Improved Western Flower Thrips control through Artemia-based early introduction of Orius laevigatus in commercial pepper greenhouses
Abstract: In recent years there has been much progress in application of alternative food to allow for establishment of generalist predators before the invasion of pests, and several alternative foods are now available as commercial products. For over a decade, decapsulated cysts of the brine shrimp, Artemia franciscana, were documented as a suiteable food source for myrids, anthochorids and phytoseiids. Still, Artemia application as food for predators in commercial greenhouses is limited to Macrolophus pygmeus. Here, however, we show that Artemia application allows for Orius laevigatus establishment in a commercial pepper crop from as early as transplanting day. Artemia application supported the establishment of O. laevigatus before the onset of flowers and resulted in better control of the western flower thrips while avoiding any use of chemical sprays to control the pest. The opportunities and challenges in the application of the strategy on a full commercial scale are discussed.