Developing Integrated Pest Management programmes for protected strawberry crops in Southern France
Abstract: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies which have been effective in the UK were tested in tunnel grown strawberry crops at Hortis Aquitaine, Southern France, from March to October 2008. The cost and pest control effect of two IPM strategies were compared in separate tunnels, one equipped with a misting system and the other not. Thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis, were effectively controlled by either Amblyseius cucumeris combined with Orius laevigatus in the misted tunnel or A. swirskii and Orius laevigatus in the non-misted one. Neither tunnel required chemical intervention against thrips, and control was very good compared to chemical programmes. Spider mites, Tetranychus urticae, were effectively controlled in both tunnels by Phytoseiulus persimilis together with a single treatment of hexythiazox (Nissorun®). Four different aphid species occurred in the trials. Aphidius colemani achieved some control of Aphis gossypii but Aphidoletes aphidimyza failed to establish and a single pirimicarb (Pirimor G®) was used. Further trials are recommended to develop effective aphid control. The use of selective chemicals in the IPM programmes allowed the invasion of naturally occurring predators which helped control pests. All pests were effectively controlled in the IPM tunnels and fruit quality was good. The numbers of chemical treatments were significantly reduced in comparison to an adjacent tunnel where pests were controlled using insecticides. In this tunnel, pest numbers increased rapidly and ten insecticide treatments were required over two months to achieve some control. Different rates and timings were proposed to ensure an economic programme for growers.