Biocontrol in strawberry - bring a swirskii army at fighting strength

20/04/2018 - In May and June growers may have to deal with a thrips peak. Preventative release of the predatory mite Amblyseius swirskii in combination with Nutrimite™ is an effective answer.

Growers of everbearing strawberry varieties better bear in mind that the end of spring and the beginning of summer are ideal periods for thrips to invade berry fields. “The peak is usually observed around late May/early June,” depending on areas says Julien Mourrut-Salesse, Manager of the IPM and Pollination Specialists at Biobest.

A rapid and massive pest attack requires an effective answer. In strawberry, the predatory mite Amblyseius swirskii is a trustworthy beneficial. When thrips are already present on the plants and fruits, A. swirskii actively looks for thrips on flowers, leaves and fruits. Besides, in the absence of thrips, the swirskii mite is also extremely useful. Thanks to the application of Nutrimite™, Biobest’s 100% natural food supplement made from a special selection of pollen, growers can bring their swirskii army at fighting strength before the pest arrives.

“Nutrimite™ contributes significantly to a successful and preventative installation of swirskii in strawberry. We saw twice the population level compared to a situation without an alternative food source,” says Julien. “This strategy is very effective especially against thrips that appear on the fruits. Moreover, a good population of swirskii also helps to control spider mites and whitefly, other important pests in strawberry.”

Practically, Julien typically recommends one swirskii sachet per two (linear) meters of strawberry. Application of Nutrimite™ every 15 days will ensure a good installation of the mites. In some cases, a second introduction of swirskii may be useful.

In addition to thrips, spider mites and whitefly, strawberry growers may also face aphid attacks. Julien: “For effective aphid biocontrol, Biobest recommends a preventive strategy based on the Aphi-Mix-System, a ‘blend’ of four species of parasitic wasps (Aphidius colemani, Aphidius ervi, Aphidius matricariae and Aphelinus abdominalis) and Aphidoletes-System, containing the gall midge Aphidoletes aphidimyza. Aphi-Mix can be applied when temperatures are above 12°C, adding Aphidoletes-from the moment minimum temperatures stay above 16 degrees Celsius. Finally, in case of an aphid infestation, the gall midge and the green lacewing Chrysoperla carnea can be used curatively.”


Let's make things easier for you

We can offer you more relevant advice, if you let us know where you are and what language you prefer. Thanks!

PS: You'll only have to do this once (allowing cookies to remember your preferences).