BioBee’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) solutions have been successfully implemented by farmers throughout South Africa, and are particularly effective amongst strawberry growers, reducing the use of pesticides by nearly eighty percent.
Strawberry fields occupy approximately 300 hectares of arable South African land, both in open-field cultivations and in tunnels, which are utilized to extend the growing season. They are grown for local consumption and are sold primarily as fresh fruit, but can also be found in processed fruits. Fields are largely located in the Transvaal provinces and the Western Cape.
Strawberries are particularly prone to aphids infestations, specifically, Aphis gossypii, Myzus persica, and Myzus nicotianae. BioBee’s BioAphidius provides farmers with parasitic wasps known as Aphidius colemani that can be introduced into fruit orchards and bring aphid infestations under control. Strawberries are similarly prone to red spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, and strawberry spider mite, Tetranychus turkestani Ugarov & Nicolski, infestations. BioBee’s BioPersimilis, a predatory mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis, effectively combats these attacks.
BioBee’s approach to IPM is multifaceted, employing multiple strategies to achieve the optimal result. In addition to the gradual release of host-specific beneficial insects, BioBee recommends that growers use selective “soft” chemical pesticides. This strategy helps growers transition from using “harsh” chemicals, which are dangerous to the human population and the environment and have long-lasting residues. It has also been proven to increase marketable crop yield, and as a result, increases profits.
With BioBee, growers meet the strict legislation in Europe, the U.S., Japan and other countries regarding MRLs (maximum residue levels), as well as GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) requirements, including GLOBALGAP (a voluntary standard required by many supermarket chains in Europe). Produce grown with BioBee requires minimal pesticide use.
BioBee’s staff is extensively trained in the IPM method, and works directly with growers to produce a tailor-made IPM program to meet his or her individual needs. This customized program is successfully implemented with the ongoing oversight and guidance of BioBee’s staff.