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Food supplementation to optimize inoculative release of the predatory bug **Macrolophus pygmaeus** in sweet pepper

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Biological control is widespread in management of greenhouse sweet pepper crops. Several species of predatory mites, bugs, and parasitoids are used against a wide range of pest species. However, biological control of particular pests like aphids, caterpillars, and the tobacco whitefly, Bemisia tabaci Gennadius, remains problematic. Macrolophus pygmaeus Rambur (Hemiptera: Miridae) is a generalist predatory bug which is used on a large scale in Western European tomato greenhouses. It has already been demonstrated that M. pygmaeus is a valuable biocontrol option in sweet pepper crops, but it has yet to find its way into common practice. Macrolophus pygmaeus should be introduced at the start of the growing season and determining an optimal release strategy is a key step in this process. In tomato crops, M. pygmaeus requires supplemental food releases to reach sufficient population numbers and dispersal levels. In this study, the need for food supplementation in sweet pepper is investigated. Three strategies were tested: (1) no food supplementation, (2) local food supplementation, and (3) full field food supplementation. Both population numbers and dispersal rates of the second generation were higher under the third strategy. Macrolophus pygmaeus oviposits near food sources, therefore dispersal rates are higher when food is more spread out. Pest control was achieved in all treatments, but faster and at lower pest levels under the full field strategy.
Tijdschrift: Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
ISSN: 0013-8703
Volume: 166
Pagina's: 574 - 582
Jaar van publicatie:2018