To defend hazelnut trees against eriophyes mites, Bioplanet opted for the introduction of useful mites also using drones. This first experience of "mechanized" launches follows the positive "manual" introductions of 2020.
Operations are currently being carried out on around twenty hectares, with a view to progressively increasing the area. Launches started in April and will continue until June.
"We opted for Amblyseius andersoni as a predator, as it favors spider mites (Tetranychus, Panonychus, Eotetranychus) but also predates eriophyes mites. This characteristics makes it suitable for preventive introductions also in absence of more typical preys. It promotes a prey/predator balance that reduces the incidence of eriophyes mites. We used drones on twenty hectares between the Asti and Cuneo provinces," reports Nicoletta Ballario, Bioplanet consultant in Piedmont.
Eriophyes mites hibernate in the galls formed the previous year and, in spring, they migrate to reproduce and propagate. This type of biological control is used to hinder their multiplication.
Drones are increasingly used to introduce useful insects and mites and Bioplanet is investing resources, time and skills.
Marco Manegatti is the manager of Bioplanet's Drone Project and has developed the technique together with other colleagues. "The drone tank is loaded with inert material containing the insects. Before we proceed, we study the maps and set the launch frequency according to the type of introduction required (uniform, punctiform, etc.). There is no risk of making mistakes as, once set, the system is extremely precise. You can operate in remote areas without problem by adjusting the forward and predator release speed. Results have been positive so far."
Professionalism, precision and promptness are the main characteristics of drones. Bioplanet is setting up a national network thanks to experts located in various Italian regions so as to intervene quickly and effectively.