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New soil-dwelling predatory mite very effective against thrips infestations
27 August 2010
Koppert Biological Systems is launching a new product to support integrated thrips control. The soil-dwelling predatory mite Macrocheles robustulus will be officially introduced at the International Horti Fair 2010 in October under the name Macro-Mite. The first results from the world of practice are very promising.
Macrocheles is a relatively large soil-dwelling predatory mite with a huge and diverse appetite. Independent research has shown that it is also very effective in combating thrips pupae. However, it also feeds on mosquito and fly larvae as well as the eggs and young caterpillars of Duponchelia, to name just a few of the items on its menu. In short, it's a real glutton.
Another advantage of Macrocheles is that it can establish a large population much more quickly than Hypoaspis species, which means that this predatory mite has a shorter response time when problems arise. It can be used very effectively in the ornamentals sector.
Macrocheles robustulus should be released at a density of 250 mites per square metre. The use of a cover layer, such as Biotop, increases its effectiveness, as the extra soil nutrients added stimulate the predatory mite population and magnify the result obtained.
The results of initial trials with Macro-Mite were so promising that Koppert expects the use of this mite to increase very rapidly after the official launch at the Horti Fair.
As Macrocheles is native to a great many countries, official authorisation for its use is not expected to present any significant problems.
As early as 2005, Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture was already carrying out experiments with soil-dwelling predatory mites to combat thrips, and discovered Macrocheles; this mite turned out to be an improvement on the existing Hypoaspis predatory mites. In recent years, Koppert has thoroughly investigated how Macrocheles could be produced in large quantities. As a result, the product is now available for application in practice.