Development of an Integrated Pest Management/Biocontrol Internet Portal for Greenhouse Grower Educational Purposes

Project code PRR10-230

Project Lead

Cary Gates - Flowers Canada Growers

Objective

Develop an independent website that provides a comprehensive and consolidated package of information to educate greenhouse growers on incorporating integrated pest management (IPM) systems and biological control tools into their production practices

Summary of Results

Background

Greenhouse floriculture is an important industry in Canada, generating several billion dollars a year in revenue while providing employment to thousands. Growers produce a tremendous variety of crops, each often with their own unique pest issues. While many sources of information for reduced risk techniques in pest management exist, there is a need for consolidated, user friendly and independent educational information regarding pest management tools and approaches to assist growers in making environmentally sound management decisions. Through discussions with the greenhouse floriculture expert working group it was recommended that an online greenhouse IPM resource could help to fill this gap. This project aimed to establish the framework and preliminary content of an IPM website that would provide growers with up to date, accessible information on proven IPM and biocontrol approaches, including images, videos and tutorials as well as information on relevant resources, meetings and events.

Approaches

A development group consisting of grower representatives, provincial extension specialists and researchers was formed to shape the project and determine suitable content. Whitefly, as a typical greenhouse insect pest was chosen as an appropriate model on which to design the website interface. High quality images for the site were procured from professional sources. In addition a number of biological control companies were contacted in an effort to include actual images of products available to growers.

To gain valuable feedback on the website’s content and functionality an early version of the website along with a questionnaire was sent to a group of industry representatives including: growers from across Canada, biocontrol researchers across North America, greenhouse ornamental and vegetable association representatives, provincial extension specialists from Ontario, British Columbia, the Maritimes and Quebec, biocontrol companies and pest management specialists.

Results

The site’s information was well received by reviewers. The content overall was found to be logical, easy to find and relevant and the majority said they would make use of the site in the future. The website, greenhouseipm was officially launched at the Flowers Canada IPM workshop on October 4th, 2011. At the launch date the site focused on the control of whitefly in greenhouse crops.

Next Steps

The working group will continue to update the site with more pests and appropriate IPM approaches. It is anticipated that, by referring to such an information resource, growers will be better able to make informed decisions in implementing integrated pest management approaches in greenhouse production.

Total budget: $25,000

Start date: 2011-02-01

End date: 2011-06-24

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