Implementation of Biocontrol in an Educational Greenhouse
Consumers, retailers, and growers of bedding plants (spring flowers and vegetable starts) are concerned about the use of neonicotinoid pesticides and their impact on pollinator health. In some locations consumers demand that greenhouse growers stop the use of certain pesticides. This demand has reached greenhouse growers and spurred interest in the use of biocontrol in New York’s Capital Region. The goal of this implementation project was to provide an understanding of the challenges and benefits of using biocontrol in greenhouse production to the major players in the bedding plant industry: consumers, growers, and educators. Specifically, I hoped to improve retailer and grower biocontrol communication to consumers, give consumers knowledge of biocontrol, and increase grower confidence applying biocontrol products. Biocontrol demonstration was implemented at the Schenectady County Horticulture Education Center (SCHEC) where educational workshops were held to explain what the biocontrol agents are, the packaging they arrive in, understand the complexity of biocontrol systems, and ask questions. Demonstrations focused on the biocontrol of western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis), fungus gnats (Mycetophilidae sp. and Sciaridae sp.), and green peach aphids (Myzus persicae). Biocontrol of whitefly (Aleyrodidae sp.), mealy bug (Pseudococcidae sp.), and cabbage worm (Pieridae sp.) were also discussed.
NYS IPM Type: Project Report
New York State Integrated Pest Management Program
Agricultural IPM; Communication; Ornamentals; Greenhouse; Biocontrol