Award winning Nutrimite™ – the world’s first commercial food supplement to boost predatory mites in crops – has been launched in the UK by Biobest UK at the Cucumber Conference in Essex.
“Nutrimite can help cucumber growers improve the effectiveness of biocontrol strategies for key pests – such as thrips, whitefly and spider mite – while reducing the overall cost of the programme,” explains Mark Wilde, technical account manager at Biobest UK. “Based on specially selected pollen, this highly nutritious food source means growers can manipulate the development of pollen feeding polyphagous predatory mites, such as Amblyseius swirskii, Amblyseius cucumeris and Amblyseius andersoni.”
Nutrimite enables the mite population to be accelerated and enhanced in the absence of the pest or natural occurring pollen – for example in cucumbers (which do not produce pollen) and in soft fruit crops before flowering. Adding a new product category to the biocontrol toolbox, Biobest’s food supplement also allows growers to establish populations of predator mites exactly where they want them in the crop.
“Predatory mites have to sustain the stresses of transportation and release and then go in search of food,” explains Mark. “There is compelling logic to make sure once released they can survive and reproduce in the crop. Using Nutrimite populations of beneficial polyphagous mites have been show to build up extremely quickly.”
Applied in programmed introductions, the food supplement can be conveniently stored in a freezer and is quick and easy to apply using an adapted Matika blower with a Biobest Nutri-app attachment.
With over 20 years experience pioneering and implementing IPM strategies in UK protected salad, soft fruit and ornamental crops, Mark Wilde believes the introduction of Nutrimite is a game changer. “By feeding predatory mites in the crop growers can now boost population development and target establishment exactly where they want it,” he says. “Nutrimite is already proving popular with growers in mainland Europe on a range of crops including cucumbers, peppers, soft fruit and ornamentals.”