One of the challenges of biologically based Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is that natural enemies can only establish once pests are present. This head start allows pests to reproduce, causing plant damage, increasing the time and expense required for pest control and sometimes solicits chemical correction as an interim solution. Chemical residues may then delay natural enemy release and increase the required application rate of natural enemies.
The idea of providing supplementary nutrition to natural enemies, allowing them to establish and multiply in the absence of prey, the “standing army” approach, is not new. However, commercial supplementary nutrition products have only started appearing in recent years. Some of the available products lose viability quickly, thus requiring multiple, labor intensive applications. Most of the products in the market target specific groups of predators and some even feed and invigorate the pests.
In 2019, BioBee launched BioArtFeed, a premium quality feed based on decapsulated Artemia cysts, with extraordinary long viability, post application. BioArtFeed is also unique as it provides suitable feed for all the key predator groups: predatory mites, predatory bugs and mirid bugs. “BioArtFeed enables pre-establishment of a community of predator species and allows better control over the way the biological control system works” explains Dr. Amir Grosman, the Senior Research Entomologist at BioBee.
During 2020, BioBee introduced two combo products; BioOrius Combo and BioSwirski combo. Both products allow growers to simultaneously apply the beneficial and the feed. This combination simplifies and improves field applications with exact feed dosage in the same place as beneficials are applied.