Vol 118 (2005): Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society

Using banker plants to control insects in greenhouse vegetables

Lance S. Osborne
University of Florida,
2005 Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society
Published December 1, 2005
  • bemisia argentifolii,
  • aphis gossypii,
  • tetranychus urticae,
  • biocontrol,
  • whitefly,
  • aphid,
  • mite
  • ...More


Biological control practices are being introduced into Florida greenhouses to control silverleaf whitefly (Bemisia argentifolii), melon aphid (Aphis gossypii), and two spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae). One practice is the use of banker plants (plants that aren't grown as a crop) relying on these plants being host plants for pests that will not feed on the crop. These pests are organisms that serve as alternate prey for the natural enemies of the insects or mites that attack the crop we are trying to protect. The natural enemies will feed on and reproduce on them. Papaya banker plants containing papaya whitefly (Trialeurodes variabilis [Quantance] and the beneficial wasp Encarsia transvena were introduced into the hydroponic vegetable greenhouse at Polk Correctional Facility in Sanford, Fla. for silverleaf whitefly control with good results. An overview of the systems is presented.