Argentina: Reducing the impact of certain pests on fine fruits

A group of researchers at INTA and the Miguel Lillo Foundation in Tucumán implemented biological control techniques and managed to reduce the impact caused by certain pests in crops of fine fruit. 

According to Daniel Kirshbaum, a specialist in fruit crops from Tucuman's INTA Famailla, "predatory insects are one of the most important natural enemies of pests and their incorporation in the biological control of experimental crops of strawberries and fine fruits in Tucuman achieved reducing their impact and collaborated with environmental care." 

Meanwhile, the expert on biological control of the Miguel Lillo Foundation, Carmen Reguilón, said the most important pests attacking these crops were the thrips (Thysanoptera, Terebrantia: Thripidae) because they were "insects that, both as larvae and as adults, damage the foliage, flowers, and feed on the fruits giving them a dull and rough bronze or silver colour and deforming them. In addition, they cause indirect damage as they transmit viruses, fungi and bacteria." 

According to the specialists, it is fundamental to know the phytophagous and beneficial insects associated with the crops when establishing an integrated and sustainable production system that ensures health, competitiveness and sustainability. After several in field studies related to insect predators, the researchers concluded that the Orius insidiosus (bug flowers) and the Ceraeochrysa Claverí Chrysopidae exercise effective control over the populations of thrips. 

Furthermore, Reguilón said "these lacewing species can be bred in large numbers with techniques that are simple to implement, without much infrastructure and feasible to use in the field." 

Sustainable monitoring 
Kirschbaum stated the use of beneficial insects for biological control of pests was a cornerstone of crop protection programs, given the increase in cases of resistance to insecticides. 

The specialist stated, "these innovations are of great importance for producers as they collaborate with the development of good agricultural practices and constitute an effective alternative to synthetic products for controlling pest insect populations, maintaining the quality standards and productive in the field. "

According to Kirschbaum, natural enemies have been used for biological pest control for decades because "the new concept of sustainable agriculture involves understanding that the insect fauna is a beneficial ally for farmers in their fight against crop pests, and using them better. "


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