Cucumber: monitoring strategy for flying thrips

cucumbersTo measure is to know, install blue sticky traps in your crops to detect thrips on time.

In this time of year we advise cucumber and gherkin growers in Western Europe to install traps in their greenhouses. “In the beginning of a new cultivation period, growers should hang these above their plants,” says Wesley Akkermans, Sustainable Crop Management Specialist at Biobest. “This is the place where thrips establishes itself first.”

Many pest insects like whitefly, leafminers and aphids are attracted by the colour yellow. Thrips, one of the most common pests in cucumbers, don’t dislike yellow, but their true favourite is blue. Moreover beneficials like parasitic wasps are not attracted by this colour.

The rule of thumb for blue Biobest’s Bug-Scan® traps is 40 per hectare of protected crops. To monitor the population evolution properly a weekly or two weekly thrips ‘check and count’ will do.

When thrips has been detected, it is important to react promptly with curative control measures, for example the introduction of predatory mites like Amblyseius swirskii and/or Amblyseius cucumeris. “If in the past thrips appear on a frequent basis, we advise to apply these mites as a preventive strategy” says Wesley. “Also in this case frequent monitoring remains advisable.”

Biocontrol expert Sam Newsome: NutrimiteTM “a game changer” (21-10-2014)

New tool in biocontrol toolbox

Van Wingerden International started working with Biobest and biocontrol 15 years ago. Sam Newsome a grower at VWI is very familiar with the full array of biocontrol tools: beneficial insects and mites, bio-insecticides, banker plants, etc. He has been determined to continuously expand the scope for biocontrol in his crops. Biobest’s NutrimiteTM, a food supplement for predatory mites, adds a totally new product category to the biocontrol toolbox. Sam is convinced that this addition resolves a number of practical and economical bottlenecks in biocontrol. Greater scope for successful biocontrol, means more options to avoid recurring problems with chemical pest control such as residue issues and resistance of pests to chemical pesticides.

Sam Newsome: “Predatory mites have to sustain the stresses of transportation and release, then they must go after food in the crop. Without a steady food source, multiple rounds of preventative releases are necessary. With the addition of NutrimiteTM to a biocontrol program, populations of predatory mites such as A. swirskii build up much faster. We continue to do further testing to adapt our biocontrol programs, but there is a compelling logic to make sure that predators released can survive and reproduce in the crop.”

Success in miniature roses

Sam highlights the following example: ”We are using NutrimiteTM on miniature roses. We grow these year-round with minimal overhead irrigation. We do not like to apply a lot of bio-controls right before a big harvest, since most of the predators would likely be lost during that process. That means there is often a two week period between introductions. With NutrimiteTM I can help our beneficial population reproduce and stay with us during that gap and that definitely helps me sleep a little better.”

Bio beats chemistry

“Chemical options are become fewer and less effective with time. With the right level of expertise and good expert advice, biocontrol is an economical, effective and sustainable solution.” NutrimiteTM gives me more options for successful biocontrol, in terms of cost and effectiveness. It avoids wasting resources on releasing beneficials with
no perspective of successful establishment. That makes me and VWI happy. I’m sure I will continue to feed my mites on this healthy diet, and I’m excited to find out just how much it can help our bio-control operation.”


Sam’s practical recommendations: “We stayed with the recommended rate of about 200 grams per acre, using the Makita blower with Biobest’s Nutri-App attachment. At first I found it difficult to move fast enough down narrow pathways and get the fine pollen particles distributed evenly over the whole area intended. Now I mix NutrimiteTM with an inert carrier. This allows me to move steadily and spread the product evenly. We have had no problem with this approach and got great results.”

For more information contact Biobest Canada ( or Ronald Valentin (

Yigit Greenhouse Company becomes Turkey’s biocontrol champion and puts Biobest logo on pack

Yigit Greenhouse Co. is owned by Mr. Hamit Yigit and situated in Yozgat in Central Anatolia, about 180 km from Ankara. The company started in 2011 with 10 ha of high-tech greenhouses and expanded to a current surface of almost 20 ha. The company grows different types of tomato and cucumber. Initially, the growers relied entirely on chemical control. They quickly realized this was not solving their problems.
Pesticide residues stood in the way of their export ambitions. In spite of high expenditure for purchasing and applying pesticides, the results were unsatisfactory. In 2013 the company started using biological control as its first line of defense in the context of an IPM strategy. With high quality Biobest products and specialist advice from Antilsan, Biobest’s distributor in Turkey, the company quickly became one of Turkey’s largest users of biological control.

“Our company provides high quality products to leading domestic and international customers”, says company manager Mr. Özer Ayhan. “We export to different international markets including the Netherlands, Russia and England. We also supply leading Turkish retailers and high profile customers such as Turkish airlines. It is very important for us to be able to consistently provide products in line with our customer’s requirements in terms of absence of pesticide residues. With chemical control, this is very difficult to guarantee. Also, in spite of high costs for pesticides and labor to apply the pesticides, the result was certainly not always satisfactory. These were key reasons for us to start an ambitious biocontrol program in our crop planted during the last months of 2013.”

Mr. Murat Cicekli, the company’s crop advisor, says :”Our number one problem in tomato isTuta absoluta.
Whitefly and spider mite are also important. Biobest proposed us a biological strategy to deal with these problems. The cornerstone of the strategy is the use of the predatory bugNesidioris tenuis, which predates on Tuta eggs and whitefly. In addition to Nesidioris, they offer several tools to monitor and trap Tuta. Biological solutions to deal with spider mite and aphids are also provided”.

Mr. Özer Ayhan and Mr. Murat Cicekli agree: ”Our collaboration with Antilsan and Biobest is excellent. Their technical advisors come and monitor our greenhouse on a regular basis. They have a lot of experience, and they are happy to share it with us at all times. As a sign of the trust we put in this collaboration, we have decided to print the Biobest logo next to our own Agrolife trademark on our tomato boxes. Agrolife is our premium trademark, sold with Globalgap and ITU quality certificates. With the Biobest logo on the box, we want to proudly show how biocontrol helps us guarantee a healthy and high-quality product. We are confident and continue to invest in our infrastructure and in the expansion of our product range”.