Biological direct control methods for defense, aimed at reducing Asian bed bug biotic potential

The Asian bedbug (Halyomorpha halys) is an exotic parasite that causes direct damage to agricultural crops, including fruit and vegetables. The massive use of insecticides to fight it has been proven to be unsuccessful and has caused serious damage to the ecosystems, with a reduction in pollinators and natural antagonists of other phytophages.

BIOVITAMINA’s aim is to develop different defence protocols with a range of natural products suitable for organic farming but which can also be used in integrated farming.

The project aims at a direct defence against H. halys to limit the biotic potential of the phytophage with interventions in the field on pear and tomato trees, in organic and integrated farms, aimed at assessing the effectiveness of the insecticidal activity of natural pyrethrins by integrating them with orange essential oil and various “plant defence enhancers”.

BIOVITAMINA also provides for the application of entomopathogenic microorganisms (biological control with natural antagonists), important natural regulators of insect populations.

It is also planned to monitor hedges and grassing on farms, to assess the interconnection between the presence of H. halys and the plant communities present since the typical agro-ecological approach of organic agriculture implies the proactive use of functional biodiversity for agricultural systems.

Exploiting the natural dynamics of ecosystems and drawing on the products allowed for organic food to combat H. halys can be a useful remedy not only for organic agriculture but also for the integrated agriculture sector.


Being able to demonstrate that the use of products allowed in organic agriculture, such as natural pyrethrins, orange essential oil and plant defence enhancers, will allow a more effective direct defense against H. halys compared to chemical synthesis products, also in integrated farms. This will allow to do not to alter the ecosystem and favour biological control interventions such as the use of entomopathogenic microorganisms that can infect a large number of individuals, contributing to the enhancement of functional biodiversity aimed at reach a balance; with a reduction in the number of treatments used and favouring the maintenance of indigenous competitors. This will encourage more:

  • Environmental sustainability: with reduction in the environment (soil, groundwater, etc.) of active substances present in the synthetic products.
  • Protection of operators and consumers’ health: the active substances allowed in organic farming and the BCAs (Bio Control Agents) have a better profile than chemically synthesised plant protection products and reduce residues on foodstuffs. They can also be used to carry out pest control interventions close to the harvest, as they have shorter deficiency and/or re-entry times than synthetic chemicals.
  • Advantages in the large-scale distribution: greater sustainability in production will ensure greater placement of production in the distribution process.
  • Higher remuneration for farmers.


    1. Action 1 Laboratory test on entomopatogenous microorganisms for a direct defense of the Asian Bedbug
    2. Action 2 Agronomic tests on orchard with low impact biological control methods
    3. Action 3 Agronomic tests on tomato with low impact biological control methods
    4. Action 4 Agronomic evaluation of entomopatogenous micro-organisms
    5. Action 5 Reliefs on reducing bedbug contamination and impact on entomofauna
    6. Action 6: Data collection and processing
    7. Action 7: Evaluation the possible authorization path for the use of entomopatogenous microorganisms in agriculture
    8. Action 8: Reports and guidelines
    9. Action 9: market, feasibility studies

The two-year project involves Federbio Servizi S.r.l. (project coordination), Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC, scientific managment), Azienda Agraria Sperimentale Stuard, Open Fields Srl, Pizzacchera Società Agricola s.s., Società Agricola Ecoter s.s., Cornacchia Fabiano and Centoform.




ID PROJECT: 5158736

TIMING: 11/2020 – 11/2022

CALL: FEASR-Rural Development Programme of Emilia-Romagna, measure 16.1.01 – Focus Area 4B

BUDGET: € 327.580,28

FUNDING: € 296.293,66

Website European Commission – FEASR:


Project supported by: