Erik Kerklaan of Biopol and Michel, responsible for crop protection at OrchiDiva
Kouwenhoven is cultivation advisor at Royal Brinkman and advises growers about (integrated) crop protection. He has been visiting OrchiDiva for many years and Michel is responsible for integrated crop protection in the business. During the last few months, a new product MICALI from Biopol Natural has been used - and the predatory mites are looking good.
MICALI is the product in which the predatory mite Neoseiulus californicus takes a leading role. This predatory mite is apparently effective against spider mite and can be used preventatively. At OrchiDiva, they have already been working for 8 years with predatory mites, but they were not always satisfied with the quality of them. Now, with the Biopol Natural product, it's a different story. "These predatory mites are really alive. They shoot off in all directions. And that is what you instinctively expect," says Michel.
A tour round the glasshouse
“Neoseiulus Californicus is a generalist among predatory mite types," explains Eric Kerklaan of Biopol Natural. "That means that it will eat other preys including thrip larvae. Unlike other spider mite predatory mites, such as Phytoseiulus persimiliswhich, it does not eat its own kind. The predatory mite Neoseiulus californicus can also be kept hungry for a while when it has nothing to eat. Then it just doesn't lay eggs. Therefore, this insect is useful for prevention: you release them and in principle don't have to worry about them." But stay alert.
Biology is the norm
Biologically integrated crop protection is increasingly becoming the norm, especially in floriculture. "Nine out of the ten growers are seriously working with this," says Kouwenhoven. "There has been, for about the last ten years, a culture change. The older generation is more likely to reach for chemical solutions - because they have always done it that way and it seems to work. However, this is not completely true. There are always places you don't or can't reach. The times are changing: you're not allowed to use as much, it's becoming more expensive and clients are setting higher targets. Some people are already talking about residue-free. To conclude, organic is simply cheaper than chemicals, especially looking to the future."
Spider mite is always lurking in the cut and pot orchids and at OrchiDiva, they are talking about it. "We have often had problems in the past with elements coming from third parties," says Jurgen Besuijen, who runs the nursery with his father. "There was always something that came with it and we have had a lot of problems with spider mites in the past. The MICALI product has really shown results in that regard."
The predatory mites Neoseiulus Californicus were actually based on a feeling. "Over time, you get a feeling for it," says Michel. "At a given moment, you know what you have used in the past and how much you need." In short, an advantage in our cultivation."
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