BioBee, (Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, Israel) has successfully concluded 5 years of field trials in citrus and grape plantations in South Africa, and is preparing for the first commercial applications, starting in October 2013. Mr. Shachar Carmi, Sales & Marketing Director of BioBee reported that the trials were conducted in conjunction with the Citrus Research Institute (CRI), and BioBee's local distributor Du Roy IPM. Dr. Sean Moore, IPM program manager at CRI, has concluded that the parasitic wasp Anagyrus pseudococci is a highly valuable tool for use as a biocontrol agent to reduce the infestation level of the citrus mealybug (Planococcus citri), and increase the rate of marketable fruit. Mealybugs are a key pest on citrus, particularly on cultivars such as grapefruit and navel oranges, and on grapes. Like all sucking insects, they produce honeydew, on which sooty mould can grow. This discolors the fruit, makes it unmarketable, and also attracts secondary pests. On grapes, in addition to causing damage to the fruit, mealybugs are a vector for the Grapevine Leafroll Virus, which is the most significant grapevine viral disease, worldwide.

During the trials, Bio-Anagyrus™ was released at varying rates, to determine the optimal release rate. Previous studies have shown that Anagryus pseudococci, along with Coccidoxenoides perminutus, are the dominant naturally occurring mealybug parasitoid species in citrus and grapes in South Africa. Anagryus pseudococci has a short life cycle of ~14 days, at 26–27˚C, excellent searching ability to find hosts, parasitizing capacity of several mealybug species and excellent dispersal ability. Therefore, it has a very good prospect of performing well as a biological control agent in the South African environment.

Mr. Carmi explains that Bio-Anagyrus™ is only one of the components of the Integrated Pest Management solution that is offered to the growers. The solution includes not only products but also knowledge, training, and services. For example, proper scouting is required in order to determine where, when, and in what quantities to apply the control measures (biological and chemical) available to the grower. Only certain chemicals are compatible with this program and they must be used correctly. This integrated approach has been implemented successfully around the globe, in diverse regions such as Spain, Italy, Morocco and Peru. It can replace the current pesticide spray programs used by the growers, which are effective but come at significant cost and risk to the growers, the consumers, and the environment.
Anagyrus pseudococci is notoriously difficult to rear and apply in the field. BioBee has developed a patented rearing, transportation, and release method, making Bio-Anagyrus™ a truly unique and effective product. BioBee is a major producer of beneficial insects and mites, bumblebees for natural pollination, and sterile Mediterranean fruit flies.

For more information:
Shachar Carmi
Biobee Sde Eliyahu Ltd.
Mob: +972-54-3224130