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Archive for the ‘natural enemies’ Category

With Xsect Xtra, Inveragro eliminates pepper pests

Inveragro, located in the valley of San Felipe, Guanajuato, and known for its tradition of producing and drying chili peppers, was having problems with pest control and humidity levels inside the greenhouse. With Xsect Xtra, they were able to reduce the entry of thrips by 50% while increasing their humidity by 15%, resulting in an ideal climate that promotes pepper growth.

Inveragro is a 10-hectare pepper greenhouse that started operations three years ago in the valley of San Felipe, Guanajuato, an area with different challenges for pepper growers due to its semi-arid climate and the presence of insects and pests such as whitefly, thrips, and weevils.

Germán Sandoval Barba, grower at Inveragro, was looking for a climate solution that would help him face these challenges. A year ago, he decided to try Xsect Xtra.

Ideal humid climate = healthier peppers
The pepper is a tropical crop that likes high humidity levels. Ideally the humidity inside a pepper greenhouse should be between 60% and 80%.

During the summer months, humidity inside Inveragro was between 45% and 50%, and it was necessary to keep the windows closed as a way to conserve humidity inside the greenhouse.

“Before installing Svensson’s insect control nets, I was worried that the temperature would rise too much and that it would affect the humidity. Once we tested the nets, the truth is that it was a very positive surprise the results that we had in terms of temperature and humidity”, says Germán Sandoval

Unlike last year when the windows were practically closed, now with Xsect Xtra, the windows are open between 20% and 30%, having a maximum temperature between 32 and 33 degrees. In addition, with Xsect Xtra, the humidity inside the greenhouse increased between 10% and 15%, compared to last year, achieving an ideal humidity between 60% and 75%, which benefits the growth of peppers.

“I thought that I was going to experience disadvantages with this insect control net because, for me, it was more important to sacrifice climate in order to reduce the entry of pests and insects. But to my surprise, I now have a better climate and fewer insects inside the greenhouse,” said Germán Sandoval.

Greenhouses with 50% fewer thrips
One of the biggest challenges for Germán is the entry of pests, and one way to control this problem is through hermeticity. Inveragro has four full-time employees dedicated exclusively to supervising any failure in the hermeticity of the greenhouses. “When I started looking for options to improve our hermeticity, I discovered the Svensson insect control nets, which would help us to improve our conditions,” says Germán Sandoval.

Before installing Xsect Xtra, during the fifth week of the production cycle, thrips were already seen inside the greenhouse, and it was necessary to apply pesticides and/or agrochemicals prior to the release of the biological control. “Now I can release the biological control we use Orius to control thrips, without pesticides and/or agrochemicals applications that could damage the biological control program,” says Germán, “since the installation of Xsect Xtra, 50% fewer thrips have entered the greenhouse”.

Powdery mildew was another climate problem at Inveragro, and it was necessary to apply agrochemicals at least once a week. During the first year with Svensson’s insect control net, Germán continued with the same program, but no powdery mildew was found inside the greenhouse.

“I’ve already modified my program for this year. I’m only going to apply preventive products every 15 days, which reduces by 50% the cost of powdery mildew throughout the year because now I have better climate conditions in terms of humidity, which is more controllable and promotes pepper growth”.

Germán has also noticed improvements in the beneficial program used to control thrips. He used to have 4 Orius per square meter, and this year he only has three orius per square meter, which means savings in this year’s beneficials budget.

“What Xsect Xtra has given me is improved humidity, fewer pests, and reduced phytosanitary diseases.”
 
Finally, Germán shared the following advice for all pepper growers: “I would tell growers who are afraid to try these nets not to be afraid. In the beginning, I hesitated, but it is something that will help them. What it can generate in the climate is minimal and what it can help them in the phytosanitary issue is very broad. The net pays for itself”.

For more information:
Ludvig Svensson

info@ludvigsvensson.com www.ludvigsvensson.com    

Publication date: Mon 14 Nov 2022

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“Air pollution threatens natural pest control”

When fields of oilseed rape are exposed to diesel exhaust and/or ozone – both found in emissions from diesel-burning vehicles and industry – the number of parasitic insects available to control aphids drops significantly, according to research published today.

The team, led by scientists from the University of Reading, used special equipment to deliver controlled amounts of diesel exhaust and ozone to oilseed rape plants. They also added aphids to the plants and measured the reproductive success of parasitic wasps that habitually lay their eggs inside a freshly stung aphid.

Dr. James Ryalls, University of Reading said: “Even at the levels we used, which were lower than safe maximums set by environmental regulators, the overall numbers of parasitic insects still fell. This is a worrying result as many sustainable farming practices rely on natural pest control to keep aphids and other unwelcome creatures away from valuable crops.


Parasitic wasp and aphid – Peter Swatton, Rothamsted Research 

“Diesel and ozone appear to make it more difficult for the wasps to find aphids to prey upon and so the wasp population would drop over time.”

While the majority of parasitic wasp species decreased in polluted environments, one species of parasitic wasp appeared to do better when both diesel and ozone were present. However, the researchers found that this combination of pollutants also correlated with changes in the plants which might explain the finding.

With both pollutants present, oilseed rape plants produced more of the compounds that give brassica family crops, including mustards and cabbages, their distinctive bitter, hot, and peppery flavor notes. These usually repel insects but in the case of Diaretiella rapae wasps, there was greater abundance and reproductive success associated with diesel exhaust and ozone together.

Dr Ryalls said: “Diaretiella rapae particularly likes to prey on cabbage aphids, which love to eat brassica crops.

“We know that some of the flavor and smell compounds in oilseed rape are converted into substances that do attract D.rapae. So, we could speculate that the stronger smell attracts the wasps and they are more successful in finding and preying upon aphids, that way. It could be that D.rapae is a good choice for pest control in diesel and ozone polluted areas.

“This really goes to show that the only way to predict and mitigate the impacts of air pollutants is to study whole systems.”

As transport shifts away from diesel and towards electric motors, air pollution will change. Knowing how pest-regulation service providers, such as parasitic wasps, respond to these progressive changes, will be essential to planning mitigation strategies to ensure sustainable food security now, and in the future. This research shows that we also must consider the impact of pollution on the plants, wasps, and prey insects, and the interactions between all three.

For more information:
University of Reading
www.reading.ac.uk 

Publication date: Thu 10 Nov 2022

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Number I                                                                                                                     January, 2023

NEW INTERACTIVE PATHWAY KEYS FOR IDENTIFYING INSECT PESTS OF RICE AND THEIR NATURAL ENEMIES

The correct identification of insect pests and their natural enemies is critical for developing sound and sustainable pest management strategies. As agriculture intensified and insect pests became more problematic, identification of major insect pests and their natural enemies became increasingly relevant when designing appropriate pest management strategies, especially for rice. 

Appointed as the first entomologist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) based in the Philippines, Dr. Mano D. Pathak, established a comprehensive rice insect pest and natural enemy collection in the early 1960s. The aim was to support national rice research programs identify specimens in their own rice arthropod collections. Subsequently, to support this objective, a dichotomous key to over 862 species was published in the chapter Taxonomy of Rice Insect Pests and their Arthropod Parasites and Predators, authored by insect and spider taxonomist, Alberto T. Barrion, with James A. Litsinger, in the book, Biology and Management of Rice Insects,edited by E. A. Heinrichs and published by IRRI in 1994.

In the 1990s, a similar collection program was begun to establish a rice insect and natural enemy collection at WARDA (West African Rice Development Association), now AfricaRice. Specimens of major insect pests and natural enemies found in West African rice were identified by Dr Barrion, who then created an illustrated, dichotomous identification key which was published in the book, Rice Feeding Insects and Selected Natural Enemies in West Africa, authored by E. A. Heinrichs and Alberto Barrion (2002).

Since the printed versions of both books have been out-of-print for several years, a recent upgrade of the Lucid software program https://www.lucidcentral.org provided the possibility of creating interactive, digital versions of both keys. Initially developed for creating matrix identification keys, the Lucid builder now enables paper-based dichotomous keys to be converted and “published” as online, interactive pathway keys. Courtesy of IAPPS, the IRRI and West African keys are now freely available online. You can access them here. Please note that we will soon add 450 photos of rice insect pests and their natural enemies to the Taxonomy of Rice Insect Pests and their Arthropod Parasites and Predators key. For further information, please email support@plantprotection.org

Prof. Geoff Norton

IAPPS President

E-mail: geoffn86@gmail.com

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