Pesticide and Fertilization

Innovative Pest Control by Using Insects

Exclusive interview with Dr. Shimon Steinberg, Manager for Research and Development of BioBee

biobee’s principal operational areas

biobee works in four fields:

1. biological pest control using insects with jointed legs (arthropodae), including spiders and beneficial insects to combat harmful insects and spiders.
2. natural pollination using bombus bees (bombus pascuorum).
3. biological pest control of the mediterranean fruit fly with the help of sterile male flies.
4. the application of green pesticides (biopesticides): plant extracts, oils, micro-organisms and similar to complete the biological pest control using beneficial insects with jointed legs.

the company provides solutions for a wide range of agricultural crops, as for example using insects and spiders in biological pest control in vegetables such as peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, aubergines (eggplants), courgettes (squash) and strawberries whether grown in greenhouses or in open fields. biological pest control is also implemented in fruit tree orchards to combat mealy aphids such as citrus mealybugs in citrus fruit and vine mealybugs in grape vines.

bombus bees are used to pollinate many crops and tomatoes grown in greenhouses are most important but the bees also help pollinate peppers, melons, courgettes (squash) and strawberries. fruit trees such as pears, apples, sweet cherries and blueberries also require pollination and during the critical season the bombus bees support and augment the honey bees, which do not always pollinate the fruit adequately, particularly during rainy and cloudy days.

in eradicating the mediterranean fruit fly the sterile insect technique (sit) impacts on the male insects so that when these sterile male insects mate with a wild fertile female, no vibrant offspring are produced. this method is commonly applied in israel in orchards, vineyards and fruit orchards such as plums and apricots which suffer severely from this pest.

biobee in the international market for biological pest control

 

biobee is one of the longest standing concerns in the field of  biological pest control using beneficial insects with jointed legs (arthropodae) (since 1983) and one of these leading such companies worldwide. the total global turnover of the said biological pest control niche industry ranges from 250 to 300 million us dollars.

 

can biological pest control offer a complete solution?

 

according to dr. shimon steinberg the preferred pest control method is integrated pest management, which offers a single package based on biological pest control but also includes chemical pest control with selective materials, such as those pesticides which only destroy the targeted pests and keep any harm caused to beneficial insects or the environment to an absolute minimum.  the package also includes supervision and monitoring by a skilled professional.

when does biological pest control require the addition of chemical pest control?

1. an existing effective biological pest control alone does not always provide a solution.
2. in some cases, when biological pest control is unsuitable owing to the environmental conditions, extreme climate wherever used.

biobee’s special-purpose laboratory system tests the pesticides’ effect on the natural enemies. this system includes a spraying turret for spraying the pests’ natural enemy directly, a study of the pesticide’s secondary influence as well as its persistent effect. this operation’s outcome is a list of suitable pesticides (in both conventional and organic-biological managements), which may be integrated with natural enemies with or without restrictions.     

integrated pest management – a passing trend or a significant applicable direction?

dr. steinberg emphasizes that biobee also offers on-site technical support for integrated pest management. the field service provided throughout the entire growing season is a critical element for the growers, the majority of whom see it as a prerequisite for using the biological pest control technology. many growers value the fact that integrated biological pest control dramatically reduces the danger that the different pests might develop resistance to pesticides. this strategy is in contrast to the situation of reliance on chemical pest control alone that stimulates resistance to pesticides.

in the markets in western countries where the demand exists for agricultural produce with increasingly smaller traces of pesticides and even zero amounts, the growers tend to adopt a system of integrated pest management. the highest demand for this produce has been registered in europe, usa and japan.  some farmers marketing their produce grown under conditions characterized by a dramatic reduction in the use of chemicals seek to establish a clear trademark. those growers have mostly made arrangements to cooperate as groups to market and label their produce with integrated biological pest control.

the method’s advantages for the growers:
• easy to use – no need to wear protective clothing
•  healthy for the grower and workers alike.

future prospects

 

currently the overall annual value of green pesticides amounts to 1.2 billion dollars. this revenue is expected to grow by 10-15% annually.  major companies involved in producing pesticides are now entering this market and these include syngenta, monsanto, dupont, bayer and dow.  this development is a clear indication that we are not dealing with a passing trend here. 
 
biobee’s vision is to provide the grower with the friendly means to produce and market agricultural produce free of pesticides on healthy plants, which yield the maximum harvest.  

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