Register now for online biological control for greenhouse growers course

Students will learn fundamental concepts and research-based information in this three-month, self-paced online course. Registration closes Dec. 15, 2023.

Greenhouse plants
Photo by Heidi Lindberg, MSU Extension

Registration for the online English and Spanish Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers Course in Michigan State University Extension’s College of Knowledge is now open. Growers or other interested professionals can register for the national award-winning course “Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers” and “Control Biológico para Cultivadores en Invernaderos" until Dec. 15, 2023.

Course information

MSU Extension and Kansas State University Extension are offering the non-credit, pre-recorded online course on biological control starting Dec. 1. The course material will be available to registrants from December to March 15 2024The course is intended for greenhouse growers and others interested in learning about the fundamental concepts of biological control and the challenges and opportunities associated with a biological control pest management program. The content of the course covers introductory materials to more advanced concepts such as utilizing banker plants. The cost to take the course is $129.

The course includes four hours of pre-recorded lectures divided into six units covering topics on biological control systems. The first two units of the course cover an overview of the challenges and opportunities of biological control, how biological control systems work, factors to consider when developing your program, the methodology of scouting, the commercially available biological control agents sold in the U.S. and provides benchmark release rates and facts useful to those releasing biological control agents in the greenhouse.

Units three and four discuss the four most common banker plant systems and the importance of quality control of all biological control agents. The last two units address the integration of pesticides (including fungicides) with biological control agents and provides registrants with examples of biological control programs implemented by wholesale spring bedding plant growers and greenhouse vegetable growers.

The course is taught on MSU's Desire-2-Learn Course webpage by Heidi Lindberg, MSU Extension greenhouse and nursery extension educator. Raymond Cloyd of Kansas State University Extension co-authored the course and provided supplemental video content. 

Individuals enrolled in this self-paced course will take a pre-test and a final exam to assess their progress on the topics associated with the course. Self-assessment quizzes will engage individuals with the material. The course also provides links to additional resources on pertinent biological control topics. For more information, check out the Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers page.

Qualifies for Plant Health Professional Certificate Program 

In May 2022, Michigan State University Extension and University of Florida IFAS announced a new collaborative certificate program where growers and technical staff in the greenhouse and controlled environment industry can gain a new qualification in plant health management. This brings together two award-winning online training programs offered by UF IFAS and MSU Extension. Abiotic Disorders of Greenhouse Crops is one of six courses that growers can take to qualify for the new plant health certificate program. Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers is the other online course currently open for registration that qualifies towards the certificate program through MSU Extension. Nine people have graduated the certificate program to date.

Available scholarships and incentives

For the 2023-2024 course session, there are three scholarships available for those interested in the course but do not 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 should be awarded this scholarship and how you plan to use the information in your business or professional endeavors. The applicants and winners will be kept confidential. The cost of the course will be reduced to $39.99 for scholarship winners.

Complete the course and be entered to win a $75 gift card (U.S. residents only). Once students have paid for the course, completed the pre-test, final exam and the post-course evaluation, they will be eligible to be in entered into a drawing for a $75 gift card.

Register now for the online courses: Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers or Control Biológico para Cultivadores en Invernaderos.

Growers can register for the other courses using the links below.

Winter Course 2023-2024 Registration is Now Open!

English Courses

Spanish Courses

Abiotic Disorders of Greenhouse Crops

Trastornos abióticos de cultivos de invernadero

Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers

Control Biológico para Cultivadores en Invernaderos

Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting

Iluminación para Horticultura e Invernaderos

Root Zone Management

Manejo de la Zona Radicular

The MSU Extension College of Knowledge is supported by the USDA, Kansas State, MSU Ag BioResearch, Project GREEEN, the Kee Kitayama Research Foundation, Kansas State University, University of Florida, and The Ohio State University.

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