Juan Luis Pérez, Managing Director of Biobest Sistemas Biológicos, says: “The application of Nutrimite before flowering facilitates the early introduction and rapid establishment of A. swirskii in the crop. It improves the control of whitefly in the early stages of the crop and hence avoids chemical treatments and their negative effect on beneficial insects. It is an important advantage compared to the traditional practice in the production of sweet pepper in Almería, where A. swirskii, due to its ability to feed on pollen of the crop itself, is traditionally introduced coincidentally with the appearance of the first flowers, usually around the fourth or fifth week after planting. During the weeks before the introduction of A. swirskii, there can be a lot of whitefly close to the edges or below the roof ventilation windows, especially when removing the lime layer that covers the greenhouse plastic. In this case, it is very common to resort to chemical treatments that increase the production cost and may also negatively impact the success of later releases of A. swirskii and the biological control programme in general.”
The growers of Almería confirm what has already been proven in field trials. “I have obtained excellent results,” says Isaías Benavente Marín, a sweet pepper grower. “I applied Nutrimite during the third week of planting and the quantity of swirskii in my crop tripled. I easily observed between 20 and 30 predatory mites per leaf. This has allowed me to control whitefly and red spider mite; I have not even observed any hot spots, nor plants stained by honeydew or sooty mold. A very high presence of swirskii in my plants also allowed me not to apply agrochemicals.”
Biobest Sistemas Biológicos SL proposes the following preventive strategy in sweet pepper: one week before flowering, introduce A. swirskii in sachets (Swirskii-Breeding-System) throughout the crop, supported with loose material (Swirskii-System) and Nutrimite in the zones prone to the entry of whitefly such as the edges, under the roof windows and near the double entrance door to the greenhouse. Approximately three to five days later, it is recommended to apply Nutrimite throughout the crop. Two weeks after removing whitewash, it is best to reapply Nutrimite. Using the Nutri-App spray gun, the application of the Nutrimite pollen is convenient and fast, approximately between one hour and one hour and a quarter per hectare.