Biological control of the mealybug Planococcus ficus in vineyards of North-eastern Italy
Abstract: The mealybug Planococcus ficus (Signoret) is an important pest of grapevine in North-eastern Italy. Natural control is not always successful against this pest and application of management tactics can be necessary. Firstly we surveyed the occurrence of natural enemies in some vineyards of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions. Secondly, we evaluated the effect of augmentative biocontrol tactics in keeping P. ficus under control. Natural enemies were found in most of the surveyed vineyards, and parasitoids (Anagyrus spp.) were frequently observed. The parasitism rates observed seem not adequate to guarantee a successful control of mealybugs. Experiments on augmentative biological control showed that the release of coccinellids can be a successful tactic in the control of P. ficus.