National and international experts in biological control featured at 2023 Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo

Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, Sarah Jandricic and Steven Arthurs to teach seminars and workshop in greenhouse biocontrol.

Decorative image.
Sarah Jandricic (left), Suzanne "Bug Lady" Wainwright-Evans and Steven Arthurs (right) will be sharing their knowledge and insight at the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo in December.

When it comes to producing high-quality plants, insect pests and diseases can be a difficult challenge to overcome. This is especially true as growers try to satisfy consumer interest in products such as edible ornamentals, potted herbs and pollinator-friendly plants. Although the intent is certainly commendable, the practice of keeping pests at bay using only pollinator-friendly products becomes a fairly onerous proposition once the insects start to develop resistance.

Because new chemicals are registered at a lower rate for specialty crops and resistance to available pesticides increases naturally over time, greenhouse growers are showing an increasing interest in biological control as a sustainable and effective way to manage their pests. It has become an increasingly attractive option in floriculture production because it is highly effective and directly addresses consumer demands for environmentally responsible plant production as well as the escalating challenges of insecticide resistance.

With this in mind, the Michigan State University Extension floriculture team is proud to present an outstanding lineup of national and international experts in biological control on Dec. 6 and 7 at the 2023 Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo. On Wednesday, Dec. 6, guest instructors Sarah Jandricic from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture (OMAFRA) and "The Bug Lady" Suzanne Wainwright-Evans will each lead a 1-hour educational session on biologically-based greenhouse pest management.

On Thursday, Dec. 7, Jandricic and Wainwright-Evans will be joined by Steven Arthurs from BioBee USA to co-teach a special one-day hands-on workshop focused on greenhouse biological control and pest management in spring floriculture crops. This workshop is designed to serve as an excellent introductory experience for beginners and a great way for advanced practitioners to brush up on industry best practices. If you've been waiting for an opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business, this is your chance.

Program highlights

A Systems Approach to Greenhouse Biological Control

Sarah Jandricic – Ontario Ministry of Agriculture

Wednesday, Dec. 6, 9-10 a.m.

Sarah Jandricic holding flowers in a greenhouse.
Sarah Jandricic is the greenhouse floriculture IPM specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.

Sarah Jandricic will take you on an in-depth walk through of thrips management, from propagation through finishing, using mums as a model crop. The “systems approach” includes choosing the right biocontrol agent for the job, but also environmental and plant considerations. Growers in Canada have successfully been using this strategy to control western flower thrips for almost two decades without the need for chemical pesticides.

Speaker bio: Sarah Jandricic has over 20 years of experience in greenhouse integrated pest management (IPM) and has studied and worked up and down the east coast of North America. She has been the greenhouse floriculture IPM specialist for the Province of Ontario since 2014. In this role, she helps guide and conduct the latest research on pest issues facing the industry. She also runs the popular blog and GrowON webinar series which bring the latest IPM information to floriculture growers in Ontario and beyond.

Jandricic’s education session is graciously supported by BioBee USA. For more information on their products and services, visit their website or contact Steven Arthurs, technical sales specialist.

A Deeper Discussion on Beneficials

Suzanne Wainwright-Evans – Buglady Consulting

Wednesday, Dec. 6, 10-11 a.m.

Suzanne Wainwright-Evans looking closely at a leaf.
Suzanne Wainwright-Evans is the founder and owner of Buglady Consulting.

People turn to the internet for information, but not all the information you need can be found there. This talk will take a deeper dive into the most common beneficial insects and predatory mites that growers rely on for pest management. Drawing upon decades of knowledge working with beneficials, Suzanne Wainwright-Evans will share valuable insights and firsthand knowledge during the presentation.

Speaker bio: Suzanne Wainwright-Evans is a horticultural entomologist with over 30 years of experience in the green industry, primarily focusing on IPM, biological control and responsible pesticide use. She holds degrees in entomology and environmental horticulture from the University of Florida. Wainwright-Evans has provided consulting services to a wide range of clients, including greenhouses, nurseries, landscapers, cannabis producers and interiorscape companies, both in the United States and internationally.

In addition to her consulting work, Wainwright-Evans has contributed articles to trade magazines and scientific journals. She is an accomplished educator, delivering workshops and professional lectures to industry groups. Her teaching approach combines scientific knowledge with practical insights, enriched by her extensive collection of insect photos and macro insect movies. Wainwright-Evans is the founder and owner of Buglady Consulting, a business that has been serving clients for nearly 25 years.

Wainwright-Evans’ educational session is sponsored by Bioline AgroSciences. For more information on their products and services, visit their website or contact Daryl Johnson, national sales manager for the United States.

Greenhouse Biological Control Essentials: Setting Yourself up for Success

Suzanne Wainright-Evans, Sarah Jandricic and Steven Arthurs

Thursday, Dec. 7, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Steven Arthurs next to a plant.
Steven Arthurs is an entomologist and technical sales specialist with BioBee USA.

Successful pest management is an essential component of growing high-quality crops in protected environments. We are pleased to offer a one-day workshop aimed at providing beginning and advanced practitioners with the knowledge they need to develop and refine a greenhouse biological control program. This workshop places special emphasis on controlling pests in spring floriculture crops and features three guest experts in biological control: Suzanne Wainwright-Evans (Buglady Consulting), Sarah Jandricic (OMAFRA) and Steven Arthurs (BioBee USA). The morning classroom session will cover best cultural practices and key pest identification as well as some tips on taking photographs for easier pest identification.

After the classroom sessions and lunch (included), we’ll travel to one of Michigan's premier perennial producers, Walters Gardens, for an afternoon of live demonstrations and discussion on essential cultural practices and application techniques. Afternoon demonstrations include cutting dips, post-delivery handling and quality checks, crop scouting and releasing beneficial organisms. Participants will be able to ask questions of our experts throughout the day, so don't miss out.

Speaker bio: Steve Arthurs is an entomologist with 20-plus years’ academic and industry experience in pest management and plant protection. He got his MS and PhD in pest management from the University of London before relocating to the U.S. He currently works as a technical sales specialist for BioBee USA, a global producer and supplier of beneficial insects, mites and nematodes. Arthurs’ current work focuses on promoting and expanding the use of beneficials in horticultural and agricultural crops.

We are deeply appreciative of our day sponsors for their generous support: Plant Products (contact: Carly Sholtz), Koppert (contact: Chris Anzell) and Biobest (contact: Veronica Cervantes).

The 2023 Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo, in partnership with the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo, will be held Dec. 5-7 at the Devos Place Conference Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Visit the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo website for the full session schedule.

Online registration is now open! Early birds can save $20 by registering before Nov. 15. Attendees and exhibitors can find registration, lodging and trade show information at the Great Lakes Expo website.

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