The contribution of ground predation to the reduction of the overwintering pupae of the olive fruit fly


Abstract: Conservation biological control aims at reducing the abundance of damaging pest of agroecosystems through the use of endemic natural enemies. The combination between overall structure of olive agroecosystem and the polivoltine life cycle of the main pest, the olive fruit fly B. oleae, enhances complexity and, thus there is the need to deal with principles and consequences of biological control strategies. Olive fruit fly spent all the life cycle around olive groves, with the development of the larva at the expense of the fruit. The flying adults search for the substrate to oviposit, and after larval development, pupates in the soil. Thus, during autumn pupa is the most vulnerable stage of the olive fruit fly that could be attacked by ground-dwelling predators. In the post-harvest period, the abundance of the pest inside the soil reaches its maximum and they could be limited by beneficials. In fact, the pest could sustain the ground predator communities before the winter season. Experimental tests with exposed pupae were conducted in order to evaluate the pest predation rate and compare the effect of olive management and the influence of three types of adjacent seminatural habitats. The result showed a greater rate of predation rate in organic orchards and a positive effect of adjoining Mediterranean garrigue patches. Improving knowledge on the effect of natural enemies, seasonality, synergies, and influences mediated by adjacent habitats to olive could deliver more sustainable control pest solutions to farmers.

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