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Dual predator strategy to control spider mite in aubergines

03/03/2022 - To effectively control spider mites in aubergine crops this spring, Biobest recommends implementing a strategy combining the predatory mite Phytoseiulus-System with the predatory gall midge Feltiella-System. Now supplied in new 100% biodegradable cartons, the Feltiella adults arrive in optimum condition, enhancing establishment and simplifying disposal of this sustainable packaging.

“At this stage in the season, most aubergine growers will have introduced predatory mites to target thrips – products like Montdorensis-System or Swirskii-System,” says Biobest advisor Stefan Bohte.  “As soon as spider mites are detected, they should begin introductions of Phytoseiulus-System and Feltiella-System.

Predatory mites work immediately

“The predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis gets to work immediately feeding on two-spotted spider mites. However, keep in mind that a strong swirskii population can hinder Phytoseiulus population development by feeding on the eggs; this is less of an issue with Transeius montdorensis,” Stefan warns.

Gall midge seeks out hotspots

“Growers employing a dual approach - also introducing Feltiella-System - are in a stronger position to effectively control spider mites.”

The gall midge, Feltiella acarisuga, flies around the greenhouse in search of spider mites. Capable of locating pest outbreaks hundreds of metres apart, it lays its eggs in these hotspots. As soon as they hatch, each voracious predatory larva can eat up to 30 spider mites in various stages of development.

Eco-friendly packaging

“Gall midge larvae remain active throughout the year – including spring and autumn when temperatures are lower – and can even control diapausing spider mites,” explains Stefan.   

Feltiella-System is now supplied in fully biodegradable packaging. While Biobest is constantly exploring ways to improve the establishment and overall performance of its products, sustainability has also become a key consideration.

“Growers can leave this packaging in situ in the crop and dispose of it together with the crop after cultivation - simple and environmentally friendly,” explains Stefan.

Consult with advisor

“Under high pest pressure, to further boost control a chemical or additional biological agent may be used locally in the crop. However, this is not necessary if the head of the aubergine plant remains green.

“We advise growers consult their Biobest advisor before applying any pesticide - to check if it can be properly integrated with the biology in the greenhouse."

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