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.
Now, in 2020, BioBee is launching BioArtLine. This patent-pending, innovative delivery system is a 100-meter tape bearing fine lines of BioArtFeed, glued on the edges of both sides of the tape. This product functions as a multi-purpose platform: a feeding station which attracts, feeds and facilitates mobility as well as offering shelter (domatia) and oviposition sites.
High humidity on the leaf surface and exposure to sunlight, reduces the durability of feed applied directly on foliage. The installation of BioArtLine under the canopy limits exposure to direct sunlight and reduces the contact with the highly humid leaf surface. As a result, the feed on BioArtLine remains viable for a longer period of time (up to 10 weeks!), hence reducing both the application frequency and the associated labor.
BioArtLine is the perfect solution for crops such as cannabis and ornamentals, where there is a serious concern regarding feed residue on the plant and end product.
Moreover, the ease of application, the even distribution of the feed, the low waste rate and BioArtLine’s suitability to a wide variety of crops such as tomatoes, cucumber, eggplant, cut-flowers, ornamentals and cannabis; are additional incentives to growers worldwide.
“In an age of higher customer awareness and new stringent residue restriction legislations, BioArtLine is a major contribution to the “standing army” approach; reducing the need for spraying harmful chemicals and promoting a more reliable establishment of natural enemies, while lowering the labor costs for growers” explains Ran Gan-El, BioBee’s CEO, “BioArtLine is a winning solution on all levels”.