The predatory bug, Nephus bipunctata, is found in South Africa and belongs to the Coccinellidae family, a beetle species.
Nephus bipunctata is a generalist predator of mealybugs and prefers to feed on smaller mealybug life stages and eggs, they are attracted to the smell of mealybug and will deposit their eggs on mealybug waxy filaments.
Vineyards (grapes) and Orchards
Nephus bipunctata is a very small beetle of about 1.5mm, black in color and has 1 brown spot on each of their top wings (hard wings). On average, Nephus bipunctata can lay up to 3 eggs per day and a total of 150 eggs in their lifetime, a yellow larva hatches from an egg and develop white waxy filaments that looks similar to its mealybug prey. At 25°C and a relative humidity of 60%, Nephus bipunctata completes development from egg to adults within 28 days.
One Nephus bipunctata larva can feed on up to 9 mealybug nymphs per day and up to 150 mealybug nymphs in total during their development. Both larval and adult stages feed on mealybug and are consistently found underneath bark or in crevices. The adults are very cryptic and not easily found in the field; however, their larvae can easily be spotted in mealybug colonies.
BioNephus – The product
- BioNephus is packed in paper bags containing 200 adult predatory beetles.
- BioNephus can be stored for 24 hours at a temperature of 14 – 16°C from the time of arrival until release
During hot days, releases should be done during early morning hours or late afternoons.
- Remove sticker from paper bag and stick it on the tree to locate the release site for later observation.
- Remove the shredded paper inside the paper bag and place it on a branch in a shaded area near mealybug host.
- Remove honey strip, it will attract ants if kept in the tree
- BioNephus is shipped in insulated Styrofoam packages, chilled with ice-packs, the packaging must be kept intact until it reaches the end-user.
- When applied, the bags should be taken from shipment package, one by one, and the predators should be released immediately.
- If necessary, BioNephus can be stored for 24 hours at a temperature of 14 – 16°C from the time of arrival until release. It should never be stored at a lower temperature or inside a chemical store room.
- Ants should be controlled when present at mealybug hot spots/plots. Ants encourage honeydew secretion by the mealybugs, transferring them from one place to another while protecting them vigorously from predators.
- BioNephus are susceptible (to a certain degree) to the common pesticides that are used to control other pests in the crop. Therefore, before applying any pesticide, the user should consult BioBee’s field advisors and ask for updated information concerning side effects of pesticides.
The rate and frequency of BioNephus release may differ for host plant and percentage infestation.
- General Introduction rate: first application 500 to 1000 beetles per hectare (blanket application). Additional quantities might be needed according to the infestation level and scouting information.
- Timing of application: as soon as the first egg sacks are detected. BioNephus is able to established at low density of their prey. Release at 5% to 10% mealybug infestation.
BioNephus larvae should be observed within the mealybug infested spot about 3 to 4 weeks after releases. Remains of dead mealybug, preyed upon by BioNephus will also be visible. The subsequent established generations of the predatory beetle will effectively control mealybug populations.
All products are tested to meet specification requirements before leaving the factory.
BioBee is not responsible for the outcome of implementation in the field, as it has no control over the method of application, local conditions, treatment/storage of product not according to instructions, etc.