Western flower thrips (WFT), green peach aphid (GPA) and sweet potato whitefly (SPWF) are major pests of the greenhouse industry. Chemical control of these pests is not desirable. Alternative approaches to pest management need to be developed.
Entomopathogenic fungi hold great promise as sustainable biological control options. A broad range of indigenous fungal isolates have been screened for activity vs. WFT and GPA. Strains of Metarhizium anisopliae, Beauveria bassiana and Verticillium lecanii have been shown to be particularly effective. Plant and soil trials vs. WFT are now underway to permit selection of the best strains for further development. To date, assays vs. SPWF indicate that strains of Paecilomyces farinosus and B. bassiana are the most pathogenic.