Biological pest management, a key part of an Integrated Pest Management program, uses biological ways to control pests. Examples of biological pest controls are the introduction of predatory insects, like ladybugs, and mites into greenhouse. These good bugs battle bad bugs to keep our crops – and your vegetables – healthy.
IPM scouts are always on the lookout for what pests and diseases show up in the greenhouse. Their job is to spot pests early before bugs and diseases damage a crop.
Since the early 1980s our growers, anxious for an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical pesticides, began embracing IPM. By 1987, almost 100 percent of our greenhouse vegetable growers were using biological pest controls. Our growers are still embracing that technology, and continue to support research projects to find new and improved ways to use biological pest controls in the greenhouse. We’re finding ways to reduce or virtually eliminate the use of pesticides on your greenhouse vegetables.
In 2003, the BC Greenhouse Growers’ Association, along with Simon Fraser University scientist Dr. Zamir Punja, won the prestigious Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s (NSERC) 2003 synergy award for developing crop protection and environmental management technologies that make the Canadian greenhouse vegetable sector competitive.
There are relatively few pesticides registered in Canada, and even fewer used in greenhouse vegetable growing. Because our greenhouse growers use Integrated Pest Management programs, they use many different methods to control plant diseases and insect pests. Only as a last resort do our growers use a chemical pesticide that is registered for the specific pest they must combat.
Any product applied to a crop to control a pest is called a pesticide, including biological control products. The product must be registered for use on that specific crop for the particular pest of concern. Every control product must go through a series of rigorous tests before being approved. This ensures the safety of humans, animals and the environment.
Our greenhouse environment gives our vegetable plants protection against many pests that can attack outdoor crops. Our growers’ reliance on biological controls means they are very reluctant to use chemical pesticides. They want to keep good bugs working, rather than disrupt them with chemical pesticides.
Our growers pride themselves in producing safe and healthy food for consumers and their own families and farming in harmony with the environment.