Register now for biological control for greenhouse growers summer course

Students have the opportunity to learn fundamental concepts and research-based information in this three-month, self-paced online course. Registration closes May 31, 2017.

This course covers the challenges, opportunities, examples and costs of a biological control pest management program. This example shows the predatory mites, their release dates and total direct costs for a thrips biocontrol program.

This course covers the challenges, opportunities, examples and costs of a biological control pest management program. This example shows the predatory mites, their release dates and total direct costs for a thrips biocontrol program.

Registration for the summer session of the Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers Course in Michigan State University Extension’s College of Knowledge is now open. Growers or other interested professionals can sign up until May 31, 2017, and will have from June 1 through Aug. 31, 2017, to complete the course. Sign up now!  

There are currently three online modules of the Floriculture College of Knowledge. A total of 133 people have taken the Biological Control of Greenhouse Growers course from nine countries, including 24 U.S. states and 12 counties of Michigan. In the most recent session, which ended January 2017, 81 percent of respondents intended to make a change in their pest management practices as a result of the course.

Course information

MSU Extension and Kansas State University Extension are now offering a summer term of the new non-credit, pre-recorded online course on biological control. 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 cost to take the course is $129.

The course includes four hours of pre-recorded lectures divided into six units on topics on biological control systems. The first two units of the course cover an overview of the challenges and opportunities of biological control, how biological control systems work, factors to consider when developing your program, the methodology of scouting, the commercially available biological control agents sold in the U.S. and provides benchmark release rates and facts useful to those releasing biological control agents in the greenhouse.

Units three and four discuss the four most common banker plant systems and the importance of quality control of all biological control agents. The last two units address the integration of pesticides (including fungicides) with biological control agents and provides registrants with examples of biological control programs implemented by wholesale spring bedding plant growers and greenhouse vegetable growers.

The course is taught on the eXtension campus by Heidi Wollaeger, greenhouse and nursery extension educator with MSU Extension. Raymond Cloyd of 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. For more information, check out the Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers flier. To watch the teaser for the course and to see what other online courses MSU Extension offers, visit the MSU Floriculture website.

Available scholarships and incentives

For the summer 2017 session, there are four scholarships available for those interested in the course but do not have the financial means to take it. Greenhouse growers interested in the scholarship will be able to apply for it upon registering by writing a short paragraph about why you should be awarded this scholarship and how you plan to use the information in your business or professional endeavors. The applicants and winners will be kept confidential. The cost of the course will be reduced to $39.99 for scholarship winners.

Complete the course and be entered to win one of three $75 gift cards (U.S. residents only). Once students have paid for the course, completed the pre-test, final exam and the post-course evaluation, they will be eligible to be in entered into a raffle for one of three $75 gift cards.

Register now for the Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers online course!

Growers should also consider registering for the two other College of Knowledge courses:

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