Impact of Agroecological Infrastructures on the Dynamics of Dysaphis plantaginea (Hemiptera: Aphididae) and Its Natural Enemies in Apple Orchards in Northwestern France
Apple orchard production is facing new environmental and societal challenges, resulting, in particular, in strong pressure to reduce pesticide use. Cider-apple production, for which the perfect visual aspect of fruits is not a marketability imperative, offers good opportunities to study production systems that are developing new agronomic strategies, which could be subsequently extended to all apple-production types. Agroecological infrastructures play an important role in providing shelter, food resources, or reproduction habitats to many arthropods. Consequently, setting-up agroecological infrastructures in the vicinity of or within orchards could increase natural enemy presence and thus improve the biological control of pests. In this study, we focused on Dysaphis plantaginea (Passerini), one of the major pests in apple orchards in Europe, which causes important economic production losses. During two years (2014 and 2015), we monitored the population dynamics of D. plantaginea, its natural enemies, and mutualistic ants in commercial production cider-apple orchards. The influences of the cider-apple cultivar, insecticide use, and distance to agroecological infrastructures (hedgerows and flower strips) were assessed. Our results suggest that flower strips favor an increase in natural enemy abundance in the vicinity of the orchards and could thus play an important role in the production system by improving the biological control of D. plantaginea.
Author(s): Albert, L; Franck, P; Gilles, Y; Plantegenest, M
Journal: Environmental Entomology