Chapter 21

Integrated Pest Management for Greenhouse Crops

Mechanical and Physical Pest Control Tactics

Mechanical methods are the use of physical means to control pests. Screens that exclude or confine pests, pruning and rouging (selective pulling out) are all examples of mechanical pest controls.


Screening greatly reduces the entrance of common greenhouse pests such as thrips, aphids and whiteflies, as well as some less common pests such as tarnished plant bugs and European corn borers. Screens are placed over intake vents to prevent insect entry. The most important consideration for a grower wishing to screen a greenhouse is to determine which pests are to be excluded. The size of the pest determines the mesh size of the screen that is needed. For small insects such as thrips, screens must be made of a very fine mesh for total exclusion.  Reduction of airflow as a result of installing screening is a major concern of growers.


Reducing pest entry through quarantine is a good management strategy. Checking and quarantining plants that are being brought into the greenhouse for pest infestations is important to ensure that no infested plants are introduced into the greenhouse. It is best to isolate and quarantine any new plants to determine if an insect or disease is being transmitted.

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