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De Orchideeën Hoeve

Botanical garden/Zoo

De Orchideeën Hoeve

2006 – present

In 2006 we have been asked to set up a biological control program in a newly build butterfly garden in Luttelgeest. This new garden is part of de Orchideeën Hoeve, a complex of several tropical gardens open to public. Up until then the control of harmful insects was done with chemicals and since the gardens were open to public during the day, the pesticide application had to be done during the evenings. However, with the arrival of the butterfly garden, it was no longer possible to apply pesticides, since the butterflies would not survive such a treatment. The biological control of most pests went very well and after a year they were convinced that this was the way to go in the future. In the years that followed, the pests in other gardens have also be controlled in a biological way. More and more animals were introduced in the different gardens and since several years, de Orchideeën Hoeve is not only a tropical garden, but also a zoo.

In 2016 the spectacular ‘Floating Flower Garden’ was opened: a flower splendor in a conservatory, which contains over 1400 hanging baskets that hover over your head. Flowers that usually only bloom in summer can be admired here year round. Especially during winter it is quite a challenge to make this happen. Also in this part of de Orchideeën Hoeve were the pests controlled biologically, and that has turned out to be a interesting challenge. Especially in the first year after opening, the control was not optimal. Especially aphids and whitefly caused trouble in spring and early summer, and had to be corrected chemically a few times. It goes without saying that treatments were selected that combine well with a biological approach. Such a treatment does not affect parasitized aphids, so that parasitoids will keep emerging, leading to a big blow for the aphid population (knockdown-effect).

Soon after the correction, new natural enemies are released to control the aphid population. Later in the season the effect of biological control improved and in July we saw a turnaround: the pests were finally under control. We often encounter problems like this in new situations. A possible cause is pesticide residues on the newly placed plants, which inhibit the natural enemies. Orchideeën Hoeve currently grows their own plants for the Floating Flower Garden and replaces the plants when they have become too old. Already during the cultivation of the new plants for the Floating Garden, natural enemies are released to combat potential pest insects. This way we tackle the problem from the beginning and get a head start.

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