Ornamental Horticulture (Sep 2021)

Biocontrol in practice in Canadian floricultural greenhouses

  • Poonam Singh,
  • Tiffany Nykolyshyn

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 27, no. 4
pp. 544 – 555


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The environment inside Canadian prairie greenhouses differs from greenhouses built in other northern latitude locations in terms of lighting, temperature, humidity, and photoperiod. Since the performance of biocontrol agents depends upon several interactive environmental variables, their effectiveness to control pests in a particular crop growing under certain climatic conditions does not directly translate to another crop or location. So, we analyzed research trials assessing the efficacy and compatibility of various biocontrol agents (Amblyseius cucumeris, Amblyseius cucumeris, Phytoseiulus persimilis, Encarsia formosa, Aphidius colemani, Aphidius ervi, and Steinernema feltiae) on key pests (Western flower thrips, two-spotted spider mites, greenhouse whiteflies, and aphids) of spring bedding plants grown in a commercial floricultural greenhouse. Were analyzed several compatible combinations of biocontrol agents and observed a significant reduction in pest densities and plant damage symptoms as compared to untreated control plants. The results demonstrate that P. persimilis controlled two-spotted spider mites successfully in calibrachoa crop. The combination of Amblyseius cucumeris and S. feltiae resulted in significantly better control of Western flower thrips than the use of Amblyseius cucumeris alone in sweet potato vine plants. The application of E. formosa and Amblyseius cucumeris individually reduced greenhouse whiteflies on calibrachoa plants as compared to control, but their combination performed better resulting in a significantly lower number of whiteflies on plants. Another combination of Aphidius colemani and Aphidius ervi controlled green peach aphids and foxglove aphids effectively on the pansy crop. The biocontrol agents were effective for managing a variety of pests in a commercial greenhouse setting.