For greenhouse operators, managing crop pests can be both time-consuming and costly, with expenses ranging from thousands to millions of dollars annually. In particular, the need to apply specialist biocontrol agents on a regular basis just to manage a couple of targeted pest species has growers yearning for more cost-effective alternatives.
Mites don’t have the best reputation when it comes to the general public but growers pay thousands of dollars every year to get them into their greenhouses. In fact, most of the greenhouse crops grown in Canada are produced with the help of these very small organisms.
If you started out using biological control for whitefly in your poinsettia crop this year, you’ve now reached a crucial tipping point. Based on the size of your Bemisia whitefly population in mid-late September, your populations could end up being too high by November to effectively bring under control. Ultimately, this could affect sales.
Every IPM strategy emphasizes prevention. This includes starting clean and maintaining a resilient pest management program thereafter. The basic principles to achieve this are minimizing pest entry, maximizing plant resistance and using biocontrol to manage the residual pest populations.
The countdown to Grower Day 2019 is on! Last year, Dr. Rose Buitenhuis of Vineland Research and Innovation Centre talked ornamental cutting dips. What are some key steps to a successful dip?
It has been four years since we last surveyed floriculture growers, and in that time, there have been some big changes in the way Canadian growers are using biocontrol.
As a grower, it’s important to think about ways in which your biocontrol programs can be strengthened. There is an increasing number of biopesticides and a staggering array of biostimulants available on the market.
Greenhouse production in Canada is growing and evolving. Tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers have traditionally been the primary crops grown in Canadian vegetable greenhouses, while the floriculture sector has been producing a wide range of potted plants, bedding plants and cut flowers.

Let’s face it, chemicals have been around for some time now, and have allowed us to successfully manage pests through each growing season. But it’s telling, that we still have to battle the same suite of pests and diseases in greenhouse crops, only now these are resistant to many of the chemicals that have been used against them.
Biologically based pest management technologies are being widely accepted because of their potential to beneficially exploit pest systems with little to no probability of harmful effects on human health and the environment.
Walking into the Orangeline Farms greenhouse, you’ll notice a myriad of purple and green foliage at the ends of some rows. But they’re not any one of the 20 different bell pepper varieties that the greenhouse operation grows.
The pepper weevil, Anthonomus eugenii is one of the most important pests of pepper crops in North America. Currently, there are no commercial products that can target immature stages of the pepper weevil, however strategies including biological control, may be useful in attacking these life stages and reducing population levels.
Insect pests don’t always die by flipping over with six legs in the air. In nature, the process is sometimes an inescapable decline due to an overwhelming infection, followed by loss of appetite, disinterest in reproduction, lethargy, and then death. Science has learned to isolate, select and mass-produce some of these infectious microbes.
When we started our project to develop a more effective IPM strategy against foxglove aphids, one of the first questions we tried answering was “Why doesn’t Aphidius ervi provide good control?” Growers and IPM specialists have previously reported that this aphid parasitoid does not seem to be effective in controlling the relatively “new” aphid pest - foxglove aphid. 
Having trouble controlling foxglove aphids in your greenhouse? You’re not alone.
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