Strawberries: Eupeodes-System has key role to play in aphid control
In comparison to other crops, aphid control in strawberries can be more challenging due to the large number of different species potentially found in the crop – making it advisable to add a predator to the parasitoid-led control strategy.
“Strawberry plants can host generalist aphids such as the widespread Cotton Aphid (Aphis gossypii), which can colonise over 700 plant species, as well as more crop-specific species,” explains Biobest IPM and Pollination Specialist David Abeijon.
“While some species can be adequately controlled using parasitoids, others – such as the Strawberry Aphid (Chaetosiphon fragaefolii) – are considerably more challenging to control this way. Furthermore, optimising control is further complicated by the fact there are often several different aphid species simultaneously colonising the crop.”
Parasitoids plus predator
To optimise control, Biobest recommends employing strategies involving appropriate parasitoids in combination with at least one predator.
“In most important strawberry producing areas, aphids tend to appear either at the end of winter or during spring,” he explains. “In year-round production, the pest may even appear at the beginning of winter and remain in the crop before rapidly increasing in number as temperatures rise in spring.
“In these situations, we strongly advise including an aphid predator in the strategy – one that is able to endure cooler temperatures.”
Eupeodes-System – ideal predator enduring cooler temperature
In recent years, Biobest has mastered the production of several hoverfly species; while the larvae are voracious aphid predators, the adult hoverfly feed on nectar and pollen.
“Our Sphaerophoria-System is a useful hoverfly predator at warmer temperatures,” explains David. “In contrast, Eupeodes-System works best when it is cooler – making it ideal to deploy in autumn and spring.
“Although its optimum temperature range is 15ºC to 25ºC, Eupeodes corollae can be seen working at temperatures as low as 10ºC. This makes it an extremely useful IPM tool to control aphid populations right before they explode, with warmer temperatures. Also, to target the pest hotspots in the autumn which, if overlooked, can become challenging once spring arrives.
“Of course, it is always advisable to use Eupeodes in combination with the right parasitoids -depending on the aphid species present in the crop. Incorporating Eupeodes-System and Sphaerophoria-System also promotes higher yields of quality fruits, containing more seeds and fewer deformities.”