Flower strips promote natural enemies of aphids in commercial vegetable fields of Northern Italy


Abstract: The establishment of flower strips has been widely acknowledged as a potential
approach to strengthen biological control in vegetable fields. The aim of this study, funded by
the regional project “ORTOAMBIENTE”, was to evaluate the effectiveness of flower strips in
greenhouse zucchini squash and open field lettuce to enhance natural enemies and mitigate
aphid infestations by Aphis gossypii (Glover) and the currant-lettuce aphid Nasonovia ribisnigri (Mosley), respectively. Flower strips of buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench), vetch (Vicia sativa L.), and coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) have been established within cultivated fields and compared with a control without flower strips. In general, natural enemies increased their abundance in the plot characterized by flower strips, with a lower ratio between aphids and natural enemies supporting better efficiency in aphid control.

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