The dos and don’ts when using biocontrol in Greek tomatoes

Are you implementing the correct IPM strategy in your Greece-grown tomatoes?

The dos and don’ts when using biocontrol in Greek tomatoes

Can you believe it? We’re already down to the last few days of January, and February is on the horizon. For many growers, February is the season crops start propagation — particularly Greek tomatoes. From the moment the tomato invaded the Greek cuisine late in the 19th century, it’s become a integral part to multiple Greek dishes, need we remind you of the world famous Greek Salad.

Bearing in mind the importance the crop has held since it was first planted in Syros, followed by Santorini, we decided to uncover the best ways to enhance the tomatoes quality during growth via IPM.

So, ahead of the beginning of this year’s Tomato growing season in Greece, we spoke to our Key Account Manager in South East Europe and the Middle East, Spiros Kavouras, to characterise the dos and don’t when using IPM in the Greek tomato.

Biocontrol Dos:

  • Start as clean as possible

Disinfect and remove and destroy previous crops residues. Use insect-proof nets and destroy weeds inside GH.

  • Monitoring

Place Tuta absoluta trap+ monitoring pheromone to inspect population dynamics. Also place yellow sticky traps for monitoring whitefly population. Keep constantly monitoring pest population development before and after beneficial release – crucial for IPM success as pest pressure during spring is very high.

  • IPM program

After planting and before release of beneficial apply clean-up sprays with registered chemicals vs whitefly, Tuta absoluta and Spidermites (RSM). During season check for needed corrective treatments

Biocontrol Don’ts:

  • Leave weeds inside and outside of GH+previous crop residues

They act as pest hot spot that helps spreading to new planted crop and destroy IPM program.

  • Use of non-compatible chemicals

IPM program success is based on right choice of beneficial but also on use of compatible chemicals. Macrolophus/Nesidiocoris are very sensitive to chemicals and non-compatible ones can lead to IPM failure

  • Wrong beneficial choice and wrong timing introduction

The main target pest species is the key to what beneficial we use.  The weather conditions and pest pressure are also important aspects of when to release beneficial insects. Early pest detection and mild weather should alert growers to move on with beneficial introduction.