US (VT): Colchester grower recognized for pest management prowess

A battle of the bugs is playing out inside the greenhouses of a Colchester farm. As Kevin Gaiss reports, it’s a controlled battle the owners of Claussen’s Greenhouse and Perrennial Farm have been waging with beneficial insects in an effort to replace dangerous pesticides.

The rows of greens inside Claussen’s greenhouse would be a buffet for bugs looking to snack. But in the place of chemicals to manage those pests, Lori King and her team are protecting the crop their own way. “Every week, we are putting out our biological control agents,” she said.

They are using integrated pest management to protect the flowers and other perennial plants. It’s the use of natural and biological predators on the pests that come latched on to Claussen’s plants when they arrive from out of state. “We all want to save the butterflies and the bees, so that’s the goal, to use fewer chemicals and more natural predators,” King said. Her management practices over the last 20 years have become so successful she was just recognized for outstanding achievement by the Northeastern IPM Center.

Chris Conant, the farm’s owner, says the work has become essential to their everyday business. “I’m really proud of her and what she has done for us as a company, for the community, and obviously for the environment and the safety of our employees,” he said.


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