Published: 03/10/2010 - Updated: 10/15/2018
To combat pests that threaten organic farming crops in Altea, people throw millions of larvae reared in captivity for more than 65 hectares for they break the red louse that eats oranges. The town is well ahead in the fight against agricultural pests without pesticides.
This is a back to basics: if the use of pesticide years ago revolutionized agriculture, cultivating all-natural products is again a priority and objective of the new "bio" farmers. But not only explores new ways of farming. Natural methods to kill pests that destroy the fruits burst in treatments with pesticides that diminish the quality of products.
In this sense, ending the species that attack citrus becomes a struggle between species where the strongest win. Therefore, the City of Altea, the Agricultural Cooperative in the municipality, together with the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), Biodiversity Foundation and the Ministry of Agriculture are conducting pest control in 65 acres of citrus by release of insects that end the red louse that attacks citrus crops from the village of the Marina Baixa.
The model plan
The project is developed in 400 parcels of about 200 farmers, representing one third of all agricultural land in the municipality. Yesterday, Professor of Crop Protection at the UPV, Rafael Laborda, along with the councilor of Agriculture Altea, Carolina Punset, conducted the first release of insects in the plots of heading whose trees are already affected by the red louse.
This plague of California is among the most important plague in most countries, according to the Department of Agriculture. The first damage reaches community at the end of the 80s, especially in the Ribera Alta and Marina High but has spread to other agricultural areas of the Valencia Region.
Normally these little insects have special impact on citrus, which causes serious damage while not dangerous to humans. Each female may result from 100 to 150 larvae according to temperature, according to the sources. As for the visual effects, they can produce spots and leaves turn yellow and fall.
The goal was to improve fruit
But where they really show their effects is in the fruits. UPV professor explained that, while not involving gravity for consumption, "which disfigure the fruit trade does not like 'and to devalue for sale. The specific release of Altea is to release about five insects, called 'Rhizobius lophanthae', per tree, according to a quality control, have a guarantee of survival of 95%. These copies are in charge of distribution in the trees and a natural finish with red louse, explained Laborda.
This species has not yet been baptized with a common name, has been created in an insectary of the Department of Agriculture in Almassora in captivity and has been tested on a pest on squash. From there they were taken to the UPV "where they were kept at 15 degrees temperature," added the professor. Altea trees in the area of heading 2550 Racons insects received only yesterday, but "the entire project is going to drop several million.”
The measure will be held for 15 months but "is a slow system whose results will not be up in about a year" added the expert, although monitoring of biological control will be weekly. In addition, the project includes the release of another parasite to control the pest when temperatures rise by summer.
The Altea councilor of Agriculture indicated that "the final work will not be in these crops if not within the next year. Well said that "this year will still traces of pesticides analysis made to them the fruits." Laborda argued that "is a loose defensive" because, although experts know the existence of the red louse, Altea trees should be provided for their appearance in greater numbers.
The project is funded by the Biodiversity Foundation and the Ministry of Agriculture. Punset stated that "Altea is a pioneer in this measure" and said that "the intention is to be extended to other sites' and that the initiative is presented in 98 cooperatives that are part of Anecoop because " we will edit a guide with all the procedure we have developed. Thus, the artificial products maintain fields can have their days numbered in the Valencia Region”.
Source: Healthy Living