Right now there are new tomato plants again at all locations of Dutch grower Schenkeveld. "The lighted locations obviously have had plants for a bit longer," writes Berry Baruch in a new blog post. "There we are already harvesting, but with the unlighted cultivation we are still waiting for color on the tomatoes."
"In order to prevent pests, we work with biological pest control, including the Macrolophus. These predatory bugs are used to combat almost all hostile insects in tomato cultivation.
Our strategy to use the Macrolophus to fight pests worked last year, until in April we met the Nesidiocoris. This is also a predator and related to the Macrolophus. One would think, it is good to have two bugs that keep everything in order.
Unfortunately, the Nesi has a very detrimental characteristic. Both predator bugs also feed on juices from the plant. The Macro pricks in the young fruit at the top of the plant for plant juices. These small punctures of the Macro can cause slight damage to the tomato's skin, which is often not visible in the harvested tomato.
The Nesi pricks high in the stem near the head of the plant. It does this several times, creating punctures, thereby reducing the firmness of the stem, causing the head to break at the slightest touch. The Nesi also pricks in the flowers, causing them to fall off the bunch and so influencing the growing negatively. An infestation of Nesi predator bugs often starts with a small part in the greenhouse after which this quickly expands in 6 weeks.
The solution is then to eradicate the Nesi, only then also the Macros will die. This in turn gives free rein for all hostile insects. The goal this year is not to have the Nesi, but to work with the Macros and to finish the year with biologics. By scouting well and intervening in time and by working very hygienically, we want to stay ahead of the pests, including the Nesi."