student studying in the greenhouse


Integrated pest management (IPM) is a holistic approach to managing diseases, insects, and mites in the greenhouse, and is basically using one type of living agent to suppress another. IPM requires multiple tactics; sanitation, survey and detection, biological control, trap cropping and chemical control. IPM can decrease pesticide exposure of workers and the environment, and can decrease pest control costs while still maintaining high-quality, pest-free plants for growers and researchers.


Biological controls used in the greenhouse:

  •         Amblyseius cucumeris
  •         Encarsia formosa
  •         Cryptolaemus montrouzieri


Bio-control agent: Amblyseius cucumeris, Predatory Mite
Pest controlled:  Frankliniella occidentalis, Western Flower Thrips

Amblyseius cucumeris devouring a thrips

Amblyseius cucumeris devouring a thrips.

the thrips by itself.

The thrips by itself.

These predatory mites are used to help us control thrips populations in the greenhouse.  They arrive in a container mixed with bran, a carrier that helps us to sprinkle out controlled amounts of these tiny predators.
Late in the day when the sun is low in the sky, we release Amblyseius cucumeris by walking through the greenhouse, pouring out the mites onto various thrips-infested plants. A. cucumeris is better at attacking thrips on leaves than in the flowers where they like to feed.  Once released, the mites procede to scurry around the leaf surfaces, eating as many of the 1st instar thrips as they can find. The later developmental stages are too large for these mites to eat.  Eventually, adults lay eggs among thrips which hatch into nymphs.  These nymphs consume many immature thrips during their development into adult mites. A. cucumeris will continue to reproduce and control thrips populations as long as there is an alternative food source, like pollen, available when thrips polulations are low.


Bio-control agent: Encarsia formosa, a Greenhouse Whitefly parasitoid wasp
Pest controlled:Trialeurodes vaporariorum, Greenhouse Whitefly

Out of the little black parasitized whiteflies stuck to this paper will hatch adult Encarsia formosa

Out of the little black parasitized whiteflies stuck to this paper will hatch adult Encarsia formosa.

Greenhouse whitefly adult, up-close.

Greenhouse whitefly adult, up-close.

Encarsia formosa is a wasp that we release in our greenhouse to control whiteflies.They arrive as wasp pupae inside of parasitized whitefly pupae that are stuck to these cards.The adults hatch out once we hang these cards on plants that have whitefly problems. When the adult wasps emerge, they seek out the 2nd through 4th immature whitefly stages to parasitize.Each female wasp can parasitze up to 200 immature whiteflies.This parasitic wasp kills many whiteflies in our greenhouse and helps us to keep the pest population under control.


Bio-control agent: Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, the Mealybug destroyer.
Pest controlled:  Pseudococcus longispinus, Long-tailed Mealybug

 Mealybugs make this waxy mess on the underside of leaves, and weaken plants.

Photo:  Mealybugs make this waxy mess on the underside of leaves, and weaken plants.

Cryptolaemus montrouzieri are ladybug beetles that are mostly black in color with dull orange head and thorax. The adult beetles will dine on mealybugs, preferably young ones, as well as other greenhouse pests. Then they lay their eggs in the cottony-white egg masses of mealybugs. The young hatch out and feed on young mealybugs and eggs while they grow. The immature "crypts" look a lot like mealybugs themselves, so scout carefully after releasing this predator in your greenhouse.


Some of the tools we use in managing insect populations

Yellow sticky cards attract and capture the winged, adult forms of greenhouse pests.

 Yellow sticky cards clipped to the plants,attract and capture the winged, adult forms of greenhouse pests.

We carefully record what we find stuck to the cards on these forms, and use these forms when planning our pest management strategies...

Forms for recording the numbers of insects attached to the sticky cards.

Information regarding pesticide use in UVM greenhouse facilities. 

plant leaves

Information for Researchers:

If you are interested in utilizing the Greenhouse for your research please contact either or