Generalist predatory bugs control aphids in sweet pepper
Abstract: Biological control of aphids is often focused on releases of specialized naturalenemies. Here, we evaluate the effects of inoculative releases of the generalist predatory bugsOrius laevigatus, Orius majusculus and Macrolophus pygmaeus on green peach aphids andwestern flower thrips in a greenhouse grown sweet pepper crop. We found that compared to thetwo Orius species, M. pygmaeus was by far the best predator for controlling aphids. Severalreleases of aphids did not result in an establishment of this pest in the compartments withM. pygmaeus, whereas aphids attained high densities in the O. laevigatus or O. majusculustreatments, causing serious crop damage. Thrips were controlled by all predators, butcompartments with M. pygmaeus initially showed some thrips damage on the fruits. Currently,Orius laevigatus is the predator used most in inoculative releases in sweet pepper in Europe, butour data suggests that it might be better to use M. pygmaeus instead or in addition toO. laevigatus, when control of both thrips and aphids is required.