Free guide for greenhouse biological control agents available

February 7, 2024

A newly-released guide on biological control agents for greenhouse pests is now available for free download.

Michigan State University Extension partnered with Raymond Cloyd at Kansas State University Extension and Sarah Jandricic at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs to update the bulletin about the commercially-available biocontrol agents in North America.

The 16-page bulletin, “Commercially Available Biological Control Agents for Greenhouse Insect and Mite Pests,” (E3299) includes the beneficial insects that control western flower thrips, whiteflies, aphids, twospotted spider mites, mealybugs and fungus gnats. 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.

The bulletin also provides the optimum temperatures for activity of each biological control agent. These temperatures can be used as a guideline for growers to choose which beneficial insect to use under different growing conditions. For example, Neoseiulus cucumeris is considered the better choice in cooler growing conditions (down to 47 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to Amblyseius swirskii (where its optimum temperature is greater than 64 F).

The bulletin also provides commentary that growers may find helpful. For instance, growers are less likely to establish a population of Orius insidiosus in greenhouses from October to March at northern latitudes because females usually enter diapause under short day lengths. However, they can still be released during autumn and winter months, but the next generation won’t appear until the photoperiod is sufficiently long.

This bulletin is free and can be downloaded from the MSU Extension website at: Commercially Available Biological Control Agents for Greenhouse Insect and Mite Pests.

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