Macrolophus pygmaeus (formerly known as M.caliginosus) is a predatory mirid bug very common in the Mediterranean Basin in which can overwinter. All stages are very mobile and can prey on different whiteflies including Bemisia spp. All different stages of the pest are a good food source for larvae and adults. Tomato is the most important crop but also in eggplant, pepper and some ornamentals the predator can be used with success.
The adults are pale green with a whitish hairiness while larvae are completely green with red eyes. Macrolophus survives even with low food available and once established can resist to bad conditions and is capable to prey even with fluctuation of high and low temperature. Other food sources like aphids, mites, leafminer and moth eggs could be very important for its development. The development of young stages could take a very long time in unsuitable conditions. While at 25ºC, 30 days are needed to complete egg to adult development, at 15º C it takes more than 90 days.
M.pygmaeus is available in bottles containing 250 or 500 predators, dispersed in vermiculite. To allow breeding population, MiriPAK should be introduced very early in the season even with low or no whitefly detection. A multiple introduction (1 to 3 individuals per sm are recommended) could help to get a good inoculation.