Boosting numbers of beneficial predators with new insect refuges

Encourage beneficial insects to establish and flourish in fruit trees with a new bioactive refuge system for UK orchards, exclusive to Agrovista.

Wignest is a predator shelter for beneficial insects such as earwigs, spiders, ladybirds and lacewings. It works by providing food and a sanctuary for beneficials in the tree canopy, to support natural pest control.

Alex Radu, Technical Manager for Agrovista Fruit, said: “Earwigs and other beneficial predators feed on a wide range of important pest species in orchards including aphids, codling moth, spider mites, scale insects, midges and suckers.

“The refuges are loaded with a vital food source, important for when there are insufficient insects to feed on at certain points during the season. They also provide a convenient shelter within the tree.

“If we can encourage populations of beneficials each year, this will have a natural control-effect on pests, allowing us to streamline insecticide treatments and target more effectively.”

To install the full system, one Wignest should be placed on each tree within an orchard on a branch against the trunk. They can also be used for young trees on a post and wire system.

Due to earwigs producing only one generation per year, the Wignest system could play a vital role in boosting populations, proving a valuable tool in the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) toolbox.

Mr Radu added: “Although Wignest isn’t just for earwigs, we focus on this helpful insect because they feed on such a range of pests. In recent years, they haven’t established successfully in some orchards due to poor habitat, reduced food availability and the impact of certain farming practices.

“Wignest is a simple solution for both organic and conventional orchard systems that allows us to address the issues of establishment and success of orchard beneficials.”

Wignest is manufactured by Russell IPM Ltd and distributed exclusively by Agrovista. An Innovate UK project, it was developed by consortium partners Russell IPM Ltd., NIAB EMR, University of Greenwich, Worldwide Fruit, Fruition and Agrovista. For more information, contact enquiries@agrovista.co.uk.

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