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using beneficial insects in IPM made easy:

Viridaxis now provides catch-all solution to aphids

With the aim of providing more viable options for growers who want to utilize Integrated Pest Management solutions, Viridaxis has developed beneficial insects that can neutralize a wide variety of aphids. Their approach has shown success in trials with several crops in many climates, and they're looking to expand their approach in the future.

Viola Rosemeyer, sales manager for Viridaxis, explained that their products utilize parasitoid wasps to control aphid populations in greenhouses. "The wasps are released in a greenhouse and seek aphids in which to lay their eggs. During their development inside the aphids, the parasitoids kill the aphid. Then, the new generation of wasps hatches and seeks out more aphids to continue their life cycle and, in the process, fight all aphids in the greenhouse". Rosemeyer noted that when Viridaxis was founded a decade ago, many similar products were offered. But the thing that distinguishes them from their competitors is the way they produce their wasps in a plant-less process and the easy to use XxxProtect system.



“We have a patented process that allows us to produce beneficial insects of the same quality on a year-round basis,” said Rosemeyer. “While the lead time for other suppliers might be between four and six weeks, we're much more flexible.” That allows them to respond quickly to changes in aphid populations, which can fluctuate according to the weather. Another advantage to their approach is that they produce a variety of wasps. Normally, if a grower wants to take care of an aphid problem with beneficial insects, he first needs to identify the exact type of aphid present, something which only a specialist can do. Viridaxis, instead of producing different wasps for different aphids, includes several varieties of wasps in their products, so that the cocktail of beneficial insects is enough to take out any aphid present.



“We wanted to take the difficult identification step out of the process,” said Rosemeyer. “So our different beneficial insects species are sure to take care of all manner of aphids, irrespective of the aphid or climate.” 5 years worth of experience at research stations and from commercial growers have shown that their cocktail of six parasitoid wasps has been successful in controlling aphid populations in greenhouses that grow soft fruit, vegetables, herbs and ornamental plants. Their FresaProtect, BerryProtect, VerdaProtect, BasilProtect and OrnaProtect products have also been successful in several kinds of climates. "Commercial growers use these products with great success, and their number is growing rapidly", Rosemeyer added.

 

“We made our system as simple and efficient as possible, because the aim to reduce the use of chemicals in controlling pests is not always the easy way. Hence, we were looking for an easy approach to IPM for growers.” Developing such a product, however, didn't come without its share of challenges. Even after identifying and breeding all the wasps necessary to control every aphid that could be encountered by a grower, Viridaxis still had to come up with an effective delivery system for the beneficial insects.

“We really needed to make a good home for the wasps,” said Rosemeyer. “We found that carton tubes were the best in terms of respiration and temperature control.” Honey was added to ensure the wasps had enough food to keep them healthy and vigorous when released. These tubes are clipped to a roof, which protects them from direct sunshine and overhead water and is hung by a fine nylon string to the structure of the greenhouse to prevent ants from attacking. Each tube can now deliver enough wasps to cover 200 square meters of greenhouse, and Rosemeyer said that the concept has been received well enough that they might expand into unprotected growing in the future.



“When we commercialized this product, we had reactions that told us this works well and that we should expand this,” said Rosemeyer. “So we fast-tracked development of this, and our midterm development strategy is to go into open-field crops, focusing on our core business, which is aphid control.”

Visit Viridaxis at booth C5.25 at the IHTF show, held from 6 to 8 November 2013 at Expo Haarlemmermeer in Vijfhuizen, the Netherlands.

For more information:
Viridaxis S.A.
Rue Louis Blériot 11
B-6041 Gosselies
www.viridaxis.com
E: vrosemeyer@viridaxis.com
T: +32 (0) 71 48 72 25
F: +32 (0) 71 42 36 57

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