Now also in Gerbera: better biological control with Nutrimite

Integrated Pest Management in ornamentals is rapidly gaining ground, also in Gerbera. Growers use different biological control agents. The predatory mite A. swirskii is often one of the pillars of the biological strategy for whitefly control. It also helps to control thrips and broad mites, two pests that have become increasingly difficult to control in recent years.

Biobest has invested substantially in research programs aimed at making more efficient use of natural enemies. With the introduction of Nutrimite™, the food supplement that boosts the development of predatory mites in the crop, Biobest offers Gerbera growers a simple path to achieve optimal reliability of their biocontrol program.

Westmade CV, a Gerbera grower in the Dutch province of North-Brabant, started with Nutrimite™ this year. Grower Kevin Batist explains why: “Last year we were still in doubt as to whether we would really opt for integrated pest management. The thrips pressure was very high, and we decided to place our bets on chemical control. The results were not satisfactory. With chemical control, it’s just no longer possible to guarantee a clean crop. This year we’ve decided together with Biobest to go for a fully integrated approach.”

Manager Jürgen Hochstenbach adds: “Biobest advisor Wesley Akkermans offered us a tailor-made and innovative program. By experience we knew that the predatory mite Amblyseius cucumeris, even when released in high numbers, would not always provide sufficient control of thrips and broad mites. This year, the predatory mite army in our crop is stronger than we’ve ever seen before. This was achieved with release of Swirskii-system in combination with Nutrimite™, as advised by Wesley. It is already obvious that we have achieved much better control of broad mites. Also thrips pressure is much lower than usual. We keep monitoring closely but we are hopeful that we’ll continue to observe this for the remainder of the season.”.

Wesley Akkermans: “In Gerbera we’ve already had good experience working with A. Swirskii. In view of the excellent results with Nutrimite™ in cucumber, I was really convinced that the combination Swirskiisystem with Nutrimite™ would work well in Gerbera. We know that A. swirskii can establish in Gerbera and that it predates on larvae of thrips, eggs of whitefly and broad mites. By applying Nutrimite™ on the crop, the predatory mite population develops much faster and better, even in the absence of pest.

There are several Gerbera varieties in this greenhouse. Everywhere we observe much higher predatory mite densities than ever before. Also, later in the season, when there is a natural decline of predatory mite populations, we expect that this strategy will allow us to keep the upper hand over broad mites and thrips.”

The journal “Onder Glas” already made a very positive evaluation about the use of Nutrimite™ in cucumber. According to this journal, “biocontrol takes a new path with boosting population development in the crop”. Our experience now also validates this conclusion in an ornamental crop.

Nutrimite™ is a specially selected pollen type with high nutritional value for predatory mites. It is being used in a growing number of crops to “boost” population development of predatory mites. It works in particular, with predatory mites that can feed on pollen. For example, populations of A. Swirskii grow explosively when fed with Nutrimite™ on a two-weekly basis. Within a few weeks one will observe exceptionally high predatory mite population levels in the crop.
No need to worry about Nutrimite™ promoting the development of thrips. Nutrimite™ is unattractive for both Californian and Echinotrips. The strong predatory mite population guarantees better control!

Gerbera grower Westmade C.V. is based in Made (Dutch province of North-Brabant) since 1999. The company, founded by the brothers Jan and Willem Batist, has its roots in the Westland. In the nineties the company was split, with the two brothers continuing each with their own site. A few years ago Jan Batist transferred his company to his sons Dennis, Patrick and Kevin. Kevin takes responsibility for crop protection, together with manager Jürgen Hochstenbach.

For more information
Biobest Belgium NV
Lise Verachtert, Marketing Assistant
Ilse Velden 18
2260 Westerlo - Belgium
T +32 14 25 79 80
F +32 14 25 79 82

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