New tool in biocontrol toolbox
October 2014 — Van Wingerden International started working with Biobest and biocontrol 15 years ago. Sam Newsome a grower at VWI is very familiar with the full array of biocontrol tools, including beneficial insects and mites, bio-insecticides, banker plants, etc.
He has been determined to continuously expand the scope for biocontrol in his crops.
Biobest’s Nutrimite, a food supplement for predatory mites, adds a totally new product category to the biocontrol toolbox.
Newsome is convinced that this addition resolves a number of practical and economical bottlenecks in biocontrol. Greater scope for successful biocontrol, means more options to avoid recurring problems with chemical pest control such as residue issues and resistance of pests to chemical pesticides.
“Predatory mites have to sustain the stresses of transportation and release, then they must go after food in the crop,” said Newsome.
“Without a steady food source, multiple rounds of preventative releases are necessary. With the addition of Nutrimite to a biocontrol program, populations of predatory mites such as A. swirskii build up much faster.
"We continue to do further testing to adapt our biocontrol programs, but there is a compelling logic to make sure that predators released can survive and reproduce in the crop.”
SUCCESS IN MINIATURE ROSES
Newsome highlights the following example.
“We are using Nutrimite on miniature roses. We grow these year-round with minimal overhead irrigation. We do not like to apply a lot of biocontrols right before a big harvest, since most of the predators would likely be lost during that process. That means there is often a two-week period between introductions.
“With Nutrimite, I can help our beneficial population reproduce and stay with us during that gap and that definitely helps me sleep a little better.”
BIO BEATS CHEMISTRY
“Chemical options are become fewer and less effective with time. With the right level of expertise and good expert advice, biocontrol is an economical, effective and sustainable solution.”
He says Nutrimite provides more options for successful biocontrol, in terms of cost and effectiveness. It avoids wasting resources on releasing beneficials with no perspective of successful establishment.
"That makes me and VWI happy. I’m sure I will continue to feed my mites on this healthy diet, and I’m excited to find out just how much it can help our biocontrol operation.”
BOOST YOUR PREDATORY MITES
Newsome offered some practical recommendations.
“We stayed with the recommended rate of about 200 grams per acre, using the Makita blower with Biobest’s Nutri-App attachment.
“At first I found it difficult to move fast enough down narrow pathways and get the fine pollen particles distributed evenly over the whole area intended.
“Now I mix Nutrimite with an inert carrier. This allows me to move steadily and spread the product evenly. We have had no problem with this approach and got great results.”
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