Arthropod-Plant Interactions

Volume 14 of the series Progress in Biological Control pp 127-157


Multitrophic Interactions: The Entomovector Technology

  • Guy SmaggheAffiliated withDepartment of Crop Protection, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University Email author 
  • , Veerle MommaertsAffiliated withDepartment of Crop Protection, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent UniversityDepartment of Biology, Faculty of Science and Bio-engineering Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • , Heikki HokkanenAffiliated withDepartment of Agricultural Sciences, University of Helsinki
  • , Ingeborg Menzler-HokkanenAffiliated withDepartment of Agricultural Sciences, University of Helsinki

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The entomovector technology (Hokkanen and Menzler-Hokkanen 2007; Mommaerts and Smagghe 2011) utilizes insects as vectors of biological control agents for targeted precision biocontrol towards plant pests and diseases, providing an intriguing example of multitrophic interactions. As the insect vector normally is a pollinator of the crop plant, it adds a further dimension to these interactions. The technology depends on bee management, manipulation of bee behaviour, components of the cropping system, and on the plant-pathogen-vector-antagonist-system. We investigate in this chapter how to exploit and support the natural ecological functions of biocontrol and pollination, and enhance these via innovative management. Recent systematic developments of the entomovector technology are described, with focus on the component technologies such as the dispensers and carrier substances (see Mommaerts and Smagghe 2011; Mommaerts et al. 2011; Hokkanen et al. 2012). With functioning dispensers and improved, new microbiological control agents (MCA) available, excellent results have been obtained, and will be described in two case studies. The first involves open field studies conducted in Finland with honey bees (Apis mellifera Linnaeus (Hymenoptera: Apidae)) as the vector of “Prestop-Mix”, containing Gliocladium catenulatum J1446 (Hypocreales, Bionectriaceae), to control Botrytis cinerea Pers.: Fr. (Helotiales: Sclerotiniaceae) in strawberries, and the second describes the efficiency of bumble bees (Bombus terrestris Linnaeus (Hymenoptera: Apidae)) to vector the commercial product “Prestop-Mix” to control B. cinerea in strawberries in the greenhouse.