Eur. J. Entomol. 105 (3): 537-540, 2008 | 10.14411/eje.2008.071

Conservation biological control of spirea aphid, Aphis spiraecola (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on apple by providing natural alternative food resources

Mark W. BROWN1, Clarissa R. MATHEWS2
1 U.S. Dept. Agriculture, Appalachian Fruit Research Station, 2217 Wiltshire Road, Kearneysville, WV 25430, USA; e-mail: mark.brown@ars.usda.gov
2 Shepherd University, Institute for Environmental Studies, 35 Snyder Hall, Shepherdstown, WV 25443, USA

Enhancing biological control in orchards is an efficient way to control insect pests. This study investigates the possibility of increasing biological control of spirea aphid by providing alternate food resources, in the form of peach extrafloral nectar, to adult Harmonia axyridis, its primary predator. Two pairs of apple orchards, each having one interplanted with 50% trees bearing extrafloral nectar and one a monoculture, were studied for aphid and predator populations from 1999 to 2005. There were no differences in spirea aphid or predator populations between interplanted and monoculture orchards. However, H. axyridis adults arrived earlier in the interplanted than in the monoculture orchards. In another apple orchard, the effect of peach extrafloral nectar on sentinel spirea aphid colonies surrounding a cluster of potted peach trees, or a cluster of apple trees as a control, was tested in 2007. Only the closest spirea colonies to the potted peach trees, trees within 3 m, showed an increase in biological control. Although there was some indication of enhancement of predation by adult H. axyridis on spirea aphids, adding alternative food resources in the form of peach trees bearing extrafloral nectar resulted in no detectable increase in biological control.

Keywords: Interplanting, extrafloral nectar, habitat management, Harmonia axyridis, Malus domestica, Aphis spiraecola

Received: September 18, 2007; Accepted: December 12, 2007; Published: July 31, 2008

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