In fact, a recent survey of Michigan floriculture growers revealed all of them had used at least one biopesticide in conjunction with their biological control program. While greenhouse growers are now using biopesticides, they often have questions such as: What is a biopesticide? How are they different from each other? Which one should I use?
Biopesticides are pesticides derived from natural materials, including animals, plants, fungi and microbes. The Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division of the Environmental Protection Agency, which registers biopesticides in the U.S., classifies biopesticides into three categories: biochemical, microbials and plant-incorporated protectants.
Biochemicals are derived from naturally occurring substances such as plant extracts. This includes insect repellants, insect attractants and repellants, pheromones, and non-pest management class—plant growth regulators.
- Azadirachtin (broad-spectrum insecticide).
- Capsaicin (compound from chili peppers) (broad-spectrum insecticide, nematicide and fungicide).
- Clove, rosemary and peppermint oil (broad-spectrum fungicide).
Microbials are products containing micro-organisms or their fermentation by-products.
- The bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis for use against caterpillars.
- The fungus Beauveria bassiana for use against whiteflies, aphids and thrips.
Plant-incorporated protectants are pesticidal substances produced by plants as a result of genetic manipulation. There are no plant-incorporated protectant compounds registered for use in greenhouses.
As of April 2016, there were 299 active ingredients in biopesticides registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, only 40 are labeled for use in greenhouses.
Source: MSU Extension