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Mechanical spraying of trichogramma in field, a unique and innovative tool for the control of corn borer

Published on: | Created by: Roxanne S. Bernard

Tags: sprayer, trichogramma

Woman on a motorized who mechanically sprays beneficial insects in the field
Silvia Torodova, president of Anatis Bioprotection
Silvia Torodova

As the new year approaches, we aspire to create new techniques that will increase biological control around the world. « Since its inception, Anatis Bioprotection goal has been to reduce the use of synthetic insecticide in the environment but for succeed, we need to develop mechanical application techniques that will reduce introduction cost and will allow the application to large crop areas. » explains Silvia Torodova, PhD., President of Anatis Bioprotection.

In recent years, many people of agricultural communities in Quebec share this vision and are working to improve the methods of biological control application. Among the latest advances, we are pround to introduce the use of conventional pesticide equipment to spray Trichogrammas.

Trichogramma wasps spraying : Innovative and unique

Trichogramma waps
Trichogramma waps

Trichogramma are small wasps that parasitize insect eggs, mainly moths and butterflies. In Sweet Corn, the species Trichogramma ostriniae and Trichogramma brassicae are used for corn borer ( Ostriniae nubilalis) control. For now, the introduction technique is to introduce cards containing trichogramma pupae. Because of the cost of labor and the time required to apply the cards (30 to 40 minutes per hectare), this techinique is difficult to apply to large cultivated areas.

Mohamed Khelifi, professeur
Mohamed Khelifi

Professor Mohamed Khelifi, PhD., and his research team from the Department of soils and Food Engineering at Université Laval in Quebec, in collaboration with Anatis Bioprotection, has developed a unique and innovative technique using a conventional spraying equipment already used by most producers.

Mr. Khelifi explains « the spraying does not require the hiring of skilled workers or the introduction of cards, which results in substantial savings in time and money ». A tested technique that demonstrates efficiency and simplicity!

Professor Mohamed Khelifi's article (in French) : Un outil unique et novateur pour la lutte contre la pyrale du maïs

Spraying biological control agents

In recent years, insects and predatory mites mechanical application has become more popular in greenhouse and outdoor crops. For now, it is mainly done with small blower machines.

Insects blower
Example of a small leaf-blower modified for the application of predatory mites, here a model Makita adapted by the team of Plant Products.

At Quebec's Center of Expertise in Ornamental Horticulture (IQDHO) 2017 Greenhouse Producer’s Day, guest expert Suzanne Wainwright-Evans of Buglady Consulting said « the spraying of biological agents can significantly reduce labor costs. In addition to saving time, these agents are equitably distributed in the crop and reduce risk of secondary infestation.

Due to pressure or poor calibration, mechanical application can cause injury to biological control agents. Despite this fact, Ms. Wainwright-Evans persists « Saving time and equitable distribution make up for the predatory mites being slightly injured ».

What about a suitable solution for large outdoor surfaces?

The results of Professor Khelifi’s team will soon make it possible to use a conventional sprayer to introduce biological control agents in field. This technology will be very useful for growers using trichogrammas or predatory mites such as Neoseiulus fallacis , Neoseiulus cucumeris , Phytoseilus persimilis and Amblyseius andersoni .

Anatis Bioprotection, with the help of its partners, will work on the advancement of this new technique in the coming years.

Additional information

  1.   - Trichogramma pupae spraying technique development for biocontrol of the European corn borer in sweet corn crops