Integration of microbial biopesticides in greenhouse floriculture: The Canadian experience

Published:
Mar 7, 2018

Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, In Press, November 28, 2017
The article is available here at a cost.

Abstract: M. Brownbridge and R. Buitenhuis. Historically, greenhouse floriculture has relied on synthetic insecticides to meet its pest control needs. But, growers are increasingly faced with the loss or failure of synthetic chemical pesticides, declining access to new chemistries, stricter environmental/health and safety regulations, and the need to produce plants in a manner that meets the ‘sustainability’ demands of a consumer driven market. In Canada, reports of thrips resistance to spinosad (Success™) within 6–12 months of its registration prompted a radical change in pest management philosophy and approach. Faced with a lack of registered chemical alternatives, growers turned to biological control out of necessity. Biological control now forms the foundation for pest management programs in Canadian floriculture greenhouses. Success in a biocontrol program is rarely achieved through the use of a single agent, though. Rather, it is realized through the concurrent use of biological, cultural and other strategies within an integrated plant production system. Microbial insecticides can play a critical supporting role in biologically-based integrated pest management (IPM) programs. They have unique modes of action and are active against a range of challenging pests. As commercial microbial insecticides have come to market, research to generate efficacy data has assisted their registration in Canada, and the development and adaptation of integrated programs has promoted uptake by floriculture growers. This review documents some of the work done to integrate microbial insecticides into chrysanthemum and poinsettia production systems, outlines current use practices, and identifies opportunities to improve efficacy in Canadian floriculture crops.