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Thrips appear early in Turkish peppers

30/06/2021 - Due to the mild winter conditions and below average rainfall, thrips pressure in Turkish pepper crops is starting earlier than normal - warns Hasan Yildirim, Biobest sales manager in Turkey. “Due to the warmer temperatures, more pest has carried over from last season’s crop,” he says.  

The highlands area – over 800m above sea level – has become a key region for soil-grown peppers with a range of types grown under polythene structures. With Californian ‘blocky types’ predominantly produced for export, Red Capia and Hungarian types are grown largely for the domestic market.

Thrips a key pest

“Planted from mid-April through to the end of May, the main pest threats are thrips, whitefly and two-spotted spider mite,” explains Hasan.  

“Growers in the Highlands are reliant on two predators – Swirskii-System and Orius-System – to control thrips. The generalist predator, Amblyseius swirskii also feeds on whitefly, which is a bonus. Meanwhile, when it comes to two-spotted spider mite control – growers are becoming less reliant on chemical controls using our Phytoseiulus-System instead, which is working well.”

Monitoring

To optimise these biological control strategies, Hasan stresses the importance of monitoring crops for early signs of the pest.

“We recommend growers to install our sticky traps when planting out the crop - at a rate of 10 traps/1,000m2,” says Hasan. “The blue sticky traps are particularly attractive to thrips, while the yellow traps are ideal for monitoring whitefly. At the first sign of thrips, we advise introducing ThriPher - the aggregation pheromone which attracts both male and female thrips.”  

Hasan recommends waiting until the pepper crop is in flower before initiating predator introductions. “The pollen provides an alternative food source, helping predators build up a good population in the crop while the pest pressure is still low,” he explains.

“In the cooler highlands, Swirskii-System can also play a part controlling spider mite. If hotspots appear in the crop, some growers resort to targeted chemical sprays; others are choosing to maintain a biological approach releasing a third predator – Phytoseiulus-System.”  

Technical support

“The local Biobest technical team aims to provide support visits to customers every two weeks. Even during local and national lockdowns, our team has been able to operate - as agricultural workers have been exempt. We have been able to continue to offer good levels of support to our growers. In addition, for new pepper growers entering the market, we offer educational IPM training to help them succeed.”

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