REGION OF MURCIA / Agriculture will use the pumpkin as a trap to prevent the whitefly from damaging tomato crops in the greenhouse

It is a viable practice, respectful with the environment and that leads to an optimization in the biological regulation of this insect pest.
Researchers from IMIDA will present the results of this work in the congress of the International Organization for Biological Control to be held in Portugal

The tomato is one of the main horticultural crops of the Region and the whitefly represents one of its biggest problems, due to the damage it causes when feeding and, above all, to transmit viruses. Therefore, the Ministry of Water, Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, through the Murcian Institute for Agricultural Research and Development and Food (IMIDA), has successfully experimented with the use of pilgrim squash on the sides of greenhouses, as a plant trap for whitefly in greenhouse tomato crops.

The control of this pest is currently carried out through integrated pest control methods in a large part of tomato crops in the region’s greenhouse. However, complementary techniques that reduce the migration of insect pests to the crop are necessary. For this reason, IMIDA has carried out tests to determine the functionality of the pilgrim gourd as a trap plant for the whitefly.

The work carried out in tomato greenhouses using pumpkin plants on the sides as a barrier has led to a clear decline in whitefly populations. Therefore, it can be considered an effective principle in the design of agro-ecosystems, as well as a viable practice that respects the environment and leads to an optimization in the biological regulation of this insect pest.

Next September, researchers from the Biological Control and Ecosystem Services Team of IMIDA will attend the XIV International Working Group Congress ‘Integrated control in protected crops, Mediterranean climate’ of the International Organization for Biological Control, to be held in Portugal, where they will exhibit the results of this work, which is financed by the National Institute of Agrarian Innovation and the European Fund for Rural Development (FEDER).

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