Saint Louis, MO

SLSC GROW: Greenhouse Pest Update

George Vandervalk

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ST. LOUIS, MO — Saint Louis Science Center’s greenhouse, GROW, has recently been dealing with pest infestation.

The GROW staff laid out sticky traps to examine the insects living in the greenhouse, and they have since taken the traps to take a closer look at what they’ve caught. They plan to identify the type of pests infesting the greenhouse to help them plan to prevent future infestations.

A tiny green bug called potato leafhoppers fell into the trap from the garden bed to the aquaponic system and appears to be the most common and problematic one. Leafhoppers are the kind of bugs people will frequently found hanging on the leaf of sweet potatoes.

On the other side, several different types of non-biting midges were found along with some other non-harmful insects such as long-legged flies and lacewings, which could be a potential predator towards some harmful pests. Some mosquito-like insects with swarming tendencies were also found.

However, it turned out that the sticky trap method was not the most effective way to get the whole representative of insects living in a greenhouse. Some critters were unattracted to it, and also, there were still some spiders hanging on the sweet potato leaves to prey on their next meal. The removal of infested marigolds might explain why there were no aphids on the trap.

The next plan on greenhouse pest control is to eradicate the two most common and harmful insects: leafhoppers and aphids. They plan to see whether the aphids would return after the last reduction attempts.

If the aphids do return, there will be another research to find effective ways to control their presence in the greenhouse.

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