Last summer Biobest introduced its new weapon against aphids - Eupeodes-System. This year Biobest advisor, Bart Elseviers, is working with a number of pepper growers who have added it to their control program and are getting good results.
“With the recent loss of many chemical crop protection products against aphids, pepper growers are increasingly shifting their focus to biological control,” says Bart. “The launch of Eupeodes-System is therefore extremely timely - a voracious predator it attacks aphids even at lower temperatures.
“Of course, we already had the parasitic wasp Aphidius-System and the gall midge Aphidoletes-System. Used in combination with Eupeodes-System, growers can now reduce aphid populations even more efficiently."
Active from 10°C
A highly effective predator, the Eupeodes larvae feed on all common aphid species found in horticultural crops. As a generalist, this hoverfly can also contribute to the control of mealybugs, whiteflies, thrips, and spider mites.
"We recommend growers introduce the hoverfly weekly, at a rate of 0.05 pupae/m²,” says Bart. “This can begin early in the season, as Eupeodes-System is active from 10°C. Subsequently, the predator needs sufficient sunlight for the population to grow rapidly."
Aphid hotspots can also effectively be controlled using Eupeodes.
Bart advises introducing extra pupae into hotspots identified in the crop. "A dose of 0.1 insect/m² per week is often sufficient,” he says. “However, it is important to maintain these extra introductions for at least three weeks - as this delivers the best results.”
“Eupeodes-System has a voracious appetite and will quickly get to work in the hotspots. In addition, adult hoverflies are strong fliers, with good searching ability, so they can quickly locate hotspots throughout the crop.”
And as to Biobest’s other hoverfly – Sphaerophoria-System – Bart recommends making introductions after Eupeodes-System.
"Eupeodes gives optimum results up to 25°C,” he explains. “At higher temperatures, Sphaerophoria performs better and can take over. Employing a strategy using a combination of both hoverflies, growers can cover the entire summer.
“As temperatures cool again in autumn, Eupeodes-System again becomes the obvious choice – making a valuable addition to aphid control strategies.”