Macrolophus-System: our 'army' just got better!

Macrolophus caliginosus is starting to show off its true potential as an effective whitefly bio-control agent. Because of its rather slow population growth, it is very important to start out with healthy bugs. And this is exactly where Biobest has taken a big leap forward... Tomato growers Vlaemynck (B) have noticed a consistent growth in quality.


Highly mobile predator

Macrolophus is a generalist predator with a preference for whitefly. It is a very mobile bug, due to its long legs. This allows it to actively prey, even on leaves covered with glandular hairs. Macrolophus-system is an important part of crop management schemes in tomato, eggplant and other high-temperature crops. It predates every life stage of whitefly. In times of low whitefly availability, Macrolophus will survive on other pests or even plant juice.


Healthy start

Macrolophus has many advantages over similar bugs. It is a fierce predator with a large operational area and is a true survivor. It actively searches for its prey and is very, very hungry. But it shares some disadvantages; such as slow population growth. Biobest research has made a very strong case for the provision of Nutrimac as an extra protein-rich food source, in order to step up the pace of Macrolophus' reproduction. But it is very important to start out with healthy bugs in the first place. This has proven to be a big challenge for all international suppliers, because this fierce predator can be fragile at some stages of its development.


Things got better!

Recently, Biobest has made a great leap forward in ensuring a consistent supply of very high quality Macrolophus bugs. This is the result of a dedicated and focused research program. We have significantly increased the survival rate and the condition of our Macrolophus stock. Our products show a lower mortality rate during handling and transport. Besides, the surviving bugs show to be more mobile and aggressive, right from the moment of their introduction in the crops. And last but very much not least, there is a high increase in the consistency of the quality of our products.


Case: Vlaemynck

Johan Vlaemynck, together with his brothers, runs a 3 Ha currant tomato farm in Nevele (Belgium). “We truly believe that ecological crop management is the most promising way ahead. Over the past 15 years, we have embarked on a journey that involves ever less chemicals. In the past seasons, we have only applied one chemical treatment against aphids, using Plenum®(Pymetrozine).”

Vlaemynck has devised an effective crop management scheme, together with his Biobest-adviser. “Scouting and early detection are the core of our scheme. Especially in the case of whitefly, as they can have a very rapid population growth. Biobest is very fast when it comes to delivery, which makes it possible to introduce beneficials the day after a pest has been detected.”

Macrolophus is the key 'soldier' in Vlaemynck's anti-whitefly army. “Macrolophus have shown to be of utmost importance. When they are at full strength, whitefly problems are over. We aim at introducing the bugs as early as possible in the growing season. This year, it is becoming very clear that Biobest has made big progress in supplying healthy and active bugs that reproduce faster and are more aggressive predators. This has allowed us to get a faster response to whitefly population buildup.”

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