Our powerful new predatory biocontrol, Micromus-System, has been adopted in a range of protected and edible crops to boost aphid control. While the adults and larvae feed on all common aphid species, this brown lacewing is also tolerant to lower temperatures - making it an ideal addition to early season aphid control programmes.
Here three European growers report back on their experiences using Micromus-System in a variety of protected crops.
Gert Menten founded his 0.5ha strawberry growing company at Westerlo, in Belgium, in 1988 and has worked with Biobest from the outset.
“Aphids are particularly challenging,” says Gert. “In the cooler period, Micromus-System is a useful addition to our strategy. Both the adults and larvae get to work straight away, making an immediate impact.
“Released directly into aphid hotspots, the Micromus-System reduced the aphid pressure in March/April. The control strategy, which included the hoverfly Eupeodes-System and the parasitic wasp Aphidius-System, achieved excellent results.
“Highly effective in spring, Micromus was not seen once the larger aphid populations were controlled. However, it was still present as adults reappeared on the new strawberry crop.
Finnish leafy salads and herbs
Amnelling Puutarha grows a range of hydroponic leafy salad and herbs crops year-round at Siuntio, in the Uusimaa region of Southern Finland.
“Working with Biobest since August 2022, we’ve been particularly impressed with the performance of Micromus-System for aphid control,” says Amnell Antero. “Compared to predators we’ve used previously; this lacewing is delivering superior results.
“Micromus-System is giving excellent control in autumn and winter when greenhouse conditions are cooler.
To stay one step ahead, Amnell monitors and scouts regularly. “It can prove challenging to get control when the pest pressure is very high,” he says. “Initially, we release Micromus-System every two weeks, increasing this to weekly introductions if we see the aphid population rising.
“Introducing Micromus-System regularly we’re keeping aphids at a low-level year-round. Highly effective, it’s easy to use and, unlike chemicals, there are no potential risks to customers.
“Compared to predators we’ve used in the past, Micromus-System is more efficient. Both the larvae and adults are predatory and the lacewings arrive in very good condition, packaged in a biodegradable carton containing honeycomb paper."
French ornamental nursery
Aurore Haakman oversees the production of a wide range of crops at Valbray plant nursery, at Hyères, in the South of France. Working with distributor Racine, she has been using Biobest products since 2021.
Aurore finds Micromus-System highly effective; “easy to install, it gives quick controls of many types, including Myzus persicae and Aphis gossypii,” she says.
“I use Micromus-System curatively, introducing it as soon as I discover an aphid outbreak. Initially I was sceptical - I thought the lacewing would fly away. However, the pest hotspots literally disappeared within a week. Now we use Micromus more widely and the hotspots are generally controlled within four days.
We’re particularly impressed by the level of technical support – alongside regular visits and monitoring support from Angela Camelo, technical advisor at Biobest, and Julien Vendeville from Racine, the information and advice are always good.”
Summing up she says, “Micromus-System is very efficient, convenient and practical to use and is also eco-friendly – even the packaging is sustainable and can be recycled.”