Hoverflies as biological control agents of the rosy apple aphid in Mediterranean areas


Abstract: The aim of this work was to improve biological control of the rosy apple aphid by the promotion of hoverflies. For this reason, we identified which hoverfly species prey on the rosy apple aphid colonies present in the fruit tree growing area of Lleida (Catalonia, NE-Spain), we described the hoverfly species present in this area, and we identified the most attractive flower species that naturally occur in this area to hoverflies. We found three genera of hoverflies (Episyrphus, Eupeodes and Sphaerophoria) predating on rosy apple aphid colonies and six genera (Sphaerophoria, Episyrphus, Eupeodes, Melanostoma, Paragus and Xanthogramma) feeding on flower species. The most visited plants belonged to Compositae and Cruciferae families. Our findings show that hoverflies present in our area have potential for biocontrol of rosy apple aphid populations because the genera found in aphid colonies were the most abundant feeding on the flora that naturally occur in this area.

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