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Biocontrol agents for greenhouse pests bulletin available

Greenhouse growers are increasingly more interested in changing their primary pest management strategy to biological control due to:
  • Increasing resistance of pest insects to chemical controls.
  • Concerns over insecticide residues on plants and their effects on pollinators.
  • Buyer restrictions.
  • Interest in no re-entry intervals.
  • Reduced risk to pesticide applicators.
  • Decreased environmental risks.
Growers new to biological control are sometimes overwhelmed by the number and diversity of biological control agents for the most common greenhouse insect pests. In order to help growers understand the beneficial insects and how to use them, Michigan State University Extension and Kansas State University Extension have released a new fact sheet about the commercially-available biocontrol agents in the United States for common greenhouse insect pests. The six-page fact sheet, titled “Commercially Available Biological Control Agents for Common Greenhouse Insect Pests,” includes the beneficial insects that control western flower thrips, whitefly, aphids, twospotted spider mites, mealybugs and fungus gnats. The bulletin was written by myself (greenhouse and nursery Extension educator), Dave Smitley (professor of entomology at MSU) and Raymond Cloyd (Kansas State University) in cooperation with biocontrol suppliers. Each biocontrol agent has a photo listed with the scientific name, type of predator or parasitoid and some key facts that will help growers use them in their biocontrol programs.

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