Releases of a natural flightless strain of the ladybird beetle Adalia bipunctata reduce aphid-born honeydew beneath urban lime trees

Abstract

Aphids can cause major environmental problems in urban areas. One important problem is the annual outbreaks of lime aphid, Eucallipterus tiliae (L.) (Hemiptera: Aphididae), which spoil the surroundings of lime trees by depositing honeydew. To date no environmentally friendly method has been demonstrated to yield effective control of lime aphids. Attempts are made in some cities to control lime aphids by releasing larvae of the native two-spot ladybird beetle, Adalia bipunctata (L.) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). However, it is known that adult ladybird beetles disperse soon after release, and there is little indication they provide control of the aphids. Here, we demonstrate experimentally that releases of a flightless strain of A. bipunctata, obtained from natural variation in wing length, can reduce the impact of honeydew from lime aphid outbreaks on two species of lime in an urban environment. Both larvae and adult beetles were released, and we discuss the contribution of the flightless adults to the decline in honeydew.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to the Slotervaart district and Hans Kaljee from the community of Amsterdam, The Netherlands for the use of the lime trees, and we especially thank Sandro Hooft for support during the experiment. We thank Kees Koops and Martijn Guliker for help in rearing ladybirds, and Koppert B.V. for Ephestia eggs. We thank Miriam Visser and Henry Kuppen for sharing experiences in lime aphid suppression, Bas Zwaan for discussion about the results, and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. This research was supported by the Technology Foundation STW, applied science division of NWO and the technology program of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, and by Applied Plant Research Wageningen University and Research Centre, Lisse.

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Correspondence to Suzanne T. E. Lommen.

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Lommen, S.T.E., Holness, T.C., van Kuik, A.J. et al. Releases of a natural flightless strain of the ladybird beetle Adalia bipunctata reduce aphid-born honeydew beneath urban lime trees. BioControl 58, 195–204 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10526-012-9478-7

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Keywords

  • Coccinellidae
  • Biological control
  • Dispersal
  • Eucallipterus tiliae
  • Inundative control
  • Wing polymorphism