4 Beneficial Insects You Need To Know For Greenhouse Aphid Control

Aphids are perennial problems in greenhouses everywhere, but biological control is an increasingly popular tool for greenhouse growers to manage these pests.

Here are some of the most commonly used beneficials for aphids, as well as handling, application and management suggestions to help you maximize the effectiveness of each.

Aphid Beneficials

Aphidius colemani and Aphidius ervi
Pests attacked: Aphidius colemani attacks small aphids such as green peach aphid or melon aphid. This species does not attack larger aphids such as foxglove aphid or potato aphid. Aphidius ervi attacks large aphids such as foxglove aphid or potato aphid. This species is not as effective against the smaller aphid pests as is A. colemani.
Identification: A. colemani is a very small, non-stinging wasp about the size of a fungus gnat with thin, black, thread-waisted body and clear wings. Aphidius ervi looks similar to A. colemani except the wasp is slightly larger.
Biology: The female wasp of both species lays an egg inside an aphid. The egg hatches into a maggot that develops inside the aphid, turning the aphid into a rounded, straw-colored “mummy” before the maggot finishes developing into an adult wasp and chews its way out of the dead aphid. Temperatures above 86°F reduce effectiveness.
How to check for shipment viability: Wasps are shipped as mummies mixed in sawdust or other carrier in bottles. Open the lid and some adults should be obviously active, or will be within a day or so.
How to release into crop: Sprinkle a small amount of mummy/carrier mixture into little containers shaded in the plant canopy and distributed throughout the crop or into aphid hotspots. Avoid drowning the mummies in the containers during overhead watering. Banker plants (barley or rye plants infested with bird cherry-oat aphid) offer a cheaper and more reliable way to maintain an effective level of wasps without repeated releases.

Aphidoletes aphidomyza biting an aphid on the leg.
Aphidoletes aphidomyza biting an aphid on the leg. Photo courtesy of John Sanderson.

Aphidoletes aphidomyza
Pests attacked: A wide range of large and small aphid pests.
Identification: As an adult, A. aphidomyza is a small, midge-like fly roughly the size of a fungus gnat. Eggs are orangish and long with rounded ends, often laid in batches of several eggs. Larvae are bright orange maggots usually found within aphid colonies.
Biology: Adult females do not eat aphids but lay their eggs within patches of aphids. Eggs hatch into orange maggots that eat aphids. The adults are active at sunrise and sunset.
How to check for shipment viability: Aphidoletes are shipped as pupae (cocoons) in vermiculite in container trays or bottles and emerge as adults soon after arrival. A small amount of the mixture can be set aside in a see-through container in the shade and checked in a day or so for adult emergence.
How to release into crop: Place opened trays or bottles in shaded areas beneath aphid infestations. Do not scatter the mixture. Keep the mixture dry. Release rates are available from the suppliers.

Chrysoperla carnea (Green Lacewing)
Pests Attacked: Green Lacewing attacks a wide variety of insects and mites, although it is usually used against aphids. Larvae are cannibalistic.
Identification: Adults are lime green with golden eyes and large, net-like wings. Larvae are long, thin and variable brownish-greyish in color, with large, sickle-shaped mandibles.
Biology: The female lays eggs on long stalks. Larvae hatch and crawl down the stalk to search for prey. They pupate in fuzzy whitish balls. Lacewings usually do not cycle in a greenhouse setting. Larvae are predaceous but adults are not.
How to check for shipment viability: If releasing eggs, hold some back from a shipment to watch for hatch. For shipments of larvae, sprinkle a small amount of carrier onto paper and look for moving larvae.
How to release into crop: Release into aphid hotspots. If releasing larvae shipped in corrugated cardboard cells, pull back some of the fine gauze that covers the cells and tap out the desired number of larvae onto foliage. For larvae shipped in buckwheat hulls, sprinkle onto foliage. If releasing eggs, wet foliage to aid in eggs adhering to leaves, then broadcast eggs.

Biocontrols-web-graphic-34_1

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

More From Crop Inputs...
Aphids On Older Leaves

July 25, 2016

How You Can Stop Aphids By Understanding Their Interactions With Plants

Knowing which aphids target which crops and how aphids colonize and move on plants goes a long way toward setting up an effective management plan.

Read More
Eretmocerus eremicus adult, Parasitic Wasp

July 2, 2016

Beneficial Predators Can Help Control Whiteflies On Poinsettia

Whitefly infestations are a reccuring problem that often plagues poinsettia growers. Successfully keep them in check by letting beneficial predators take the work out of pest control.

Read More
Greenhouse Whitefly

June 26, 2016

Michigan State University Offers Tips On Whitefly Management

Whiteflies are making headlines in Florida, but they are found across the U.S. Michigan State experts say it’s important to know how to manage each type of whitefly.

Read More
Latest Stories
Aphids On Older Leaves

July 25, 2016

How You Can Stop Aphids By Understanding Their Interact…

Knowing which aphids target which crops and how aphids colonize and move on plants goes a long way toward setting up an effective management plan.

Read More
BASF Orkestra Intrinsic

June 21, 2016

New Mode Of Action From BASF Offers Deeper Disease Cont…

When it comes to disease control, you need all the help you can get. BASF recently hosted growers, Extension personnel, and trade media to present its newest fungicide with two active ingredients, offering dual modes of action.

Read More
Nematodes-feature

June 4, 2016

New Biocontrols Provide Effective Pest Control In Green…

Biological chemistry manufacturers have introduced several new products recently that offer a range of insect and disease management options. Here’s a look at some of them.

Read More
Whitefly

June 2, 2016

Breaking News: Florida Growers Reporting Major Whitefly…

Reports have come from the Florida Keys to Palm Beach County that whitefly populations in landscapes are reaching unprecedented levels and are not responding to pesticide applications. Biotype-Q has been found in four different communities. University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Science researchers are working with USDA-APHIS, USDA-ARS, the Florida Department of Agriculture, and growers and landscape professionals to manage the developing problem.

Read More
Triathlon BA container shot

May 24, 2016

OHP’s Triathlon Biofungicide Now Listed By The Organic …

Triathlon BA is a broad-spectrum preventative biofungicide that provides control of many foliar and soilborne diseases in ornamentals and herbs.

Read More
Two-spotted spider mites, adults and eggs

May 11, 2016

SePRO Launches Summer Insecticide Management Program Fo…

The program is designed to help growers use SePRO’s insect management tools to prevent plant damage from a variety of pests.

Read More
Small Aphid Colony on Calibrachoa

May 2, 2016

How To Stop Aphids In The Greenhouse

When untreated, aphids damage ornamental crops and act as vectors for disease. Integrated Pest Management combined with vigilant scouting can help you stay ahead of the problem.

Read More
Cicada (Greg Hoover, Penn State)

April 26, 2016

Cicadas Set To Emerge In Several Eastern States This Sp…

While there’s no immediate cause for alarm, experts say the cicada’s egg-laying process can damage woody ornamentals and make them vulnerable to diseases.

Read More
Parisitic Wasp Aphidius colemani

April 25, 2016

Plant Growth Regulator Use Can Affect Biological Pest C…

The use of plant growth regulators may negatively influence the outcome of biological control programs, according to researchers at North Carolina State University.

Read More
Beneficial Insectary Orius insidiosus

April 22, 2016

Beneficial Insectary Increasing Production Of Three Bio…

The company is now producing Orius insidiosus, Dalotia coriaria, and Dicyphus hesperus at its California facility, reducing the transit time of perishable biocontrols between producer and grower.

Read More

April 21, 2016

Michigan State University Offers Tips On Greenhouse Soi…

Improper pH and higher than adequate nutrient levels are among the many reasons for regular soil testing.

Read More
Parasitized aphid mummies, ladybird beetle larvae

April 18, 2016

4 Things You Need To Know About Implementing Biological…

Biocontrols are useful alternatives to traditional pesticides that provide effective pest control in the greenhouse. Here are four ways to get started successfully.

Read More
John Wendorf Bayer Ornamentals

April 14, 2016

Bayer’s New Ornamentals Business Manager Aims To Help G…

John Wendorf, who previously managed BFG Supply’s grower division, says when Bayer launches into the ornamentals market this November, growers will have access to a wealth of resources, including a dedicated team focused on ornamentals growers.

Read More
Emerald Ash Borer

March 22, 2016

Canada Implements New Voluntary Biosecurity Standard Fo…

The voluntary standard is designed to protect the greenhouse, nursery, and floriculture industries from invasive plant pests.

Read More

March 22, 2016

EPA Approves Syngenta’s Mainspring GNL Insecticide For …

Featuring the active ingredient cyantraniliprole, Mainspring GNL provides broad-spectrum control of key pests, such as thrips, whiteflies, aphids, caterpillars, leafminers, and leaf-feeding beetles.

Read More
Black Root Rot on Vinca

March 15, 2016

How To Identify Different Root Rots In The Greenhouse

Root rots can cause similar symptoms on hosts. Here are some tips for scouting in your greenhouse.

Read More
One symptom of Botrytis blight is gray, fuzzy sporulation on foliage and flowers, similar to that shown on the flower of this hibiscus

March 11, 2016

Manage Botrytis With These Cultural And Fungicide Contr…

High relative humidity and low temperatures in the greenhouse open the way for Botrytis to develop on plants. A mix of cultural and fungicide control options will help you manage this common disease effectively.

Read More
Biocontrols and beneficials absolutely can be used in outdoor production, with the use of banker plant systems

March 8, 2016

France-Based InVivo Acquiring Bioline, Syngenta’s Bioco…

Bioline, a subsidiary of Syngenta, specializes in the production and marketing of biological control agents, and in particular macroorganisms active against insect pests in fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]