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95% greenhouse crops were biologically controlled in the Netherlandsqrcode

Aug. 4, 2022

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Aug. 4, 2022

In 2020, pest insects and spider mites in nine greenhouse horticultural crops were controlled biologically on 95 percent of the acreage, for example by parasitic wasps or predatory mites. In 2016, this was 92 percent, in 2012 it was still 78 percent. For each of the crops studied, biological control was applied to at least 75 percent of the cultivation area in 2020. This is apparent from preliminary results of a CBS survey on biological crop protection, held among 1,315 greenhouse horticulture companies.


In the greenhouse cultivation of cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes, biological control agents were used on the entire cultivation area in 2020 to combat pest insects and spider mites. For these three food crops, the use of biological control agents was already high in 2012. In 2012, for example, such pesticides were used on 96 percent of the tomato acreage, and cucumbers and peppers on almost 90 percent of the acreage.

In the glasshouse cultivation of strawberries, the use of biological control agents increased considerably: from 58 percent in 2016 to 98 percent in 2020. In 2020, ornamental crops such as roses, gerberas and chrysanthemums will also account for more than 90 percent of the area covered by biological control. Only potted plants—before flowering or for foliage—are lagging behind at 75 percent and 81 percent respectively.

Biological control in greenhouse horticulture


Increasing numbers of biological control agents deployed

Four main groups of biological control agents are used to control pests in greenhouse horticulture. In 2020, approximately 52 billion predatory mites and thrips were deployed, almost five times as many as in 2016. The number of deployed parasitic wasps and gall midges amounts to 2.4 billion, more than twice as many as in 2016. The numbers of predatory bugs, lacewings and hoverflies and predatory beetles are significantly lower at 0.2 billion, but more than twice as many as in 2016. The fourth group of biological control agents is nematodes: these are used in large numbers in greenhouse horticulture, but numbers are only available for 2020 (5202 billion).

Increase in cultivation area with the use of predatory mites and predatory thrips

For the nine crops studied, the use of predatory mites and predatory thrips increased slightly, from 66 percent  of the acreage in 2016 to 69 percent  in 2020. The use of these biological control agents increased mainly in the cultivation of strawberries under glass (98 percent of the acreage, against 54 percent  in 2016), and in gerberas (98 percent,  against 68 percent) . Predatory mites play a less important role in tomato cultivation. There parasitic wasps are more important as biological control agents.

Biological control with predatory mites and predatory thrips


Strongest increase in use of parasitic wasps in rose cultivation

Parasitic wasps and gall midges were used in 2020 on 74 percent of the total acreage of the nine crops in greenhouse horticulture. In 2016 this was still 67 percent. These biological control agents are widely used in the cultivation of peppers (98 percent of the area), tomatoes (95 percent) and gerberas (94 percent). The largest increase in use took place in rose cultivation: from 52 percent of the acreage in 2016 to 82 percent in 2020. Both types of pot plants (flowering and leafy) use less than 40 percent of the cultivation area.

More predatory bugs, flies and beetles used as fighters

The use of predatory bugs, lacewings and hoverflies and predatory beetles in glasshouse horticulture increased from 54 percent of the acreage in 2016 to 61 percent in 2020. In pepper cultivation, this group of insects is used for pest control for 98 percent of the acreage, followed by tomato cultivation by 93 percent.  The use of these biological control agents increased sharply in the glasshouse cultivation of roses, from 25 percent in 2016 to 56 percent in 2020. Other crops, except chrysanthemums, have also increased. In cucumber cultivation, little use is made of this group of biological control agents (8 percent of the acreage), where predatory mites are mainly used.

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Contact: Joyce Wang (joyce@agropages.com)


Source: CBS


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