Greenhouse Biocontrol Methods

To achieve effective pest control in the greenhouse and attempt to eliminate the use of pesticides on food crops, biological remedies are used in the greenhouse.

Pests such as whitefly, fungus gnats and aphids are constant nuisances in a greenhouse environment. Starting in February 2010, beneficial predators such as the Delphastus catalinae beetle have been used to consume whitefly, and the Atheta coriaria beetle was used to consume fungus gnats. In addition, beneficial nematodes were released into the soils to consume fungus gnat larvae so that effective control could be achieved without the use of harmful chemicals.

Throughout the year, the Encarsia formosa wasp is released to aid in the fight against the whitefly populations as well as Lady Beetles to combat the Aphid infestation.

Other environmentally friendly means of pest control are obtained by putting cold tolerant crops such as lettuces and greens that have insects on them outdoors on nights that approached freezing temperatures. This practice is not harmful to the plants, but is very effective in controlling the pests that are on them. A leaf vacuum has also been used to help control the insect problem.

Starting in 2012, we will also be experimenting with carnivorous plants to help control the pest populations in the greenhouse. This is just one more example of how the University Farm is engaging in the practice of sustainable agriculture through environmentally friendly means.

Find out more about the use of biocontrols at the farm.

Bio controls

Biocontrols being used at the Debra Ann November Research Greenhouse