For the first time, it is possible to carry out the biological control of the pest that harms the Canarian banana the most. Koppert Spain has made the first releases of Dismipar® (Acerophagus artelles), a parasitic wasp native to the Canary Islands, capable of fighting the cochineal infestation (Dysmicoccus grassii) of the banana very effectively and, most importantly, without leaving residues. With the launch of Dismipar®, Koppert is a pioneer in offering banana growers the first biological solution against mealybug.
The effectiveness of Dismipar® far exceeds the results obtained with chemical controls. During field trials, Koppert has confirmed that Dismipar® keeps the presence of pests very low throughout the growing cycle, with levels of approximately ten times lower than in adjacent chemically controlled plots, especially between August and October.
A jar of Dismipar® on a farm of the Cooperativa Agrícola del Norte de Gran Canaria.
Dismipar® is a small parasitic wasp that inserts several eggs into each host, which means that each parasitized mealybug will produce an average of five parasitic wasps. The use of Dismipar® is especially indicated in incipient colonies of the pest, therefore it should be released from the beginning of the campaign and its use throughout the cultivation cycle is recommended.
Koppert's new parasitic wasp is marketed in jars containing parasitized pupae. After the containers are placed in the crop, adults will emerge to parasitize the mealybug. Dismipar® is very easy to use since each jar comes equipped with a special label with an adhesive face, which not only facilitates locating it and distributing it in the orchards but also protects its contents from the possible attack of ants and other predators.
Dead mealybug, after being parasitized by Dismipar®.
Three years of research
The commercial launch of Dismipar® culminates the research project that the company began in 2017 to meet the demand of Canarian producers. This pest has traditionally been controlled with chemicals. However, the available formulations had loss efficacy and there are restrictions on chemical use. Thus, producers were demanding new effective tools that would allow them to comply with new production standards, that are sustainable and leave no residues, something that is hardly achievable with the use of chemical control agents.
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