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Spotlight on Pest Threats in IOBC 2017 Niagara Conference

Leading International Specialists Expected at Niagara Conference.

January 17, 2017  By Graeme Murphy

February 2017 – A major conference on the use of biological control in greenhouses is coming to Niagara in June.

The International Organization of Biological Control (IOBC) is a global organization of biological control workers that promotes environmentally safe methods of pest and disease control. It is comprised of a number of regional sections and within those regional sections there are various working groups that focus on specific uses of biocontrol. Despite the formidable sounding name, the Western Palaearctic Regional Section (WPRS) is simply that area of the world that includes 24 western European, Mediterranean and Middle East countries. One of the most active working groups within the WPRS is the Greenhouse IPM working group, “Integrated Control in Protected Crops, Temperate Climate.”

This working group meets every three years with usually 100-120 participants made up of biocontrol researchers, industry representatives (e.g. biocontrol producers) and greenhouse growers. It provides an opportunity for updates and new information on subjects such as the latest research, status of IPM in different countries, and new biocontrol products.


Although organized by the WPRS, there is always a strong contingent of attendees from other parts of the world including North America (the Nearctic Regional Section or NRS).

Each meeting is usually hosted by a different country within the WPRS. However, twice in the last 25 years (California in 1993 and British Columbia in 2002), it has been hosted in North America.

At the last conference in Belgium in 2014, it was decided to hold the next meeting outside Europe once more, with the 2017 meeting being awarded to Canada. Canadian delegates chose Ontario as the appropriate location. This is a real honour for Canada and Ontario, and provides us with a unique opportunity to showcase the status of IPM in our greenhouse industries and the expansive research and extension programs which have been so important in advancing the use of biological control.

An international meeting like this obviously takes considerable time and resources to plan and organize. A local organizing committee comprised of research and industry personnel, has been actively planning this meeting (with administrative support from our European colleagues) since late 2014. The meeting will be held in Niagara Falls, Ontario, from June 4-8.

Activities will include three to four days of scientific discussion and presentations, bus tours of greenhouses highlighting the use of biological control, and a social program that will provide opportunities for further networking and information exchange among delegates.

Of particular note for local growers is a half-day session in the program (afternoon of Wednesday, June 7) focusing on the practical implementation of biological control in greenhouses. There is a special registration page for growers on the conference website and the registration fee will be $25 per person (which includes lunch).

The benefits for growers include the opportunity to hear presentations on the practical use of biocontrol from international speakers, and to network with attendees over lunch and coffee during the afternoon. For more information, visit the conference website at

Graeme Murphy, retired OMAFRA greenhouse floriculture IPM specialist and now an industry consultant, prepared this report for the organizing committee.

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