The Red or Two-Spotted Mite is a major pest of almost all protected and some outdoor crops. At this time of year as environmental conditions are at their hottest and driest, populations of the pest can develop quickly and cause significant damage.
Spider Mites feed on the contents of plant cells causing mottling, discolouration and eventually stunting of growth. Heavy infestations often result in the creation of webbing around foliage, flowers and fruits.
When infestations can be caught early, then the introduction of biological predators can be extremely effective. When damage is already significant and webbing is seen, a suitable pesticide spray is used to knock the population down before biocontrols are introduced.
We are currently in the peak time for aphids, as we move away from the cooler temperatures this season which has delayed the emergence of many pest species, the increasing temperatures and daylength we are now experiencing speeds up aphid lifecycles creating environments for colonies to thrive if left unchecked.
More commonly known as black or greenfly, aphids are sap-feeding soft-bodied pests presenting a major challenge for growers and arguably are the most significant pest for growers due to their ability to cause major crop destruction and distortion to plants, acting as a vector for virus and creating environments for diseases.
Aphids are mainly found under the leaf and on plant stems they can either be identified within colonies or as single adults with adults sometimes winged; varying in colour depending on species and what crop they are feeding on with the most common species either green or black.
The selection of biological species to match the species of pests can at times be tricky and we offer a wide range of biologicals for aphid control for precision targeting of different species.
Two species of thrips are commonly found on protected crops: Western Flower Thrips (WFT), (Frankliniella occidentalis) and Onion or Tobacco Thrips (Thrips tabaci). Larvae and adults pierce the leaf surface and suck out cell contents causing extensive 'silvering'. WFT can also transmit many viruses to crops.
Other species of thrips are also being found, particularly on specimen plants. There is a pheromone for monitoring of Western Flower Thrips.
Many species of Lepidoptera lay their eggs on commercial crops where their caterpillars can cause extensive damage. Currently, the primary biological control is the nematode, steinernema carpocapsae, while the predatory bug Macrolophusand lacewing larvae will both feed on moth eggs as well as young caterpillars.
Pheremone traps can be used to monitor adult moth activity of a number of species. Lepinox Plus (Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki) is a biopesticide spray with curative activity for caterpillar.
Tuta absoluta arrived in the UK in 2009, and by 2012 had caused serious losses for tomato growers. Tuta absoluta is a pest on aubergines, peppers and chillies and has a strong preference for tomatoes.
One female can lay up to 260 eggs in her lifetime, with eggs laid on the underside of leaves, once hatched the larvae penetrate the leaf surface, stems, and fruit to begin mining, the most damaging part of the Tuta absoluta’s lifecycle which has the potential to cause between 50-100% loss in yield. With a rapid lifecycle ranging between 24-38 days depending on environmental conditions.