Thrips has a powerful new enemy - Anso-Mite - or Amblyseius andersoni by its scientific name. Leading biocontrol innovator, Koppert Biological Systems, now has a predatory mite that is active at lower temperatures at the beginning and towards the end of the growing season. A strong egg laying capacity under cool spring conditions, supports strong population growth, which adds strength to the thrips management strategy.
The Koppert A. andersoni strain has been tested in several field experiments in the Netherlands and Spain. “We are able to exploit our high-performance predator strain, in the most optimal way, by targeting thrips with Anso-Mite” says Product Manager Tim Bossinga.
Anso-Mite will be available to all subsidiaries, but will initially be introduced to the UK soft fruit market in mid-February. Koppert UK General Manager David Foster is convinced that Anso-Mite will offer soft fruit growers an effective biological solution for thrips infestations this spring. ‘In our trials we have seen that A. andersoni was better at establishing itself in the crop, particularly under colder conditions when other mites would struggle. I am sure that with the addition of A. andersoni, a more robust control program can be achieved, especially in situations where thrips and whiteflies are present.’
Anso-Mite introduction in UK
Regulations in the UK have severely limited the introduction of some of Koppert’s biocontrol solutions for some time. ‘Up until this year, we were only allowed to use Thripex (the predatory mite N. cucumeris) and were restricted in the types of different mites to control pests like thrips, but also whiteflies, in growing tunnels and outdoor crops,’ says Koppert technical consultant, Jasper Hubert. ‘This year will be the first year that we will be able to use Swirski-Mite in growing tunnels, which will be a great help. Swirski however needs warmer temperatures before it can be used and that is where Anso-Mite comes in to fill the gap early in the growing season.’
Natural range and crop
Anso-Mite is a naturally-occurring species in many countries and is found throughout Europe, the USA, Canada, and parts of Africa and Asia. It is a cold-tolerant predatory mite that is found on crops in outdoor cultivation and naturally occurs on strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, black and red currant and other soft fruits. It is also spontaneously found in orchards and tree nurseries, vineyards, rose and Buxus. Although it is mostly found outdoors, it is also reported in greenhouses crops. Amblyseius andersoni is a generalist predator that feeds on different pest species such as thrips, but also spider mites, whiteflies, gall mites and russet mites. It also feeds on pollen and fungi and hence can sustain itself on the crop without prey being present.
An early observation
Koppert diagnostician, Anton van der Linden, discovered the early season properties of Amblyseius andersoni in nursery stock projects in the Netherlands several years ago where he found it had overwintered in the mild Dutch winter. ‘I conducted surveys and found that A. andersoni was the dominant predatory mite in many species of outdoor crops. Since then, I have observed many samples in outdoor blackberry, raspberry and strawberry in different countries with A. andersoni as the dominant species of predatory mite.’