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Biological pest control becomes an economic reality

EUREKA project E! 2971 ALTREARMETHODS has developed methods of producing natural predator insect pests which can offer businesses a much more economic and reliable production than before. This major advance will enable more widespread use of biological pest control promoting an organic alternative for the consumer and having financial impact on agriculture in Europe.

Biological pest control has much promise as an alternative to chemical pesticides. However, supplying natural predators of key insect pests is difficult and more expensive than pesticides. The problem lies in the availability of food material and a suitable environment for the predatory bugs to reproduce.

The ALTREARMETHODS project has developed new materials and techniques which can make it much easier and cheaper to produce key insect pest predators that can be adapted for the specific needs of many more. These developments are of particular interest to European agriculturists. "This means more effective, more economic control of many insect pests of major agricultural products," says product coordinator Dr Shimon Steinberg of the specialist biological control company, Bio-Bee Sde Eliyahu in Israel. A northern and southern European collaboration, Koppert from the Netherlands contributed its experience of northern European insect pests and its knowledge of technologies for coating nutrient and other liquids.

New encapsulation technology

Project partners used new encapsulation technology to prepare an artificial liquid diet in the form of coated droplets, developing an effective diet for two major predatory bugs; Orius, which attacks mainly thrips and Macrolophus, a major predator of whitefly, thrips, leaf miners and mites. This will be a clear alternative to the costly flour-moth eggs used as food to date. The project has also developed coated gel substrates which form a suitable base for these insects to lay their eggs. Used as a substitute for the b
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Contact: Catherine Shiels
catherine.shiels@es.eureka.be
0032-277-70969
EUREKA
23-Aug-2006


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