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Greenhouse Growers Battle a Deadly Duo

Greenhouses are the perfect environment for insect pests: lots of food and ideal temperatures. Many growers now face epidemics of thrips–tiny insects that disfigure plants and transmit Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus, a deadly and untreatable plant disease. And like so many other insects, thrips can quickly develop resistance to insecticides.

But insect pests don’t develop resistance to a predator. So IPM educators are working with greenhouse owners to test Neoseiulus cucumeris, a predacious mite that thrives on thrips. The results? Good control–and no worry over health hazards or environmental contamination.

"We used to do the ‘spray and pray’ routine every week. But chemicals are expensive. Spraying is no fun. Besides, I live here. It’s a no-brainer–we should use predators whenever we can."

–Deborah Sweeten, Techni-Growers Greenhouse