Sustainable biocontrol in crops grown at low temperatures

In this project, the natural enemies of whiteflies and mealybugs that can resist cool conditions are investigated. These pests are a threat to the gerbera, rose and strawberry-crops, but their natural enemies that are currently known cannot tolerate cool donditions.


Whiteflies and/or mealybugs are an increasing problem in protected crops of roses (cut flower and nursery stock), gerberas and strawberries. They are becoming a bottleneck for the development of integrated pest management. The pesticides that are used (Plenum, Decis en Admire against whiteflies and different neonicotinoids against mealybugs) are often lethal to beneficials and are also often lacking efficacy on the pests due the lack of coverage of the crop during insecticide applications.

In some crops we dispose of a number of beneficials which are actively searching for the pests and can control them over a long period. But the commercially available natural enemies are not adapted for crops grown at relatively low temperatures (strawberries, roses for nursery stocks, cut flowers of gerberas and roses in the wintertime). Goal of this project is: Collection of beneficials adapted for cooler crop conditions and design of a successful introduction system for beneficials for crops grown at low temperatures.