Eden Project has a spray day to rid biome of undesirables

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The world's biggest greenhouse was closed to visitors yesterday while an "anti-bug" spray took place.

The world's biggest greenhouse was closed to visitors yesterday while an "anti-bug" spray took place.

The Humid Tropics Biome at the Eden Project is to be cleared of unwanted insects and another six sprays are due this year. Horticulturists at the tourist attraction in Cornwall were following guidelines from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The 787ft by 360ft biome, built on the site of a former clay pit near St Austell, houses more than 1,000 species of plants. Misters and waterfalls keep the air moist for plants from Malaysia, west Africa and the Amazon. Temperatures inside the giant greenhouse can reach 35C (95F).

Dave Meneer, the Eden Project's marketing director, said the cleaning process should clear the biome of white flies, aphids and mealy bugs. "Most greenhouses have these bugs, but just not on our scale. If we can clear it completely now we can be less aggressive in future."

From April onwards new species of insects will be deliberately introduced to the biome to keep the bug population under control. Mr Meneer said birds and geckos would then be brought in to complete a natural bug-control cycle. "With a bit of luck they will keep everything in balance," he said.

Visitors to the Eden Project are to be charged half price on dates when the Humid Tropics Biome is closed. Extra attractions will be provided in the Warm Temperate Biome.

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