Olfactory conditioning of natural enemies: potential benefits for pest control in greenhouse crops


Abstract: Inconsistent results in augmentative biological pest control may not only result from variation in the greenhouse environment or the genetic composition of natural enemy (NE) populations, but likely depend to a large extent on the behavioural state of the NEs. Nowadays, it is widely acknowledged that arthropods greatly rely on learning for optimizing a wide variety of life activities. However, in spite of the vast body of theoretical and empirical literature dealing with learning in NEs, this knowledge has thus far rarely been exploited for manipulating the efficacy of augmentative biological pest control. In this opinion paper we will give a short overview of the most important concepts of learning in NEs, and subsequently explore under which circumstances olfactory conditioning of adult NEs has most potential to improve pest control in the greenhouse.

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