Insect pests are a common concern among growers in greenhouse environments. They wreak havoc, causing damage by feeding directly on plants and indirectly by spreading disease pathogens and viruses. These pests also make food crops less marketable because they cause cosmetic damage that isn’t appealing to consumers.
In many cases, growers use pesticides in an effort to minimize insect pest populations. But there is an alternative: biological pest control agents. In other words, good bugs—often referred to as predator insects or parasitoids—keep the bad bugs like thrips, spider mites, aphids, leaf miners, and whiteflies in check.
The 3,300-square-foot sustainable greenhouse at ACC’s North Hill Campus serves as hands-on classroom space. Ten months ago, its insect pest population was widespread. Fortunately, Dr. Poonam Singh saw it as learning and research opportunity for students.