Koppert Biological Systems is introducing videos featuring the most prevalent pests and their natural enemies in the lead roles. The close-up visual material shows how pests develop in the crop and how natural enemies combat them.
Fascinating scenes are taking place in nature all the time, but most of the encounters between insects and mites, for example, cannot be seen with the naked eye. Koppert Biological Systems is capturing high definition visuals of the pests which growers have to deal with on a daily basis and show how their natural enemies do their valuable work.
The new videos will provide useful visual material for growers, agricultural consultants, academic institutions and those interested in sustainable solutions for the production of food and flowers. Koppert wants to create a greater awareness of the natural solutions that are available for horticulture, so chemical agents are not always necessary.
A total of 23 videos are in the making and will feature pests such as whitefly, spider mite, aphids, thrips, mealybugs, leaf miners, black vine weevil and Tuta absoluta. The videos of whitefly and a number of predatory insects are now available:
The rest will be released in the coming weeks and will be added to Koppert’s Youtube channel and Vimeo account. Depending on the demand, the videos can be made available in other languages.
Source/photo: Koppert Biological Systems.
Combating aphids with biological crop protection agents is everything but easy. This is why Biobest is involved in relentless research into new ways to get rid of aphids. The result? The hoverfly, Sphaerophoria rueppelli, is being deployed in the battle.
Many commercial crops are plagued by a plethora of aphid varieties that can create a tremendous amount of damage. A lot of preventive pest control strategies have already been explored. Many of these focus on the use of parasitoids. Although these are quite effective, they still aren’t effective enough to be truly reliable. According to Biobest, the biggest problem is that every parasitoid attacks only a limited number of hosts.
The latest weapon in the war against aphids, Sphaerophoria rueppelli, is a native species that is very common throughout Europe and in numerous Mediterranean countries. Its larvae are highly efficient predators of various ahipd vaieties, including Macrosiphum euphorbiae. Not only do hoverflies feast on aphids, they also consider whiteflies, thrips, and spider mites to be a delicacy. ‘Sphaerophoria rueppellii will go actively in search and fly long distances to detect even the first signs of an aphid colony,’ explains Yann Jacques, Product Manager for Macrobials at Biobest. ‘The Sphaerophoria System is therefore also a preventative system. It is a perfect complement to our existing range of parasitoids and predators.’
Adult hoverflies are virtually harmless, as they feed only on pollen and nectar. It’s the larvae, however, that are the leading players in the war against aphids. Adult females prefer to lay their oval-shaped greyish white eggs in large colonies of aphids, to ensure that their offspring will have plenty of nourishment. Each female can lay up to 20 eggs a day, and up to 400 eggs in all. The green larvae that are hatched can consume an average of 200 aphids during their larval stage, which lasts nine days at a temperature of 25°C. They will also feed on other pests, such as whiteflies, thrips, and spider mites. ‘What’s so interesting about this system is that the hoverflies can be deployed concurrently with aphid parasitoids. Hoverfly larvae will devour only the non-parasitised aphids. By deploying both, the number of aphids will be reduced even more dramatically,’ concludes Jacques. S. rueppellii is highly efficient when deployed in sweet pepper crops, but it looks as if this system will also promote aphid control substantially in other vegetable, fruit and decorative plant crops.
Aphiscout, Koppert Biological Systems’ new parasitic wasp mix, is taking natural crop protection against aphids to a higher level.
Koppert Biological Systems introduced Aphiscout at IPM Essen with the campaign ‘Looking for trouble!’. This new crop protection agent detects the early signs of an aphid infestation and gives growers reliable information about the correct strategy to use. ‘Parasitic wasps are geared to detect aphids and parasitize them long before they are visible to the human eye,’ explains product manager Tim Bossinga.
Aphiscout is a mix of the Praon volucre, Aphidius colemani (see photo), Aphidius ervi, Aphelinus abdominalis, and Ephedrus cerasicola parasitic wasp species. Each of these has its own preferences and collectively they can combat the most common types of aphids. According to Koppert this makes Aphiscout the ideal form of basic protection against aphids. The parasitized aphids also provide information with regard to the best types of parasitic wasps to be released in a given large-scale offensive. ‘It’s like sending out scouts before planning your combat strategy,’ says Bossinga.
Aphiscout comes in a cylindrical package containing 250 mummies. Koppert developed a special NectarPad that is placed inside the container and contains enough sugar water to ensure that the parasitic wasps will go into battle bursting with energy. The packaging has been provided with an ingenious hanging system, in which the adhesive side of the label can be used to fasten the container around an object such as a wire or a plant stem. Besides its applications in greenhouse horticulture, Aphiscout will also be very useful to fruit growers.
Source/photo: Koppert Biological Systems.