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Organic agriculture: The treatment of European corn borer by dropping trichograms by drones

FOX XT trichogramm

The European corn borer

The European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) is a lepidopteran species of the Crambidae family.

Caterpillars of this species are known to attack maize crops, of which they are the main pest, as well as other crops such as sunflower, hops, hemp, chrysanthemums, potatoes, etc.

1 larva/plant = 5.5 q/ha loss

 It can cause 7 to 30% loss and impact quality through the development of mycotoxin-producing fungi.

European corn borer ostrinia nubilalis - drone treatment

Traditional treatments

The techniques of struggle are diverse. We distinguish mainly:

    – Cultivation techniques, which involve crushing and burying crop residues to prevent larvae from overwintering;

    – Chemical control, based on the use of synthetic insecticides;

    – Herbicide use, which results in an increase in the number of scavenging Collembola, and a decrease in the number of butterflies, bees and bugs;

    – Biological control, based on the use of pathogenic microorganisms or parasites/predators. 

Treatment by trichogramma

The trichogramma is a tiny parasitoid insect of the order Hymenoptera, which naturally controls the moth by destroying its eggs.

Female trichograms lay eggs in codling moth eggs and their larvae develop inside by killing their host. The technique therefore consists in hanging capsules releasing large quantities of adult trichograms to “nip in the bud” the next generation of the pest. 


UAV drop: a solution developed by AltiGator and Agenium Drone Solution

UAV dropping replaces conventional anti-borer treatments such as leaf diffusers or trichogramma capsules dropped by Ulm or helicopter, or manually attached to corn husks.

In addition to the speed of implementation and the economic gain compared to manual treatment or by manned aircraft, the UAV allows a precise release of the capsules with a flow rate of 70 to 100 ha per UAV per day.

1 ha is being treated in 3 to 5 minutes.

The solution, consisting of AltiGator’s OnyxStar FOX multirotor UAV and the integrated dispenser, guarantees rapid and homogeneous release and distribution of the capsules, ensuring the effectiveness of the trichogram.

FOX XT trichogramm

The Agriload platform

The AGRILOAD service platform offers a complete service that includes all the steps necessary for the successful completion of the missions of releasing trichogramma capsules: from receiving the capsules to storing them at the right temperature, including the organization of each operator’s roadmap to the proper execution report of the operation.

The mission plans previously established by the application allow each operator to release trichogramma capsules in a homogeneous and regular way.


In 2017, more than 400 plots were treated, representing more than 2000 ha throughout France. 

In the 2018 season, more than 5000 ha were treated with several agricultural cooperatives. 

Agenium and AltiGator are also working together to develop other solutions for treating agricultural surfaces, such as the granulator integrator – particularly for semi-covered areas – or the spraying of vineyards.

About Agenium Group:

The Group has formed around two entities, major players in their sector: Agenium informatique et systèmes (AIS) and Agenium développement (AD).

Two French companies, resolutely international, which bring together high-level scientific and technical profiles and offer cutting-edge solutions in all their fields of expertise.

At the end of 2017, the AGENIUM group diversified its activities, with the same requirement for innovation and the same level of expertise, by propelling AGENIUM DRONE SOLUTION, specialized in the marketing of treatments and analyses for the agricultural market.

During the first half of 2018, Agenium created Agenium Space, intended to offer scientific research services in the field of space observation.