29-02-2024 Maintenance

What if beneficial nematodes were used to eliminate processionary caterpillars?

Landscape professionals were intrigued by KOPPERT Entonem beneficial nematodes, which won 1st prize at the Paysalia Innovations Awards 2023.

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Landscape professionals were intrigued by KOPPERT Entonem beneficial nematodes, which won 1st prize at the Paysalia Innovations Awards 2023. Paysalia visitors were able to peer through a magnifying glass and discover their new “assistants”: parasitic worms whose mission is to destroy pine and oak processionary caterpillars. Real biological protection, with no regulatory constraints! We spoke to Adeline Infray, Marketing & Communications Manager at KOPPERT France, to find out more about the Entonem innovation and the impact of its triumph at the Paysalia Innovations Awards.

 

nématodes auxiliaires Koppert
Microscopic view of Koppert's beneficial nematodes


Beneficial nematodes, a method of choice to eliminate processionary caterpillars

 

KOPPERT is constantly developing alternatives to pesticides to improve plant health, both above and below ground. Since 1986, the company has become the leader in beneficial nematode products, which are manufactured by only three companies worldwide. While the brand's initial focus is on 100% sustainable agriculture, it is also paying attention to green space maintenance, notably with its biocontrol range against pine and oak processionary caterpillars.

 

Entonem, their latest innovation, won 1st prize at the Paysalia Innovations Awards 2023 for addressing a real public health issue. There is no lack of arguments for the use of nematodes, as Adeline Infray explains: “It is a totally biological macro-organism, compliant with the Labbé law, with no re-entry interval for treated areas. Moreover, Entonem nematodes have the distinct advantage of being cold-tolerant, which means that the application period can be extended.”


Easy to apply for anyone, with no constraints    


KOPPERT nematodes are packaged in soluble sachets and require mixing with water. Entonem can be used with any application system, requires no personal protective equipment, and has no regulatory constraints. Extra benefit: you can even use a drone to spray it in hard-to-reach areas! This completes the range of biological tools already available to eliminate processionary caterpillars.

 

Once released, the beneficial nematodes enter the juvenile processionary caterpillar through its natural orifices, spread a symbiotic bacterium, multiply and eliminate the caterpillar. The treatment is effective, easy to apply, safe and long-lasting.

 

Larve de chenille processionnaire
A recently dead processionary caterpillar larva

 

The only flaw in the picture: misconceptions about these parasitic worms. “When we hear about nematodes, we often think of destructive nematodes. But there are also beneficial nematodes - like the Steinernema feltiae that we use - which are completely harmless to humans and other animals, and which are perfectly compatible with a biodiverse approach! We are working to change the way people think, which is why we collaborate with public and technical institutes to communicate about our products.”

 

And let's not forget that controlling invasive species is above all a community affair.


R&D is part of the KOPPERT DNA


“We've been using beneficial nematodes for a long time, and we test them on new targets every year. The northward migration of processionary caterpillars and the public health problems they cause made us wonder how our worms could rid us of these pests. We tested our idea for two years before launching our Entonem formula.” says Adeline Infray.

 

What about breeding these little worms that are so useful? “Our nematodes are bred in our factories in the Netherlands. At present, we have a production capacity of 200,000 L per year, but the company will be investing in new tanks to increase our capacity!” 


For KOPPERT Entonem, the Paysalia Innovations Awards prize is already having a positive impact
 

The KOPPERT stand was rather quiet on the first day of Paysalia 2023, but the atmosphere changed radically after the announcement of their first Paysalia Innovations Awards 2023: “There was a lot of traffic in the two days following the awards ceremony. Mostly people we already knew, such as distributors, customers, and local authorities, but we also welcomed prospective customers who were curious, such as independent landscapers, suppliers, and even technical institutes.”

 

After the Paysalia trade show, the benefits increased towards this alternative to pesticide: “We didn't do much communication on our own, but we did get many requests from local authorities and technical institutes for a more in-depth presentation. We also got a lot of exposure from the press. We don't have the sales data yet because we are not in the utilization period for the product at this time, but we've really raised our profile. We are delighted”

 

By winning a Paysalia Innovations Award, KOPPERT raised their profile with a highly qualified target group and is laying the groundwork for a successful product launch. Don’t miss this opportunity to boost marketing for your innovations.

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Thanks to Adeline Infray for her contribution.

© Photos credits: KOPPERT Biological Systems

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