Swirskii-System and Orius-System introductions peak in coming weeks

Sweet peppers in southern Spain

28/08/2020 - Introductions of Amblyseius swirskii and Orius laevigatus in some early sweet pepper crops in Southern Spain have already started, however, the main season for these predators is about to start.  Responding to increasing pest pressure, introductions of Swirskii-(Breeding)-System peak between the end of August and beginning of September, while demand for Orius-System peaks in September.

Challenging pests
In southern Spain, whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) and thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) are challenging pests of sweet pepper crops - impacting both fruit quality and yield. Tobacco whitefly causes loss of plant vigor and unsightly honeydew spots to develop on fruits, while thrips damage can lead to serious losses - due to the pest’s ability to vector TSWV virus and from bites to the fruits.

Preventative biological controls
For some 15 years these pests have been controlled using biological controls, with preventative introductions of two predators Amblyseius swirskii and Orius laevigatus. Releases are timed to coincide with first flowering, taking advantage of the pollen source to aid establishment.  

When it comes to whitefly control, Amblyseius swirskii is the main predatory mite; while also providing additional complementary control of pests such as thrips and spider mites.

Introductions can be made by releasing Swirskii-System, i.e. loose material, directly on to the leaves. However, the most effective system is the breeding sachets - Swirskii-Breeding-System – which are specially designed to deliver slow and controlled release. The sachets are water-resistant and the mites inside are protected from sudden changes in temperature and humidity.

Boost establishment with Nutrimite™
To accelerate and optimise establishment in the crop, we recommend also using Nutrimite™ – our complementary food supply. Composed of Typha pollen, it is highly nutritious for mites and increases the fertility and egg laying of the swirskii mites.

Target thrips with Orius-System
Biobest’s Orius-System contains large numbers of adults that lay eggs as soon as they are released on the crop. During the first few weeks the resulting large population of nymphs and adults can completely eradicate the thrips population. However, it is sometimes advisable to reinforce the predator population with extra Orius at the end of winter; this can help reinvigorate the population, which may have reduced due to the fall in temperature.

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