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Which Biopesticides are available for use in U.S. greenhouses?

In Part 1 of this article, “What is a biopesticide?” MSU Extension reviewed the three categories of biopesticides in the U.S.: biochemical, microbials and plant-incorporated protectants. There are 299 biopesticide active ingredients registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but only 40 of those are labeled for use in greenhouses (see table).

The table includes the active ingredients of registered biopesticides (excluding plant growth regulators) for greenhouse use in the U.S., classification as either microbial or biochemical, re-entry interval, pre-harvest interval, organic status and target pests.

According to this list, 32 of those contain biochemicals and 26 of those contain microbial materials. Seventy-six percent of these biopesticides have a 4-hour re-entry interval or less and 55 percent are labeled for organic production.

Keys to success
Although biopesticides have several advantages, they generally do not work as quickly as chemical pesticides. They are generally used where pest prevention or suppression is emphasized and often in combination with other approaches.

The following tips might help growers who are considering using biopesticides to manage insects or disease pests in their operations.
  • Start clean. Practice good plant hygiene, use clean media and inspect and remove contaminated plant materials coming into your operation. Use biopesticides early in the pest cycle or preventatively based on the label.
  • Rotate. Rotate biopesticides with conventional products to provide additional modes of action, control multiple pests and limit pests’ ability to develop resistance. Tank-mix products as needed.
  • Select the right product. Follow label instructions, use registered products to prevent legal problems and consult with agrochemical representatives and distributors, Michigan State University Extension personnel and others experienced with horticultural pest management.
Following these guidelines will help greenhouse growers manage pests while meeting demands for ornamental and edible crops with reduced pesticide residue.

Source: MSU Extension
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