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Crop Advice & Expertise

FLiPPER: the bio-insecticide that respects your friends

FLiPPER is a new contact-only bio-insecticide from Bayer that is effective against a wide range of pests, but safe to beneficial species. It is approved by both Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G) and the Scottish Organic Producers Association (SOPA) for use in organic systems.

As a contact-only insecticide, FLiPPER needs to be applied to all parts of the plant where the pest might be living if it is to deliver the control growers expect, explains Miles Taylor of manufacturer AlphaBio Control. 

FLiPPER contains purified long chain unsaturated carboxylic acids derived from olive oil for the control of a broad range of insect pests in a wide range of soft and top fruits, leafy and field vegetables, and fresh herbs, but as a contact-only product accuracy of application is paramount to performance. 

“Effective against all stages of the pest’s lifecycle, FLiPPER is active by cellular interference involving vital metabolic processes in the insect following contact with the pest body,” says Mr Taylor.

As the product is derived from food-grade material, it is not subject to maximum residue limits or harvest intervals and can be used with little risk of resistance from the target pest.

“FLiPPER’s appeal rests in its effectiveness against all stages of troublesome insect pests such as whitefly, aphids and mites, particularly the motile forms, but to deliver the control growers desire it must hit the pest,” says Mr Taylor.

Tests involving the peach-potato aphid (Myzus persicae) reveal that, once applied, the pest usually stops feeding after roughly 30 minutes and that mortality occurs after about 24 hours. 

“FLiPPER removes the pest threat to protect crops quickly and reliably, but as a contact-only product it needs to reach the part of the plant where the pest is actually located to give effective performance. This necessitates the use of adequate water volumes to ensure canopy penetration and the use of angled nozzles to ensure appropriate leaf coverage, including to the underside of the leaves. It should be used at first signs of infestation build-up,” Mr Taylor says.

In most cases, Bayer and AlphaBio are advising a minimum water rate of 400 L/ha with a product inclusion rate of 1% per 100 litres of water though some crops may require a higher water rate depending on the plant architecture. Water quality, however, is of crucial importance, Mr Taylor emphasises.

“Rainwater or other soft water with a concentration of total dissolved salts no more than 300 parts per million should be used and mixed carefully. The use of foliar feeds that would introduce metal ions such as calcium and manganese should not be co-mixed with FLiPPER.” 

Although accuracy of application will be crucial to promoting effective product performance, it is not a threat to beneficial insects such as bees or predatory mites, bugs or wasps. 

“It has a kind profile for beneficial species, so will fit neatly in an IPM strategy that involves conventional means of protection, but growers should appreciate that for control in high pressure situations it needs to be used in sequence with conventional insecticides,” he concludes.