New resources on greenhouse integrated pest management

New bulletins provide guidelines for greenhouse scouting and information on beneficial insects.

Scouting the greenhouse weekly is a very important component of an integrated pest management program. It allows growers to track the populations of key pests such as western flower thrips, aphids, spider mites and fungus gnats. Tracking these key pests can help growers optimize their management strategies, maximizing impact and minimizing costs. When scouting, growers should be looking for:

  • Cupped, chlorotic, stippled, spotted or malformed foliage.
  • Any discolored or damaged foliage or flowers.
  • Aggregation of insects.
  • Shed skins of aphids.
  • Pockets of less vigorous or dying plants.
  • Anything out of the ordinary.

Do you need more information? Luckily, there are some great resources for growers who are learning to scout their own crops or are looking to brush up on their technique.

Greenhouse growers interested in learning more about scouting should download the new free bulletin, “Integrated Pest Management in Greenhouse Crops.” The bulletin is number E3296 and is available now on the Floriculture Resources Page on the Michigan State University Extension website. The new resource describes the tools growers will need and methodology on how to scout their crop. The bulletin includes guidelines on how to use insect traps (yellow sticky cards), indicator plants and keep records of your pest populations.

Biological control bulletin coverGreenhouse growers using biological control might also be interested in another new factsheet that describes beneficial insects that control western flower thrips, whiteflies, aphids, twospotted spider mites, mealybugs and fungus gnats. Download bulletin E3299, “Commercially Available Biological Control Agents for Common Greenhouse Insect Pests,” now.

Technologically-savvy greenhouse growers may want to try the “Greenhouse Scout” application that is available on the iTunes store for Apple and Android devices for $9.99. It was developed by New York State’s Integrated Pest Management Program. Growers can look up information about pest and beneficial insects, generate QR codes to scan at each sticky card in each bay, and create graphs that track pest population over time.

For more information, contact your MSU Extension floriculture educator.

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