Top: Mariah Peters, Botanica's cultivation manager; Bottom: Botanica uses ladybugs as part of its IPM.; Right: Inside a Botanica grow room
Photos courtesy of Botanica

Botanica cultivates about 20 different flower varietals at its 3,000-square-foot indoor facility in Tucson, Ariz., and it has relied on ARBICO Organics’ beneficial insects since its launch in 2015.

“We love being able to use beneficial predators,” says Botanica’s cultivation manager, Mariah Peters. “We are an organic grow, and we try to stay away from any kind of synthetic pesticides [and] fertilizers. We just want to create a healthy ecosystem, so having ARBICO there helps. It also feels great to work with a company that shares our values of environmental stewardship and striving toward an organic product.”

Botanica uses a variety of ARBICO products as the foundation of its integrated pest management plan. These include green lacewings, beneficial nematodes, ladybugs, Neoseiulus californicus, Encarsia formosa and other types of broad predators to control pests and diseases. Botanica receives weekly shipments from ARBICO to help boost predatory mite numbers and minimize the risk of infestations.

Recently, Botanica noticed the very beginning stages of spider mite activity and contacted ARBICO, who recommended that they use persimilis, which eliminated the threat and prevented any decline in quality and crop loss.

In addition, Botanica has never experienced any serious infestations of damaging pests or diseases, which Peters credits to ARBICO's preventative beneficials and fungicides.

Since no natural predators exist indoors, ARBICO’s products help Botanica create a healthy environment. “Having happy, healthy plants and creating a healthy ecosystem with bugs there [is important],” Peters says. “So, just having happy, healthy plants helps increase our yield and the quality of our products without having anything synthetic on any of our plants. We really take a lot of pride in that.”

Cultivating healthy, organic plants not only allows Botanica to increase yields, but also to sell more products, and ARBICO’s products help increase the company’s profitability through the prevention of crop loss and decreased time spent mitigating pest issues.

“If we can keep the beneficials in there and keep the plants healthy, then we don’t run the risk of having to get rid of a whole crop because … russet mites or broad mites come in [and] just wipe out everything,” Peters says. “I feel like if we have a good natural defense, it just helps increase the profitability and the quality across the board.”