Suterra sees a growing demand for matching disruption solutions | Article

Stricter regulations for phytosanitary products and growing consumer demand for greener products are placing an increasing burden on producers. Oregon-based Suterra, a company that has provided biological pest control for more than four decades, says this has created growing interest in its mating disruption solutions.

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As part of The Wonderful Company, its products include pests commonly found in the company’s product portfolio – including pistachio and almond pests such as navel orangeworm, citrus pests such as California Red Scale and various fruit flies, and wine grape pests European vine moth Lobesia botrana and mealybug – as well as other crops, including apples, pears, stone fruits, berries and vegetables.

“Our products are attractive to growers and exporters because they leave no residue. Most of our products are also exempt from Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) because they use naturally occurring compounds such as pheromones,” says business development manager Natalia Gamarra-Cockle. “These ingredients are non-toxic, do not leave harmful residues on food and do not leach into soil or groundwater as some conventional pesticides do.”

In addition, because many Suterra products are installed once per season in specialized aerosol cans, the reduction in the number of spray equipment saves fuel and CO2 emissions.

While mating disruption has existed for decades for relatively simple pheromone molecules, such as those emitted by moth pests, Suterra was the first company to introduce a mating disruption solution for more complex pests such as scales and mealybugs. It also pioneered sustainable, effective biocontrol solutions for California redscale and mealybugs, products that remain in high demand even today.

The company also supplies the most widely used brand of aerosol mating disruption in the world: the Puffer. First registered more than 25 years ago, this patented technology provides pest control in a way that helps minimize the use of plastic, eliminates residue and reduces CO2 emissions.

The latest additions to Suterra’s global portfolio are BioMagnet Oro, BioMagnet Amber and BioMagnet Ruby, three products built on the revolutionary BioMagnet platform. As Gamarra-Cockle explains, “our latest development in insecticides is an innovative ‘attract and kill’ system, designed with a unique formulation and special application method that ensures whole-field pest control without spraying.”

She describes BioMagnet as “one of the most innovative and sustainable methods of protecting crops from fly damage,” as it is placed in the field and is effective for several months. The powerful attractant brings the fly to the device and comes into contact with the insecticide coating upon landing. The fly absorbs the insecticide through its natural grooming behavior. “The effect is not immediate: some flies fall in the same spot and others fly a few meters before dying. Because we don’t have to spray and use far fewer insecticides, our new product line increases safety for both workers and consumers,” she says.

In the four decades since the company was founded, Gamarra-cockle says organic pest control has become more widely used, practiced and understood in both conventional and organic production, especially in Central Europe, Australia and Africa.

“In fact, our company’s own growth – and the many imitators that have entered the market over the past decade – are evidence that mating disruption is a growing practice within IPM,” she notes. “Suterra products fit perfectly into IPM practice. Because they are species specific, they do not harm beneficial insects such as pollinators and predators.”