Pest Management Science (2018) 74, 1286-1296

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Sarra Bouagga, Alberto Urbaneja, José L. Rambla, Víctor Flors, Antonio Granell, Josep A. Jaques and Meritxell Pérez-Hedo (2018)
Zoophytophagous mirids provide pest control by inducing direct defences, antixenosis and attraction to parasitoids in sweet pepper plants
Pest Management Science 74 (6), 1286-1296
In addition to their services as predators, mirid predators are able to induce plant defences by phytophagy. However, whether this induction occurs in sweet pepper and whether it could be an additional benefit to their role as a biological control agent in this crop remain unknown. Here, these questions were investigated in two model insects, the mirids Nesidiocoris tenuis and Macrolophus pygmaeus.
Plant feeding behaviour was observed in both N. tenuis and M. pygmaeus on sweet pepper and occupied 33% and 14% of total time spent on the plant, respectively. The punctures caused by mirid plant feeding induced the release of a blend of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which repelled the herbivore pests Frankliniella occidentalis and Bemisia tabaci and attracted the whitefly parasitoid Encarsia formosa. The repellent effect on B. tabaci was observed for at least 7 days after initial exposure of the plant to N. tenuis, and attraction of E. formosa remained functional for 14 days.
Plant defences induced by the feeding of mirid predators, their subsequent effects on the behaviour of both pests and natural enemies, and the persistence of these observed effects open the door to new control strategies in the sweet pepper crop. Further application of this research is discussed, such as the vaccination of plants by zoophytophagous mirids in the nursery before transplantation.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website

Database assignments for author(s): Alberto Urbaneja, Josep A. Jaques

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
environment/habitat manipulation
application technology

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.
Frankliniella occidentalis Green pepper/chilli (Capsicum)
Encarsia formosa (parasitoid)
Macrolophus pygmaeus (predator)
Nesidiocoris tenuis (predator)