Integrated Pest Management and Indoor Growing Operations
Growing crops indoors with indoor LED grow lights provides an excellent way to guard against damage done by weather conditions and wildlife, and the enclosed environment also does a great deal to prevent insect pests and birds from wreaking havoc on the crops. However, this doesn’t mean that indoor growing operations are immune from damage by insect pests and pathogens. Indoor growing environments provide optimal conditions for some of these to thrive, and it’s impossible to keep them completely out. Insects and fungal spores hitch rides on clothing and shoes as well as come in through tiny cracks and holes that have escaped notice. Once inside, they’ve got warmth, water, and a steady food source, causing them to thrive and multiply at alarming rates.
What is Integrated Pest Management?
Fortunately, growers can implement a combination of strategies known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) designed to minimize the need for chemical controls on crops. IPM strategies are meant to work in tandem with one another and to provide custom pest management solutions to meet the individual needs of each grower. For instance, if fungal pathogens are prevalent in your area, you’ll need to different biological controls than your counterpart who lives in an area with an arid climate. Following is a brief overview of IPM strategies that can help keep your indoor crops pest and disease free.
Keep Relative Humidity Below 55 Percent
Overly humid growing environments act as manna for opportunistic fungal pathogens, so be sure to keep relative humidity levels below 55 percent. Air circulation is an essential component of keeping humidity levels low, so many growers use fans to keep things moving. As an added bonus, the air movement will help prevent insect pests from landing on your plants. It’s also important to water early in the day so that any excess moisture has time to evaporate before nightfall.
Give Individual Plants Room
Although it’s natural to want high crop yields, cramming individual plants too close together is a recipe for fungal disaster. Even if you manage to keep overall humidity low in your indoor environment, pockets of high humidity develop in areas where plants are touching each other or otherwise lack proper air circulation.
Use Indoor LED Grow Lights
Studies show that indoor LED grow lights containing violet light are instrumental in controlling populations of certain types of predatory insects. LED lights also attract far less insect pests than their traditional counterparts.
Other IPM strategies include keeping a daily log of any emerging insect or fungal issues and the introduction of beneficial insects such as ladybugs to the growing environment.
Please feel free to reach out to us at your convenience for more information on best practices for indoor growing. U.S. residents can reach us at (800) 575-3475, and those outside the U.S. can call us at (747) 444-3380. If you’re in the area, stop by and see us at 7949 Deering Ave, Canoga Park, CA 91304.