Main research question/goal
Vegetable crops are susceptible to several economically important insect pests. Biological control agents such as entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) have stimulated great interest for above and below-ground pests. However, despite promising laboratory and field trials, success with EPN in vegetables has rarely been achieved in field applications under practical conditions. Our goal is to improve the efficacy of the nematodes to make them effective in practice by improving the application strategy and the formulation.Research approach
ILVO first evaluates each step in the (spray) application of EPN to better understand how the EPN get damaged and what reduces their efficacy. Application and formulation technologies are optimized to improve EPN deposition and survival. Three model pests (caterpillars and cabbage fly in cabbage plus thrips in leek) are used. Selected technologies, dosing, and formulations are tested under semi-field and field conditions.Relevance/Valorisation
The withdrawal of approvals for agrochemicals on many food crops within Europe is likely to generate an increasing market for bio-pesticide products, including entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN). However, for the EPN to be a success, a cost-effective and reliable usage should be assured. Therefore, progress in areas like application and formulation technology are needed, in addition to optimized application strategies.