Growing bell peppers, eggplants, zucchini and tomatoes is complicated as parasites are increasingly specific and retain chains are stricter and stricter when it comes to residue levels. Bioplanet from Cesena promotes control using useful insects, as results are positive.
“In Sicily, we work with useful insects 12 months a year and move to different areas depending on the production. Bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplants and zucchini are the most targeted by parasites, and producers are trying to find solutions to protect table grapes, wine grapes and pomegranates as well,” reports Bioplanet representative Sebastiano Quartarone.
Chemical control alone is no longer satisfactory against thrips and, over the past few years, it has been replaced by integrated or biological control with predator insects and, more specifically, Orius laevigatus.
“Orius is a predator part of the anthocoridae family used for thrip control. It is mainly used in greenhouses and open fields, particularly for bell pepper, eggplant, strawberry crops and some ornamental plants. All of its stages actively feed on thrips, although it can also use pollen and other pests such as mites, aphids and small insects as an alternative source of food.”
Red spider mites also affect plants and there are effective ways to counter them. Phytoseiulus persimilis is a predator phytoseiid mite successfully employed all over the world against red spider mites (Tetranychus urticae). In optimal conditions, it develops even quicker than its prey.
The current success of useful insects is not something that came out of nowhere. As explained by Quartarone, “twenty years ago, people were skeptic and even laughed at us when we were telling them harmful insects can be countered with biological antagonists. Bioplanet and its managers have always believed in it, and now businesses are getting in touch with us. Chemical control alone is often not effective, while biological control combined with agronomic techniques is usually a more effective solution.”
Via Adriano Olivetti 85
Cesena (FC) – Italy