Do hedgerows influence the natural biological control of woolly apple aphids in orchards?
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The provision of refuges for natural enemies could be a key aspect for the management of the woolly apple aphid [Eriosoma lanigerum (Hausmann, 1802)] (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in apple orchards. The present study assesses the effects of Pyracantha coccinea (Rosaceae) (firethorn) adjacent to apple orchards as this extra-orchard habitat would positively affect the abundance of natural enemies and control of E. lanigerum. Abundances were evaluated for the pest, the parasitoid, Aphelinus mali (Haldeman, 1851) (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) (during two seasons) and generalist predators (only during the second season). The assessments were conducted at different distances from P. coccinea located at the edge of the apple orchards. Additionally, parasitism rates by A. mali were examined using a categorical and two quantitative methods. Results indicate that P. coccinea hedges promoted an early colonization by A. mali in apple orchards especially during the first season. However, parasitism rates by A. mali were not affected at the beginning of the season, but as the season progressed, the rates increased on the apple trees in comparison with the hedges. Additionally, during the second season, the interaction between certain natural enemies had a stronger effect on the population growth rates of E. lanigerum in orchards with P. coccinea compared to control orchards. Based on these results, we conclude that P. coccinea hedges may promote the early colonization by A. mali in the orchards and have a positive effect on the abundance of spiders, but had no effect on coccinelid, carabids, earwigs and syrphids.
KeywordsWoolly apple aphid Aphelinus mali Eriosoma lanigerum Generalist predators Parasitism Apple orchards
The authors very much thank Artzai Jauregui Solano for his assistance in the field work. Also, the authors would like to thank Cinthya Villegas for her advice during the process of the experiments and all orchard owners for providing us with the access to their apple orchards.
This study was funded by the Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico (Fondecyt) Postdoctoral Grant No. 3160233 and by Fondecyt Regular Grant No. 1140632.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
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