Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers

Date: October 14, 2016 - January 13, 2017
Location: Online Course
Contact: Heidi Wollaeger,, 269-384-8010

Michigan State University Extension and Kansas State University Extension are now offering a fall term of the non-credit pre-recorded online course on biological control. It is the third course in the College of Knowledge Online series offered on the eXtension campus, the national Extension website. The 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 4-hours of pre-recorded lecture and video demonstrations are divided into six units:

  • Unit 1: Introduction to Greenhouse Biological Control
  • Unit 2: Commercially Available Biological Control Agents  
  • Unit 3: Using Banker Plants in Biological Control Programs
  • Unit 4: Implementing a Biological Control Program       
  • Unit 5: Interactions of Pesticides and Biological Control Programs
  • Unit 6: Greenhouse Examples of Biological Control Systems: Application Strategy and Costs

The first unit is an overview of the challenges and opportunities of biological control, how biological control systems work, factors to consider when developing your program, and the importance and methodology of scouting in the greenhouse. The second unit of the course covers the commercially available biological control agents sold in the United States and provides benchmark release rates and facts useful to those releasing biological control agents in the greenhouse. Unit three discusses the four most common banker plant systems for green peach and melon aphids, greenhouse whitefly, and western flower thrips. The fourth unit covers important issues, such as, quality control of biological control agents. Unit five addresses integrating pesticides (including fungicides) with biological control agents. Unit 6 presents examples of biological control programs implemented by growers for wholesale spring bedding plants and greenhouse vegetable operations.

The course is taught on the eXtension campus by Heidi Wollaeger, Greenhouse and Nursery Extension Educator, with Michigan State University Extension. Dr. Raymond Cloyd (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. 

Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers is available through

Course offerings: This non-credit course is offered twice a year (summer and fall).The next enrollment period will begin on Sept. 14, 2016.  Individuals enrolled in the fall session will have access to the course materials from Oct. 14, 2016 through Jan. 13, 2017. The summer session opens for enrollment on May 1, 2017 and the course material will be available to registrants from June 1, 2017 to Aug. 31, 2017.

Cost: $129* per individual
*Once individuals have paid for the course, completed the pre-test, final exam, and the post-course evaluation, they will be eligible for a $20 refund. The individuals must complete all course work by January 31 and emailed the instructor, Heidi Wollaeger ( by January 31 to receive the refund. If all conditions are met, the cost of the course is $109.

Cancellation policy:
 Due to the online nature of this course, individuals wishing to cancel their registration are subject to a $129 fee.



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