Director of cultivation
Winter in the desert is a little different than winter most everywhere else, especially when propagating plants indoors. We look forward to the cool season, as it gives us time to enjoy ambient temperatures (which have been averaging 70 to 76 degrees in the daytime) and service our equipment and provides a reprieve from the pressures associated with the harsh summer temperatures (which average 90 to 100 degrees throughout the summer months).
The most noticeable pest pressure that is reduced with the cooler temperatures would probably be the mites that we control for. Cooler temperatures slow their movement and, thus, lifecycles, and allows for more effective predation by our control organisms. It is also important to know your control organisms, and how they may or may not be affected by the change in temperatures and/or humidity. If both the control organism and pest are affected similarly by the weather, nothing is gained, but if you tilt that scale in favor of the control organism, tremendous gains are possible.
I prefer to use beneficial control organisms wherever possible for several reasons: they provide the most prolonged control for almost all life stages of the pest organism they are controlling; they can move and relocate with changing pest populations; and they are completely sustainable. Coming from Arizona, a medical state, integrated pest management has always been a very important tool for us to rely on, as regulations and testing requirements are being determined and ever changing.