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...
Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Arizona Apricot'

February 25, 2015

National Garden Bureau Designates 2015 As Year Of The Gaillardia

Gaillardia, also known as the blanket flower, is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and a long-blooming pollinator plant. It is fitting that the National Garden Bureau has specified 2015 as The Year of the Gaillardia.

Read More
IPPS Sharing Plant Production Knowledge Globally Logo

February 25, 2015

International Plant Propagators Western Region Sets Annual Meeting Date

The annual meet for the International Plant Propagators' Society (IPPS) Western Region has been set for this September. It will take place September 23 to 26 in Modesto, Calif., and will include learning sessions, tours to local nurseries, a research poster display and poster presentations, various networking opportunities and an awards banquet to close the event.

Read More
Evolvulus Blue My Mind

February 24, 2015

Blue Ribbon Bloomers For Greenhouse Production

Grow what consumers want! Surveys show that blue is one of the top preferred colors of today’s consumers. Here are twelve top recommended blue-flowering Proven Winners annuals and perennials to suit your spring production cycle.

Read More
Latest Stories

February 17, 2015

A New Look At Biological Control: Can Plants Affect The…

The success of a biological control program depends on a number of factors including quality of natural enemies, timing of release, release rates and environmental conditions. However, what is typically not taken into consideration is how plants can affect the performance of natural enemies, including attack rate and searching ability. Biological control agents work hard to protect plants, but plants have ways to help themselves, too.

Read More

February 1, 2015

New Pest Control Products For Your Toolbox

Add one of these new insecticides to your IPM program for successful pest control.

Read More
IR-4_profile_Feb2015

January 29, 2015

IR-4: A Pest Management Resource For Growers

Almost 40 years ago, IR-4 (Interregional Research Project Number 4) began serving the ornamental horticulture industry, helping to facilitate the registration of pest management tools. IR-4 does this primarily by surveying growers about their pest management issues and then hosting workshops to review survey results and set priorities for the coming years. Most recently, IR-4 coordinated a meeting of researchers and industry members on pollinator health and neonicotinoid chemistries to start a discussion on the needed research. The next step will be to get the outcomes from that workshop out to the public.

Read More

January 28, 2015

Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow: Peace Tree…

Lloyd Traven, a speaker at the upcoming Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow, was one of the industry’s early adopters of biocontrols in the greenhouse. Traven, owner of Peace Tree Farm, is evangelical about the technology as an effective tool for resistance management, as well as improved plant quality that contributes to a grower’s bottom line.

Read More

January 27, 2015

Southwest Perennials Improves Production, Shortens Crop…

A father-and-son team find LEDs deliver a higher rooting rate for cuttings propagated under the lights.

Read More
Wainwright-web-620x349

January 22, 2015

Quality Control With Biocontrols

Make sure the shipment of beneficials that just arrived is viable and ready to go to work in your greenhouse, nursery, or field. Here are five steps you can take to ensure success with your biocontrols.

Read More

January 9, 2015

6 New Fertilizer Products For Healthy Plants

These five products add even more options for delivering nutrients to the root zone.

Read More

January 7, 2015

Fertilizers And The Future

As growers look for new ways to cut costs and conserve resources, fertilizer and equipment companies are offering products that strive to save water, reduce toxic runoff and keep chemicals out of the equation.

Read More

December 31, 2014

Gain Greater Control Of Fertilizer With Automated Ferti…

University researchers look at integrating irrigation and fertilization with the help of water sensors to reduce fertilizer treatments and improve application timing.

Read More
As directed by EPA, the bee hazard icon appears in the Directions For Use for each application site for specific use restrictions and instructions to protect bee and other pollinators.

December 9, 2014

Fact Sheet: The Value Of Neonicotinoids To Turf And Orn…

An extensive study of the diverse turf and ornamental industry (“The Green Industry”) reveals that neonicotinoids are the top-rated products used by professionals to control their most important pests in greenhouses, landscapes, lawns, nurseries and trees.

Read More
As directed by EPA, the bee hazard icon appears in the Directions For Use for each application site for specific use restrictions and instructions to protect bee and other pollinators.

December 9, 2014

New Study Finds Neonicotinoids Are Top-Rated Products F…

According to results of a survey by AgInfomatics, professionals in the turf and ornamental industries fear the loss of neonicotinoid products would reduce the quality of their plants and services, increase costs and negatively impact their ability to manage pest resistance.

Read More

December 2, 2014

Grow-Tech Announces BioStrate, Its Newest Hydroponic Gr…

Grow-Tech LLC recently announced the release of BioStrate Felt, a biobased textile specifically engineered for the growing of hydroponic microgreens and baby salad greens.

Read More

November 25, 2014

Former Harris Seeds Co. CEO, Per Jensen, Passes At 85

A passion for plants defined long-time industry influencer.

Read More

November 21, 2014

Ramped-Up Predatory Mite Production To Benefit Growers

Biological pest control company Beneficial Insectary is now producing both Amblyseius (=Neoseiulus) cucumeris and Stratiolaelaps scimitus (formerly Hypoaspis miles) at its facility in California. Domestic production in the U.S. is now benefiting growers in North America by reducing the transit time of perishable predatory mites between producer and grower.

Read More

November 18, 2014

7 New Media And Light Products For Greenhouse Productio…

New media and light products cover a broad sweep of growing conditions.

Read More

November 14, 2014

Skagit Gardens To Eliminate Use Of Neonicotinoid Pestic…

Skagit Gardens, a wholesale grower located outside Mount Vernon, Wash., will eliminate all use of neonicotinoid pesticides beginning in January 2015.

Read More

November 11, 2014

Clarification: White House Recommends Sourcing Insectic…

UPDATE: The Obama Administration's addendum to the Sustainable Practices for Designed Landscapes applies only to federal agencies “implementing landscaping practices on agency-owned or leased land or space.”

Read More

October 30, 2014

Basics & Beyond: Comparing Substrate Fertilizer Ame…

Cornell University researcher determines if substrate-incorporated slow-release fertilizers can be used to replace or reduce the need for liquid fertilizer for four spring crops.

Read More