Food for predators

Agrobío is launching its strategy to maintain high levels of auxiliary fauna in crops without pollen

At the start of winter crops, the pest level is lower, however, what seems to be an advantage can become a setback, since the population of beneficial insects (auxiliary fauna) drops, as they have nothing to eat. To resolve this problem, Agrobío has developed so-called ‘prey mites’, a supplementary ‘food’ for predators to encourage their proliferation and good condition. Subsequently, once the pests arrive, the auxiliary fauna prefers to eat them than the prey mites, therefore it does not interfere in the mites’ predation capacity.

From the very first moment when the company launched this strategy of ‘Releasing food directly on the crop’ for greenhouse cucumber, it was “a complete success”, Isabel Santorromán, from the Quality Control Area explained. Specifically, the trials carried out on long cycle cucumber crops showed that by releasing these prey mites, the populations of Amblyseius swirskii and of Transeius montdorensis increased two or threefold in autumn and winter.

Another interesting aspect they are working on is ‘Biological control by conservation’ to return the natural balance to the crops. And the fact is that the evolution of the greenhouses has caused the beneficial insects that swarm around the farms to be left outside. “To do this, we use aromatic plants as they are very attractive to insects and they are food or shelter for natural enemies”.

Finally, in order to face up to one of the problems that concerns farmers most, the control of Tetranychus urticae or red spiders that affects many crops, Agrobío proposes a combination. “Normally curative releases of Phytoseiulus persimilis are made in red spider focus points, but a preventive combination with A. andersoni guarantees a more effective control of this pest” preventing it from spreading through the crops, including melons and watermelons.

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