Biological Control in Greenhouses

Gerry Deitzer gd3 at UMAIL.UMD.EDU
Wed Mar 4 14:27:26 EST 1998


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Bill Williams wrote:
> 
> I'd like to get in touch with people who have personal experience with =
> biological control in teaching/research greenhouses.  We have been =
> experiencing serious spider-mite problems that threaten several students' =
> research projects, and after many applications of "bombs," which require =
> evacuation of the greenhouse for 24 h and very likely have at least some =
> effects on plant growth, we still appear to have a mite problem.  I know =
> that many greenhouses use biological control (mostly ladybugs), but I =
> don't know how effective people have found this to be and what the best =
> control agents are for spider mites.  There appear to be some helpful web =
> sites and I'm sure there's literature, but I'd much prefer to talk with =
> people who have actually tried biological control of spider mites.
> 
> Thanks,
> 
> Bill Williams
> St. Mary's College of Maryland


Hi Bill,

Good to hear from you on the plant-ed listserver.

I do not have any personal experience using any of these agents, but I
found some informantion that should prove useful.  The best source is
the Geiger Co. catalog of Horticultural Supplies, which you can order by
phone at 1-800-443-4437 or by Fax at 1-800-432-9434 (I have also
attached the URL for their webpage). The catalog costs $10, but all of
the information is available on their website under IPM.  

They recommend Amblyseius (Neosieulus) fallacis as a very good
all-around predatory mite (except in very hot and dry conditios).  These
are predatory mites that control several pest mite species.  I would
probably recommend this one as well, since you can get a pyrethrin
resistant strain of A. fallacis on bean leaves.  This may be important
in a greenhouse where you may need to spray (or someone else may spray)
another pesticide (especially a fungicide) that will kill the predatory
mites as well.  This is especially true for the use of Benomyl (Benlate)
as a fungicide to which A. fallacis is moderately sensitive (Cornell
Cooperative Extension Bullitin).  

They also recommend Galendromis (Typhlodromis) occidentalis for use in
hot summertime greenhouses.  The problem is that these are much more
expensive ($100 vs. $48) although you get about an order of magnitude
more of these bugs (5,000) on corn grits than the number that you get
(500) on the bean leaves.  However you can get twice the number (10,000)
of non-resistant A. fallacis on vermiculite for $50.  The cheapest and
best known spider mite biocontrol predator is Phytoseiulus persimilis
which you can get for as little as $15.

As I said, I am no expert in this field and have absolutly no
experience, but I hope this helps.

Gerry

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