The increasingly hotter summers are leading to growing pressure from thrips in leek. Besides the decreasing range of chemical insecticides, this makes controlling this pest an increasing challenge for many growers. As a result growers are increasingly searching for alternative methods.
Tim Bos, Agri Account Manager, states, "A few years ago, we started combating thrips using Orius in Spain, where we quickly observed positive results. This led us to test this approach in the Netherlands."
Natural predator against thrips
The Orius predatory bug is a natural predator of thrips and is used in combination with banker plants, Lobularia, which are planted or sown at the beginning of the season. It is important to release Orius early in the crop cycle so that the population can build up, ensuring effective thrips control from the start. When utilizing natural enemies, a preventive approach is crucial to stay ahead of pest insects.
"We have conducted trials in the Netherlands for 3 years, and we've seen good results. This has not gone unnoticed. Some growers have started adopting this method of thrips control," adds Tim Bos.
The Advantages of biological thrips control
Using banker plants and releasing Orius is relatively easy and requires only two to three applications in addition to planting the banker plants. Subsequently, it's a matter of monitoring, providing peace of mind and enabling growers to focus on other aspects of their business. This approach significantly reduces workload during the season.
An additional advantage is the increase in biodiversity on your field, as no insecticides are applied. This attracts more natural enemies that will help in the control of various pests.
Moreover, this method of thrips control reduces environmental impact. This includes fewer substances in surface water and a reduction in fuel consumption since there is less use of machinery in the field.
Prepared for the Future
The chemical insecticides that can be applied are becoming more limited and are increasingly subject to discussion. Therefore, being well-prepared for the future is crucial. "By starting now, you can begin with a part of your acreage and have time to familiarize yourself with the system," says Tim Bos.
Currently, additional trials are being conducted in Germany, Belgium, France, and Poland. Promising results similar to those observed in Spain and the Netherlands are also seen here. "But we're looking beyond that," says Tim. "We have started trials in other crops, including onions."
Working Together for Sustainable Solutions in Thrips Control
By collaborating with distributors and providing guidance, we support growers throughout the entire growing season. This enables us to successfully combat thrips together.