The potential use of flowering alyssum as a ‘banker’ plant to supportthe establishment of Orius laevigatus in everbearer strawberryfor improved biological control of western flower thrips
Abstract: Western flower thrips (WFT), Frankliniella occidentalis has recently become a seriouspest of everbearer strawberry in the UK due to increasing problems with resistance to spinosad.Biological control of WFT with Neoseiulus (Amblyseius) cucumeris on everbearers is currentlyunreliable on farms with high WFT population densities. Orius laevigatus has good potential foruse in combination with N. cucumeris, but is expensive to release and slow to establish on thecrop, particularly when strawberry flowers are scarce. In a pilot experiment, flowering alyssum,Lobularia maritima proved to be a good host plant for O. laevigatus. Once established on thealyssum, O. laevigatus quickly dispersed to and established on flowering everbearer plants andrapidly reduced numbers of WFT. Alyssum has a long flowering period and has the potential foruse as a combined ‘trap’ plant for WFT and ‘banker’ plant to support O. laevigatus populationsin everbearer strawberry for improved biological control within an IPM programme.