‘Earwig Management Tool’: Transferring knowledge of population dynamics and side effects on earwigs (Forficula auricularia L.) into practical sustainable plant protection strategies in pip fruit growing
Abstract: The improvement of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies plays an important role in minimizing chemical sprayings and residues on fruit. A key element of IPM is the suppression of potential pest outbreaks by beneficial arthropods. The European earwig, Forficula auricularia L., is an important natural enemy of a wide range of insect pests in pip fruit orchards. However, their univoltine life cycle makes earwigs vulnerable to orchard management interventions and a single disastrous event has long-lasting repercussions. In order to avoid harmful effects on earwigs and thereby maximizing their densities, it is necessary that growers have a good awareness of the earwig population development and potential side effects of orchard management interventions at every moment in the season. Therefore, we recently developed a software tool called ‘Earwig Management Tool’. This program can be used by growers to accurately predict the earwig phenology in their orchards. In addition, a pesticide database with known side effects of a wide range of products on the different life stages of earwigs is integrated in the software tool. Hence, based on the output/advice generated by this user-friendly software fruit growers can adapt their orchard management taking into account the presence of (sensitive) life stages of earwigs. Here, we present the general outline of the tool and data behind it. Furthermore, we executed a new series of side effects trials last season, in order to update the program with side effects data of recently registered products in pip fruit growing.