Oyster mushroom growing in Zimbabwe: Pests and Diseases

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Photo: A bag attacked by green mould. A common contaminant in mushroom growing.

Pests and diseases
*some of the pests and diseases are discussed in handbook 2 (Button mushroom growing manual)

General good hygiene practices should be observed to prevent outbreaks of pests and diseases. Throughout the growing cycle, from substrate preparation to the disposal of spent substrate, very strict measures must be taken to keep out pests, diseases and contaminants from the crop. Many diseases and pests can cause serious problems and disappointments in mushroom cultivation and if the grower is not careful and can not manage pests and disease, the growing may be a waste of time and resources

Insect Pests
Oyster mushrooms are sensitive to fly infestation. This can be controlled by exclusion of the flies from the area around the growing rooms themselves.

Green mould
Any disease caused by green colored mold (fungi) on mushroom bags or beds is called “green mold disease.” A wide range of diseases and pests can cause serious problems in mushroom cultivation, and management of those diseases and pests is a key factor in successful mushroom production.

Rats
Rats have caused untold suffering to many mushroom growers in Zimbabwe mainly due to poor growing houses that allow rats to enter, almost every grower is at this risk as generally the structures used in Zimbabwe are the simple and cheaper structures. Care should be taken to safeguard one from this risk.

Termites
This has not caused much worry on the mushroom but the mushroom house itself as most mushroom houses are made out of wooden poles and some walls are made of grass which can easily be attacked by termites. Those who place bags on the floor without cement will have the risk of having their bags attacked by termites as well. So be forewarned.

Basic Practices for Pest and Disease Management (hygienic practices)

Sanitation and strict hygiene are the most important preventive methods for pest and disease control. Without them, effective disease or pest control will never be achieved. Every practice must focus on exclusion and elimination of pathogens or pests.

Keep doors closed and avoid any practices that expose substrates to pathogens or pests during spawning.

Keep mushroom flies from entering mushroom houses by installing screens on windows and doors.

Inspect mushroom bags or beds carefully for early detection of pests and diseasesKeep mushroom bags or beds clean by removing any mushroom debris or mushroom stumps shortly after harvest.- Keep the floors clean. Do not dump any waste near mushroom houses, which can attract mushroom flies.

Disinfect or pasteurize spent substrate before removing it from mushroom houses after cultivation.

Clean and disinfect mushroom houses thoroughly before a new crop.

Clean and disinfect equipment frequently.

Wear clean clothes and shoes and wash hands before entering mushroom houses.

Record Keeping
- Source Of substrate and collection date
- Dates of substrate preparation
- Pasteurisation particulars including date, hours immersed in water, temperature of water
- Temperature of substrate at spawning
- Humidity levels
- Date of spawning
- Spawning rate
- Spawn strain and source
- Pinning initiation date
- Date and weights of mushrooms per picking
It is very important to keep records as one will be able to look back and learn from the records or
correct your mistakes.

This is my last post of the oyster mushroom manual, I am now moving to button mushroom growing manual. Take time to leave your comment below

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