Zapping the Buggers Organically

November 13th, 2014

We recently welcomed thousands of wingy guests on the farm! No less than three species of parasitic wasps found a new home in our vineyards and citrus orchards.

They’ll play a big role in keeping our crops healthy, by preying on mealybugs (“witluis”), a pest familiar to farmers all over the world.

Factoid for you: male mealybugs are as ineffectual as their human brothers; they pose no threat to crops – it’s the female that creates havoc. These femme fatales feed on exposed plant surfaces and can lay up to 600 eggs each. Infestation of mealybugs can cause fruit dropping, deformation/discolouration of fruit and can even kill the plant. Mealybugs also secrete honeydew that attracts ants and creates a growth medium for fungus.

Fighting insects biologically at Babylonstoren

By releasing wasps in our vineyards and orchards, we hope for a more natural alternative to pesticides. Three types of good-cop wasps, Coccidoxenoides perminitus (Cocci), Cryptolaemus montrouzieri and Anagyrus pseudococci, will be buzzing our vineyards and citrus trees.

We’ve released the wasps by hanging small, biodegradable boxes (size of a matchbox) in the vineyards and citrus trees. Inside more than a thousand pupae were set to hatch the following day. Then they’re lured by sunlight through the exit hole, and start munching on yecchy mealybugs.  Let’s see if it works!

Beautiful Babylonstoren

Benefits of biologically controlling mealybug:

It’s a completely natural process, similar to the way populations are controlled in in the wild.
Helps decrease dependence on pesticides
Environmentally friendly: safe for animals, humans and other species.
No contamination of groundwater
No requirement of mechanical means: no machines and fuels used

Comments

  1. laura cline says:

    you’re doing such a GREAT JOB…………really admire what you’ve achieved

  2. peta chait says:

    You inspire me each and every time I read your blog.
    Well done always

  3. Mike Prevost says:

    It is very encouraging that you are using biological control measures to lower the dependence on chemical measures and the more farmers that do it the better. However a paradigm shift in thinking is necessary and for which I congratulate you. The farm will be a better place as a result of your actions and many more pest predators will be noticeable over time.Good luck.

  4. Francesca says:

    You are doing amazing work out there! It is really inspiring! Thanks for the useful information! Greets!

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