iort pro-
nounced on the Cattleya than upon other orchids. Plants with
yellowed leaves showed greater loss than those with deep green
leaves. Plants in full bloom were fumigated without injury to
either plant or flowers. In one case a blossom just opened and not
yet hardened was uninjured.

A peculiar spotting appeared occasionally on the Cattleya
hybrids Enid, Fabia, and Gigas, on the bud-sheath leaf at a point
just below the top of the sheath. As the leaf elongated with the
development of the bud, the spot appeared past the end of the
sheath. No injury to the bud or flower was evident. The cause of
the spotting was not determined.







Seedling Cattleya responded well and showed no adverse reaction
to fumigation.

The condition of plants improved after being fumigated. The
prevention of insect injury apparently offset any fumigation injury
to the plants. The grower repeatedly commented on this favorable
reaction of fumigated plants.

Cymbidium.-The orchids of the Cymbidium group, particularly
the older plants, had a tendency to lose a considerable amount of
foliage following fumigation. As with the Cattleya, the older, out-
side leaves were lost. New growths, buds, and flowers were not in-
Jured (fig. 3). Seedlings responded very well after fumigation,
and lost few leaves.

At first the loss of leaves was considered objectionable, but
after seeing the later response (figs. 3 and 4) of fumigated plants
the greenhouse operator fumigated all of his Cymbidium.

Extreme care should be taken with plants of this group, how-
ever, and preliminary tests should be made before fumigating any
number of them. In early tests a few Cymbidium plants were fumi-
gated with dosages above those discussed here, and severe defolia-
tion followed. Some of these plants were killed, and the remainder
were retarded for 2 years or more before regaining a semblance of
normality. Dosages of more than 2 pounds per 1,000 cubic feet
should not be used.

Cypripedium.-With but few exceptions, orchid plants of this
group were successfully fumigated with dosages up to 2 pounds per
1,000 cubic feet for 2 hours (fig. 5). Plants of C. Aureum Oedippe
and C. Aureum Virginale lost some foliage but within 2 months they
were better than before fumigation. Plants of several varieties
were not injured when in bud or in full bloom.

One plant of Selenipedium Urgandae Graves var. was seriously
injured, but new growth survived. The plant recovered later but
was retarded materially. Other varieties of Selenipedium showed
no injury.

Dendrobium.-In the initial tests upon this group of orchids
the grower was concerned by the heavy loss of foliage. In some
varieties all leaves dropped except the greenest ones at the tip of
the canes. (Plants normally lose this foliage by the end of the
season.) Within 2 months after fumigation the plants had produced
such excellent new growth that the grower decided to fumigate his
entire stock of Dendrobium. Plants in full bloom were fumigated
without injury to the flowers.







Oncidium.--Most species in this group responded well to dosages
up to 2 pounds per 1,000 cubic feet for 2 hours. As with other
genera, old and defective foliage was sometimes dropped, but no sub-
stantial injury resulted. Generally the leaf loss was greater in
the thin-leafed than in the thick-leafed varieties. One exception
to this was with plants of 0. Ampliatum var. Majus. In one or two
tests on this orchid with the maximum dosage there was a consider-
able leaf injury. 0. Sphacelatum and Powelii (thin-leafed) in some
tests also showed leaf loss. There is a question, however, as to
whether this loss was not due to exposure to bright light following
fumigation. In some cases these plants responded very well. Re-
covery was rapid and injury was not considered serious. Caution
should be exercised in the treatment of 0. Ampliatum Majus until
more is known of its reaction to fumigation.

Laelia.-No injury whatsoever was observed in varieties of this
genus, with dosages up to the limit tried. The grower reported his
plants in excellent condition, and that the yield of flowers had
been exceptionally high.

Phalaenopsias.-Orchids in this genus also reacted favorably fol-
lowing fumigation with the maximum dosages used. Some varieties
showed no injury when fumigated with dosages considerably above this
in other tests.

Mscluagog orchids,.-Miltonia orchids responded well in all
tests (fig. 2), as did varieties of Odontoglossum, *Agraecum,
Calanthe, Phaius, and lycaste. The foliage of the last three is
similar. Plants of Calanthe, which appeared to have the most tender
leaves, showed no injury in the experiments. Plants uf Phaius, ap-
parently harder leafed, showed some spotting, particularly where a
leaf had been mechanically injured before fumigation. Plants of
Lycaste appeared to respond slightly better than Phaius, but occasion-
ally showed some spotting.

Epidendrum are rather tolerant and responded like Cattleya.

The reaction of numerous other genera listed in table 2 was .
rally favorable, with one exception, Zygopetalum Mackayii, which
was rather severely injured. More information is needed on the tol-
erance of this variety until the reason for injury is known.

In some instances injury occurred which would prevent the
immediate sale of the injured plants, but which did not cause last-
ing detriment or interfere with division for propagation.

Practical Application of This Method

The foregoing experiments indicate that methyl bromide fumiga-
tion has a distinct possibility of being adaptable for the us of
Domestic orchid growers.






The data show that b3 thig method mealybugs an3d a' r._red scale
insects can be i:omple.ely cleaned up, and soft scale-3 effectively
controlled at dosages safe to most varieties of orchids,

The data indicate, however, that the margin between insect con-
trol and plant injury is narrow, so that practical fumigation must
be performed precisely if injury is to be avoided. Some loss of
foliage may occur even if fumigation is precisely performed, but
generally the degree of insect control and the response. of tiih plants
offset the initial loss of older leaves.

For practical use, a dosage of 1.75 pounds of methyl bromide
per 1,000 cubic feet of vault space for 2 hours at 70 F. or above
is recommended. This dosage apparently will cause complete mortal- +
ity of armored scales and mealybugs, and effect as good control of
soft scales as the next higher dosage tested. For growers who wish
to maintain a greater margin of plant safety, a dosage of 1.5 pounds
per 1,000 cubic- feet for the same period will apparently lower the
efficiency of the treatment only slightly.

Orchid growers utilizing this method are cautioned on the fol-
lowing points:

(1) Fumigate only small numbers of plants at first, until ex-
perience is gained, and never fumigate more than modest
numbers of plants. By dividing treatments into small
lots the chance of an error that might cause consider-
able financial loss is reduced.

(2) Allow only a skilled operator to perform the fujiqi.ations.
This task must be performed precisely at recommended dos-
ages. An unskilled or irresponsible person may cause
severe injury to plants by overexposure or overdosage.

(3) Aerate plants well after the fumigation and keep them out
of sunlight or strong light for at least 24 hours. Dur-
ing this period there should be good air circulation
around the plants.

(4) When returning plants to the range, place them on clean
benches and isolate them as much as possible from unfum-
igated plants and other vegetation that may harbor in-
sects.

(5) The humidity in the vault during fumigation should be
high and pots should not be dry.

(6) Fumigation in the summer when temperatures are high and
the sun bright may be hazardous.





-9-


The feasibility of this method of insect control in commercial
orchid houses has been adequately demonstrated by the grower who
cooperated in making these tests. A letter from him, dated Jar.nury
194+, sums up his experience as follows:

"'We have been continuing our fumigation, although not
in the proportions that I would like, right along and ***
our work is more successful than ever now. It has been
proving itself of immense value in many ways. A little
instance of this is our Oncidiums, which ***' were quite
heavily infested with Mealy Bug and your long, woolly
white friend with the yellow head, Pulvinaria floccifera.
This year we had a magnificent lot of spikes from our
mixed Oncidiums, whith include varicosum,forbesi, crispum,
etc., and we have been cutting some beautiful spikes of
splendidum. Of the latter, we are way ahead of anything
we have ever had in both size of spike and quality of
flower.

"We have just finished fumigating our Oncidiums again,
although *H- 60 to 70 percent of them were very clean and
free from any of the pests they previously had. We lose
very few leaves now, as immediately upon completion of the
fumigation we place them in a very shaded position and
syringe them at least twice a day for 4 or 5 days. ** e
syringe all the plants that we are now fumigating before
putting them in the fumigator.

i"* I do not think we lost 100 leaves out of the en-
tire last fumigation of Oncidiums in which we must have
had some 600 or 700 plants. **I have also increased the
dosage and time, and do not give anything less than 2
pounds for 2 hours.

"Another very nice proven result is our Laelias,
which as you know, were in some cases completely covered
with that hard, small scale that is so hard to kill by
spraying (Coccus). At this writing I doubt if you can
find a more healthy, clean *** looking lot of Laelias
anywhere. With very few exceptions, I have not been able
to find a single scale or insect. ***They are absolutely
clean of everything and are rewarding us beautifully in
flowers.

"Our Cypripediums are very fine and as clean right
now as the Laelias ***.







"*** I ** would like to cite one more example in our
Cymbidiums. As you know, I was never too enthusiastic
about them and they grew and flowered quite well, and also
collected a great deal of various scale, including the same
small one that the Laelias seem to be fond of. Right now,
we wouldn't take a back seat to anyone in condition of
plants and magnificent flower spikes. The foliage just ac-
tually shines and is of a good deep color with enormous
leading bulbs and tremendous spikes. I have counted up to
32 buds in some instances on a single spike.

"Of course, I feel very enthusiastic about this
treatment and I know a good percentage of the improvement
is due to fumigation***."

Further information concerning the use of methyl bromide or the
construction of a fumigation vault can be obtained by writing to the
Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine, U. S. Department of Agri-
culture, Washington 25, D. C.





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Figure 1.-General view of a greenhouse in which all plants have
been fumigated. Plants in the low bed at the left are seedling
white Cattleya.. Those hanging overhead on the right are
Cattleya Gigas. Plants on the inclined bench to the right are
mostly Cattleya Enid hybrids. Those in willow baskets are
Btanhopea. Elsewhere are many other species of orchids.












































Figure 2.-Miltonia orchid plants in excellent condition
following fumigation.















































Figure 3.-Cymbidium plant fumigated twice, in October and in
February. Plant was in full bloom when fumigated the second
time.



LIBRARY
STATE PLANT BOARD















































Figure 4.-Ot~her Cymbidium 7 months after fumigation.














































Figure 5.-Cypripedium Insigne fumigated without injury.



















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II











Figure 6.-Typical discoloration centering around a previous
mechanical injury.




A
uNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

3 1262 09238 7199















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