Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers


This 4-hour class consists of pre-recorded lectures and video demonstrations and is intended for greenhouse and ornamental plant growers and others interested in learning about the fundamental concepts of insect biological control methods. It provides introductory content to those growers new to biological control and also introduces more advanced methods, including banker plants.

The course is instructed Michigan State University’s online course learning management system, Desire 2 Learn by Heidi Lindberg, Greenhouse and Nursery Extension Educator with MSU Extension. Dr. Raymond Cloyd (Kansas State University Extension) co-authored the content. Participants enrolled in this self-paced course will take a pre-test and a final exam to gauge their learning of the topics. Self-assessment quizzes will engage students with the material throughout the course. The course also provides links to additional resources on pertinent biological control topics.

Course Content

The 4-hours of pre-recorded lecture and video demonstrations are divided into six units:

  • Unit 1: Introduction to Greenhouse Biological Control
  • Unit 2: Commercially Available Biological Control Agents
  • Unit 3: Using Banker Plants in Biological Control Programs
  • Unit 4: Implementing a Biological Control Program
  • Unit 5: Interactions of Pesticides and Biological Control Programs
  • Unit 6: Greenhouse Examples of Biological Control Systems: Application Strategy and Costs

The first unit is an overview of the challenges and opportunities of biological control, how biological control systems work, factors to consider when developing your program, and the importance and methodology of scouting in the greenhouse. The second unit of the course covers the commercially available biological control agents sold in the United States and provides benchmark release rates and facts useful to those releasing biological control agents in the greenhouse. Unit three discusses the four most common banker plant systems for green peach and melon aphids, greenhouse whitefly, and western flower thrips. The fourth unit covers important issues, such as, quality control of biological control agents. Unit five addresses integrating pesticides (including fungicides) with biological control agents. Unit 6 presents examples of biological control programs implemented by growers for wholesale spring bedding plants and greenhouse vegetable operations.

PreviewView a preview of the course here.

Cost: The cost is $129 per person.

Course offerings: This course is offered twice a year (summer and winter).

  • Summer course:
    • Registration period: May
    • Course available to students: June-August
  • Winter course:
    • Registration period: November
    • Course available to students: December-February

Click here to take this course in Spanish.

Win a $75 gift card: Individuals who paid for the course and completed the pre-test, final exam, and post-course evaluation will be entered into a raffle for one of three $75 gift cards!

Financial Need Scholarships: There are three scholarships available for those that are interested in the course but do not currently have the financial means to take it. Greenhouse growers interested in the scholarship will be able to apply for it upon registering by writing a short paragraph about why you feel you should be awarded this scholarship and how you plan to use the information you learn in your business or professional endeavors. The applicants and winners will be kept confidential. The cost of the course will be $39.99 for scholarship winners. Scholarship winners will be notified after the enrollment period has passed.


Registration Instructions:

  • Non-MSU Staff/Students: Follow the instructions below to register for this course if you are not a Michigan State University staff member or student:
  1. Create your MSU Community ID and Password: Community ID Instructions: Create Your AccountWatch a video on how to create your Community ID. 
  2. Login to the registration system with your Community ID and Password: Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers
  3. Follow the instructions to register and pay for the course. Upon registration you will receive a receipt and instructions for accessing the course.


To Access Your Online Course:

After you have successfully registered for the course:

  1. Go to
  2. In the NetID field
    1. Non-MSU Staff: Enter your Community ID (your email address).
    2. MSU Staff: Enter your MSU NetID.
  3. Enter your password.
  4. You will be logged into D2L. Click on the Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers course title to get started.

If you have any technical problems please call the Michigan State University Help Desk. They are available 24/7 at or 1-800-500-1554.


FAQ on Signing Up and Accessing Your Course

  1. What is my username/NETID?

Your username (or NET ID) is the email address you used to create your account during registration (you use the same email address/password for         registering and for taking the course).

  1. What URL do I go to for logging into the course?

Go to: will see the Michigan State University at the top of the page.

  1. I received a “not authenticated” response when trying to login – what do I do?

A “not authenticated” message is typically an issue with a password not being entered correctly. To reset your password at any time go to: and select the option for Forgot Password. You will receive an email from a sender called “Community ID” with a link to reset your password.

  1. I forgot my password – where can I reset it?

To reset your password at any time go to: and select the option for Forgot Password. You will receive an email from a sender called “Community ID” with a link to reset your password. 

  1. Who can I call for technical support?

The Michigan State University Help Desk. They are available 24/7 at or 1-800-500-1554. Tell them you are logging into an MSU Extension online course with an MSU Community ID.


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