Welcome to AFE's brand new website! Feel free to explore and learn more about our programs and resources. Make a Contribution to Support AFE

Thrips and Botrytis Research Projects

In 2017, a special research campaign was established to address the control and management of Thrips and Botrytis. Losses from these pests affect all segments of the industry every day, and Thrips and Botrytis are challenging to control using currently available pesticides and management strategies. AFE’s goal of reaching $1.5 million in pledges was met in 2019 with contributions from 25 industry leaders and organizations to support new and innovative research to address these challenges. With those funds, AFE has been able to support more than fifteen multi-year research projects to reduce losses and produce higher-quality flowers and plants. Research and research findings like those presented today are possible only through industry support and contributions. Thanks to generous donors, AFE can provide research solutions to support a stronger industry. If you would like to make a contribution to support resources like these, please visit endowment.org/donate.

If you are interested in submitting a research proposal, please click here.
Applications are due by August 1st each year! 



Special Research Projects


Biological Control Agents and Systemic Acquired Resistance-Inducing Compounds for the Control of Botrytis:
 Dr. James Faust Clemson University 2020 – 2023
Objective: To identify biological alternatives to fungicides that are effective for Botrytis cinerea management in floriculture crops.

Optimizing the Efficacy of Beneficial Bacteria Against Botrytis Blight in Greenhouse Crops: Dr. Michelle Jones, The Ohio State University 2021-2023
Objective: To determine the best method of applying beneficial bacteria to maximize botrytis control.

Can Western Flower Thrips be Managed in Commercial Greenhouses with UV Light?: Dr. Bruce Parker, University of Vermont 2021 – 2024
Objective: To investigate the use of UV-C light as a significant component of an IPM strategy to manage western flower thrips in commercial greenhouses.

Co-Application of Biopesticides and Chitosan for Optimized Suppression of Botrytis Infection in Greenhouse Floriculture: Dr. Anissa Poleatewich, University of New Hampshire 2022-2023
Objective: 1) Evaluate the effect of chitosan on biocontrol agent growth; 2) Evaluate the effect of chitosan-biopesticide combination on Botrytis suppression in vitro; 3) Evaluate chitosan-biopesticide co-application to suppress disease under production.

Enhancing the Performance of Biological Control Agents for Botrytis Control: Drs. James Faust, Clemson University and Anissa Poleatewich, University of New Hampshire 2023 – 2026
Objective: Prospective biological control agents for Botrytis blight often perform well in the lab but fail in the greenhouse. Our objective is to enhance the performance of these organisms by understanding the reason(s) that they fail and then provide the conditions that will help them survive and succeed as disease management tools in the greenhouse environment.

Spray Application of Calcium and Silicon on Flower Petals to Improve Resistance to Botrytis Infection and Western Flower Thrips Feeding: James Faust and Juang Horng Chong, Clemson University 2017 – 2020
Objective: Evaluating the effect of calcium and silicon to improve flower petal resistance to Botrytis and western flower thrips.

Evaluation of Alternative (non-fungicide) Treatments Including Biological Control Agents and Systemic Acquired Resistance-Inducing Compounds for Botrytis Control: James Faust, Guido Schnabel, and Melissa Munoz, Clemson University 2020 – 2023
Objective: To identify biological alternatives to fungicides that are effective for Botrytis cinerea management in floriculture crops 

Evaluating Potential of Chitosan to Promote Botrytis Resistance and Plant Performance: Ryan Dickson and Anissa Poleatewich, University of Arkansas 2019 – 2021
Objective: Evaluation of the potential for CHT sprays to control botrytis and influence plant performance during post-production of floriculture crops. 

Manipulating Nutrient Inputs to Reduce Thrips in Flower Crops: Rose Buitenhuis, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre 2018 -2020
Objective: Determine if reduced nutrient regimes and biostimulant treatments reduce thrips population growth without negatively affecting plant quality, and test if treatments will improve relative efficacy of biocontrol strategies against thrips in a complete IPM strategy.

Distinction of Arthropod-Induced Stressor of Chrysanthemum Using Hyperspectral Imaging Technologies: Christian Nansen, The University of California, Davis 2018 – 2020
Objective: To provide novel and innovative insight into the practical potential of robotics and machine vision as part of improving and automating crop monitoring inside greenhouses.

Integrated Management of Thrips Using New Generation Bioinsecticides and Commercially-Reared Natural Enemies: Kevin Heinz, Texas A & M University 2018-2020
Objective: To screen new biochemical pesticides for activity against WFT in rose v. ‘Tropicana’ and evaluate promising materials in replicated greenhouse rose trials with natural enemies (predatory mites.) Conduct grower demonstration trial using the best program in Texas and with Colombian flower grower cooperator.

Successful IPM of Western Flower Thrips Starts with Clean Cuttings: Rose Buitenhuis, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre 2017 – 2019
Objective: Investigating the use of cutting dips containing reduced-risk materials (insecticidal soap, mineral oil) and biopesticides (Beauveria bassiana) as a means of reducing thrips infestations on propagative materials.

Ultraviolet Light for Integrated Pest Management of Western Flower Thrips: Bruce Parker and Margaret Skinner, University of Vermont 2018 – 2021
Objective: Determining the effect of the western flower thrips’ lethal dose of UV-C exposure on the growth and flowering of roses and mums under lab conditions.

Finding Solutions to Pre-Harvest Botrytis Infection of Cut Roses: James Faust, Melissa Muñoz, and Guido Schnabel, Clemson University 2016 – 2018
Objective: Developing and understanding the relationships between the greenhouse environment, such as temperature and cultural practices on Botrytis spore populations in cut roses.

A Novel Approach to Fungal-based Thrips Management with Marigold Guardian Plants: Margaret Skinner, University of Vermont 2016 – 2018
Objective: Evaluating the persistence of Beauveria bassiana, an insect-killing fungus, that when combined with a solid nutritional substrate (millet) in the potting mix will provide control of western flower thrips for longer periods.

Post Harvest Management of Botrytis during Shipping and Storage: John Dole, North Carolina State University 2016 – 2018
Objective: Identifying the relationship between ethylene sensitivity and Botrytis susceptibility of cut roses. Also, the relationship of temperature and relative humidity conditions inside shipping boxes will be related to incidence of Botrytis relative to packing materials and pre-cooling methods.

View All Currently Funded Research Projects