BioControl (2013) 58, 45-55
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Biological control of aphids in the presence of thrips and their enemies
BioControl 58 (1), 45-55
Abstract: Generalist predators are often used in biological control programs, although they can be detrimental for pest control through interference with other natural enemies. Here, we assess the effects of generalist natural enemies on the control of two major pest species in sweet pepper: the green peach aphid Myzus persicae (Sulzer) and the western flower thrips Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande). In greenhouses, two commonly used specialist natural enemies of aphids, the parasitoid Aphidius colemani Viereck and the predatory midge Aphidoletes aphidimyza (Rondani), were released together with either Neoseiulus cucumeris Oudemans, a predator of thrips and a hyperpredator of A. aphidimyza, or Orius majusculus (Reuter), a predator of thrips and aphids and intraguild predator of both specialist natural enemies. The combined use of O. majusculus, predatory midges and parasitoids clearly enhanced the suppression of aphids and consequently decreased the number of honeydew-contaminated fruits. Although intraguild predation by O. majusculus on predatory midges and parasitoids will have affected control of aphids negatively, this was apparently offset by the consumption of aphids by O. majusculus. In contrast, the hyperpredator N. cucumeris does not prey upon aphids, but seemed to release aphids from control by consuming eggs of the midge. Both N. cucumeris and O. majusculus did not affect rates of aphid parasitism by A. colemani. Thrips were also controlled effectively by O. majusculus. A laboratory experiment showed that adult predatory bugs feed on thrips as well as aphids and have no clear preference. Thus, the presence of thrips probably promoted the establishment of the predatory bugs and thereby the control of aphids. Our study shows that intraguild predation, which is potentially negative for biological control, may be more than compensated by positive effects of generalist predators, such as the control of multiple pests, and the establishment of natural enemies prior to pest invasions. Future work on biological control should focus on the impact of species interactions in communities of herbivorous arthropods and their enemies.
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Database assignments for author(s): Gerben J. Messelink, Arne Janssen
Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
environment - cropping system/rotation
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists: