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“Rapid build-up of Orius with Power Food Plus”

- Bertus van Dijk - paprika nursery Bestpeppers, Est -

Orius predatory bugs are excellent thrips fighters. They are therefore widely used in sweet pepper cultivation. One point for improvement is the population build-up in early spring. With the new Power Food Plus, which was specially developed for Orius by Royal Brinkman and the Spanish company Agrobío, that takes much less effort. This is the conclusion of Bertus van Dijk of Bestpeppers and grower Kees van Tuyl. They have better control of thrips than in previous years.
  • The Bestpeppers pepper nursery of the Van den Berg family in Est comprises almost 11 ha of peppers, divided over two locations. Bertus van Dijk coordinates the crop protection there. One of the challenges in his profession is thrips control. In addition to the predatory mite Transeius montdorensis, the predatory bug Orius is a very effective biological control agent for the feared pest.

    “Orius supplements the predatory mite well, but it is not always easy to get the population build-up off the ground in early spring", he says. "Almost every sweet pepper grower will recognise this. You can support this by feeding the predatory bugs. There are various products on the market for this purpose, but they do not always work properly. If the population of Orius is difficult to build up, you have to keep introducing new specimens, which can be very expensive. I therefore wanted to put it to the test when crop protection specialist Carolien van den Biggelaar of Royal Brinkman suggested that I try their new product Power Food Plus.”

    "We put it to the test"

    -Bertus van Dijk, Bestpeppers

  • On the left Carolien van den Biggelaar, Royal Brinkman crop protection specialist, on the right Bertus van Dijk, Bestpeppers.

Developed for Orius

Power Food Plus was developed by Agrobío, a producer of biological control agents. The composition of the supplementary feed product developed specially for Orius is unique and so is its effectiveness. "Orius loves it," says the crop protection specialist. "Compared to other products, the activity and reproduction of the predatory bugs start more quickly and they also spread more rapidly through the greenhouse in which they are introduced. This is why they make a significant contribution to thrips control sooner and you can stay ahead of the problem for longer or even at all. What is more, it is noticeable that the predatory mite Transeius montdorensis also develops much more strongly on this feed, which also makes an extra contribution to combating thrips, spider mite and whitefly.”

One garden fed, one garden not

Van Dijk uses Orius as standard on both gardens. This year he did so on 17 and 24 February and on 3 March, each time with 0.5 predatory bugs per m2. Initially, he fed with Ephestia, which he thought was not ideal. After Carolien pointed out Power Food Plus to him, he wanted to test the effect on one location. "The difference soon became apparent," he says. "On 10 March I fed for the first time with this new product. As the thrips population had already increased, I planted 1 extra Orius per m2 on 23 March and supplemented for the second time. Coincidentally, the thrips pressure in this garden was also the highest. Despite this, it was here that the desired balance was most rapidly achieved. I can only attribute that to supplementary feeding. Orius responds well to Power Food Plus.”

Population build-up of predatory bugs against thrips takes much less effort
-Carolien van den Biggelaar, Royal Brinkman

Nymphs within two weeks

  • Grower Kees van Tuyl from Zaltbommel has a similar experience. At the pepper and raspberry farm he runs with his brother Geert-Jan, he planted 2 Orius per m2 on 3 hectares of peppers from week 5 for six weeks in a row and consistently added Power Food Plus. "In the past, Orius was always very difficult to catch on. Despite the large numbers we set out for that reason, thrips usually got the upper hand after a while. It is a recurring problem that can cause a lot of damage. You have to stay on top of it.”

    “Supplementary feeding had rarely led to better results for Van Tuyl, so he had no objection to using the new product about which his advisor was so enthusiastic. Was Carolien right? "Power Food Plus makes a big difference", says Jan Bel, responsible for crop protection at Van Tuyl. "Already after two weeks we saw nymphs running and a week later there were many more. Thrips has always been a serious problem here. It is still present in the crop, but for the first time we are not talking about a thrips problem. It is now July and we have the pest well under control.”

    "After only two weeks, we saw nymphs running"

    -Jan Bel, pepper nursery Van Tuyl

  • Jan Bel, responsible for crop protection at pepper grower Van Tuyl in Zaltbommel.

Next year again

Van de Berg and Van Tuyl are convinced of the added value of Power Food Plus. Both indicate that they intend to pursue the same strategy next year. When Van Tuyl is asked whether he will then sell fewer Orius than the 12 per m2 he is used to, he says: "Probably not. I admit that it costs a lot. The same applies to supplementary feeding, but the results we are seeing now far outweigh this. I also think that a robust Orius population is less vulnerable when we do have to make chemical corrections. We prefer to be on the safe side. Next year we will use a lot of predatory bugs in combination with supplementary feeding.”


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