Targeted flower strips effectively promote natural enemies of aphids
Abstract: Sown wildflower strips are increasingly established within agri-environmental schemes in Europe and worldwide. Their goals include the promotion of biodiversity, pest control or pollination services. Here, we tested whether a new type of flower strip targeted to promote natural enemies controlling aphids and other wheat pests are more effective in achieving this goal than an already implemented wildflower strip type aimed at biodiversity conservation. We found two to five times higher numbers of key aphid antagonists, Syrphidae, Coccinellidae and Chrysoperla carnea (Chrysopidae), in the targeted flower strip compared to wildflower strips designed for biodiversity conservation. The targeted use of flowering plants, providing fundamental resources for natural enemies of crop pests, might significantly contribute to an efficient integrated pest management.