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...

February 12, 2016

Managing Air Temperatures For Basil Growth And Development

Iowa State University researchers determine if increases in air temperatures can increase growth and shorten production times for basil.

Read More

February 12, 2016

AmericanHort Applauds USDA Announcement Of Almost $60 Million In Funding To Protect Ornamental Plants From Pests And Diseases

The funding from the 2014 Farm Bill will be used to cover projects such as plant certification, clean stock for high-value crops, and invasive insects and diseases.

Read More
The beneficial parasitoid Encarsia formosa feeding on greenhouse whitefly

February 12, 2016

Biological Pest Control Starts With Accounting For Pesticide Compatibility

When pest pressure is high, biological controls alone may not be enough to take care of the problem. Make sure that any pesticides you use won’t harm the beneficials hard at work in your greenhouse.

Read More
Latest Stories

February 12, 2016

Managing Air Temperatures For Basil Growth And Develop…

Iowa State University researchers determine if increases in air temperatures can increase growth and shorten production times for basil.

Read More

February 12, 2016

AmericanHort Applauds USDA Announcement Of Almost $60 M…

The funding from the 2014 Farm Bill will be used to cover projects such as plant certification, clean stock for high-value crops, and invasive insects and diseases.

Read More
Suzanne Wainwright-Evans

February 8, 2016

Register Now For Biocontrols USA 2016 Workshop

Biocontrol is becoming a mainstream part of growing plants commercially. Every good program starts with quality products and a good supply chain. Register now to join us from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on March 4, following the conclusion of the education program at the Biocontrols USA 2016 Conference & Expo in Monterey, CA for a special event that will help you improve your biocontrols program. In this informative, real-world workshop led by biocontrols expert Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, owner of Buglady Consulting, you’ll learn: The key players that are producing beneficials How to check product quality once you get them The latest trends and practices growers are using to implement beneficials into their programs Important pitfalls to avoid. A roundup of the current biocontrol research that can help you be more successful in your production practices this season. Wainwright-Evans, a pest management specialist, has been involved in the green industry for more than two […]

Read More
Travis Higginbotham

February 8, 2016

Biocontrols And Next-Generation Production

Biocontrols are becoming much more established in greenhouse production. In some cases, it’s the next generation of growers that’s helping to support the adoption of this next generation of pest control. Travis Higginbotham, R&D Manager for Battlefield Farms, in Rapidan, VA, is a great example. Brought on in 2014, he is helping Battlefield take the next step in product development, as well as become more efficient as a business and adapt to new technologies and demands from their customers with a more proactive approach. Higginbotham will share information on Battlefield’s nematode program at the Biocontrols USA 2016 Conference and Expo, March 3-4, 2016 in Monterey, CA. We asked him about the details involved with building a new biocontrols program, as well as the future of sustainability in greenhouse production. Q: What are the differences in costs involved in using biocontrols? What costs should growers consider, aside from the hard costs […]

Read More
Jim Zablocki, Plant Prod

February 5, 2016

Sign Up For A Webinar On Using Plant Nutrition To Impro…

The webinar takes place March 2, and covers how leading growers are using plant nutrition to minimize costs, reduce the number of factors they need to worry about, and lessen environmental impacts.

Read More
Biocontrols Conference and Expo 2016

February 4, 2016

Biocontrols 2016 Conference Offers Insights And Learnin…

The Biocontrols 2016 Conference & Expo, which takes place March 3-4, 2016, in Monterey, CA, brings together growers, pest control advisers, suppliers, researchers, and other segments of the industry to share the latest information on biochemicals, microbial pesticides, and beneficials, and help you put biocontrols to work in your operation.

Read More
Fertilizer Rates Feature Image

January 29, 2016

Bioworks Releases New Higher Nitrogen Fertilizer For Or…

Verdanta N-Vita 9-4-3 promotes foliar growth and features a slow release process, making nutrients available for a longer period of time.

Read More
Primula acaulis, Botrytis, Disease, Griffin Greenhouse Supplies

January 19, 2016

EPA Approves Syngenta’s Mural Fungicide For Use On Seve…

Mural contains two active ingredients and is designed to provide broad-spectrum control of a wide range of root and foliar diseases.

Read More

January 12, 2016

EPA Releases Preliminary Risk Assessment For Imidaclopr…

The assessment, which will soon be open for public comment, indicates that imidacloprid potentially poses risk to hives when the pesticide comes in contact with certain crops that attract pollinators.

Read More
Sustane Research Greenhouse 2015

January 7, 2016

Fertilizer Manufacturers Aim To Deliver Sustainable Sol…

Industry experts discuss the latest trends to help ensure 2016 is your best year yet.

Read More
Vestaron

December 30, 2015

Vestaron’s Spear Bioinsecticide No Longer Carries Bee T…

Following a review that shows it has no detrimental effect on honeybees, EPA has removed the bee toxicity warning statement from Spear.

Read More
How To Overcome Downy Mildew Spread On Impatiens

December 16, 2015

Syngenta Launches Two New Fungicides For The Ornamental…

Solatenol and oxathiapiprolin, each with unique active ingredients, should be available to growers in early 2016.

Read More
Biocontrols Conference and Expo 2016

December 15, 2015

Mark Your Calendars For The Second Annual Biocontrols U…

Produced by Meister Media Worldwide in cooperation with the Biopesticide Industry Alliance, the event brings together growers, pest control advisors, researchers, biocontrols suppliers, and everyone who plays a role in this crucial element of integrated pest management programs.

Read More
Gerbera Yellow Sticky Card

December 10, 2015

Michigan State Offers Free Download Of Bulletin Coverin…

The new fact sheet provides photos and lists commercially available beneficial insects, their target insects, and key facts about biocontrol agents.

Read More
Landmark Open-Bottom Tray

December 8, 2015

Landmark Plastic Addresses Retailer Capillary Mat Requi…

With the availability of water being the number one global risk based on its overall impact to society, it’s no surprise that big name retailers like Walmart, The Home Depot and Lowe’s have taken aggressive steps to reduce their water consumption at store level. More specifically, for the Spring 2016 selling season, Walmart has mandated that its horticultural partners be capillary mat compliant. This means that plants typically watered top-down will now be required to be watered through a sophisticated watering mat that helps saturate the plants from the bottom up. To help growers embrace this new requirement, Landmark Plastic has developed a new trade gallon tray with an open bottom that enables plants to be watered from the roots up. This not only helps utilize water more efficiently, but also helps retailers reduce labor costs associated with the task of watering. “We’ve made it our business to solve problems […]

Read More
Arthij van der Veer Feature image

December 7, 2015

Sustainability Is Key To Your Operation’s Future

During Greenhouse Grower's 2015 Top 100 Growers Breakfast at Cultivate'15, Arthij ven der Veer of MPS (More Profitable Sustainability) discussed crop protection trends in Europe, Latin America, and around the world, and what to expect on the horizon.

Read More
Bee Vectoring Technology Bumblebee

December 1, 2015

New Crop Protection Solution Uses Bees To Deliver Bioco…

The new system from Bee Vectoring Technology incorporated a powdered crop protection material into the lid of commercial bumblebee hives. Bees pick up the product when they leave the hive and deposit it on every plant they visit.

Read More
Stockosorb Crystals_with water Agriculture leaf (Evonick)

November 21, 2015

9 Sustainable Growing Media Products For Superior Green…

Manufacturers are delivering new growing media products to help growers attempt to minimize their footprint without sacrificing quality. Here are nine new products to consider for your greenhouse operation.

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