Missouri River could be a pest’s paradise, considering its five hoop houses and four large indoor flowering rooms that produce 7,000 cannabis plants annually. However, the Tucson-based farm is protected by beneficial bugs from ARBICO Organics, a supplier of predatory insects, and armed with crucial integrated pest management advice also provided by the company.
“ARBICO knows the best bugs suitable for our situation and climate, both indoors and outdoors,” says Cara Beauchamp, an IPM specialist at Missouri River. “They’re always able to point us in the right direction for what we need at a specific time.”
In place of pesticides, the grower utilizes ARBICO products like Phytoseiulus persimilis, a predatory mite known for suppressing spider mite infestations within cannabis grows. Missouri River also applies Neoseiulus californicus and Amblyseius andersoni mites in its indoor flower rooms.
“We use them on flowers because they’re packaged in sachets,” Beauchamp says. “We hang them one per plant. We use persimilis in hot-spot locations for breakouts in vegetative areas.”
“Generalist predators” are another part of the ARBICO menu, with green lacewing larvae dining on aphids and whiteflies in Missouri River’s hoop houses. While adult green lacewings only feed on pollen and nectar, their eggs hatch into larvae and begin the pest-fighting cycle anew.
Missouri River began its relationship with ARBICO in 2017; since then purchasing not only predatory insects, but compatible organic sprays as well. BotaniGard 22WP—the WP stands for wettable powder—contains a Beauveria bassiana fungal strain parasitic to aphids along with other soft-bodied plant eaters.
“The biggest benefit of this product is that it’s compatible with mite predators,” Beauchamp says. “They’re not going to counteract with each other, so (the spray) is a really awesome product to have.”
ARBICO supports the grower’s organic methods through its products and top-notch customer service, adds Beauchamp. Support includes in-depth responses on pest problems that change with the weather, as well as facility maintenance advice, ensuring complete eradication of spider mites and aphids.
Maintaining pest thresholds has allowed Missouri River to increase yields, an outcome that ultimately supports its discerning clientele.
“ARBICO’s quality control is very high; it’s the highest-quality product you can get,” Beauchamp says. “We’re creating medicine that’s organic, and that’s the biggest [benefit] we can have for our company.”