Recruiting on the Spot: A Biodegradable Formulation for Lacewings to Trigger Biological Control of Aphids
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInsects. 2019, 10 (6), . 10.3390/insects10010006
Upon herbivory, plants release herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs), which induce chemical defenses in the plant as well as recruit natural enemies. However, whether synthetic HIPVs can be employed to enhance biological control in a cultivated crop in the field is yet to be explored. Here we show that a biodegradable formulation loaded with induced and food-signaling volatiles can selectively recruit the common green lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea, and reduce pest population under field conditions. In apple orchards, the new formulation attracted lacewing adults over a 4-week period, which correlated well with independent assessments of the longevity of the slow-release matrix measured through chemical analyses. In barley, lacewing eggs and larvae were significantly more abundant in treated plots, whereas a significant reduction of two aphid species was measured (98.9% and 93.6% of population reduction, for Sitobion avenae and Rhopalosiphum padi, respectively). Results show the potential for semiochemical-based targeted recruitment of lacewings to enhance biological control of aphids in a field setting. Further research should enhance selective recruitment by rewarding attracted natural enemies and by optimizing the application technique.