Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers

Date: June 1, 2017 - August 31, 2017
Location: Webinar
Contact: Heidi Wollaeger,, 616-994-4701

Michigan State University Extension and Kansas State University Extension are now offering a summer 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 Lindberg, Greenhouse and Nursery Extension Educator, with Michigan State University Extension and Dr. Raymond Cloyd (Kansas State University Extension) who 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 April 25, 2017.  Individuals enrolled in the summer session will have access to the course materials from June 1 through Aug. 31, 2017. The next winter session opens for enrollment on Oct 1, 2017, and the course material will be available to registrants from Nov. 1, 2017 through Jan. 31, 2018.

Cost: $129* per individual
*The individuals who have paid for the course, complete the pre-test, final exam, and the post-course evaluation, will be entered into a raffle for one of three $100 gift cards! 

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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