College of Knowledge: 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.
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.
Preview: View a preview of the course here.
Cost: The cost is $129 per person.
Course offerings: This course is offered once a year in the winter months
- Winter course:
- Registration period: November
- Course available to students: December-February
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 drawing for one of three $75 gift cards! (US Residents only)
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 is currently closed.
If you have any technical problems, please contact the Michigan State University IT Service Desk from 7am-12am Monday through Friday and 10am-12am on Saturday/Sunday, any day that the University is open.
- Phone: (517) 432-6200
- Phone (toll free): 1 (844) 678-6200
Frequently Asked Questions
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).
What URL do I go to for logging into the course?
Go to: https://d2l.msu.edu/. You will see the Michigan State University at the top of the page. Login with the email address and password you set during the registration process.
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.
I forgot my password – where can I reset it?
If you need to reset your password at any time go to https://auth.msu.edu/ and select the option for "Need help Signing in.