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Evolution of aphidophagous ladybird populations in a vegetable crop and implications as biological agents

, : Evolution of aphidophagous ladybird populations in a vegetable crop and implications as biological agents. Mededelingen 66(2a): 333-340

Aphidophagous predators such as hoverfly and ladybird beetles are effective biological agents to control aphid pests in perennial and annual cultivated species. Introduction and conservation of beneficial insects are two ways to increase natural control of pests. Whether massive releases of entomophagous insects are expensive and time consuming, the preservation of predator natural populations can be expected by reducing and by adapting chemical treatments in crop fields. Vegetable cultivated areas increased in Belgium for several years, mainly Fabaceae species such as peas and beans. In this work, the evolution of ladybird species population was assessed from May to June in broad bean fields (Vicia faba L.) between Waremme and Hannut, in Hesbaye. Weekly, the aphid and aphidophagous beetle populations were collected from yellow traps and determined on plants by visual observations. Even if five ladybird species were identified, three of them represented more than 95% of the collected insects (Coccinella septempunctata L., Propylea quatuor-decimpunctata L. and Psyllobora vingintiduopunctata L.). Evolution of coccinellid populations during the cultivation season was discussed in relation to the presence of potential aphid preys and the agrochemical treatments which were applied. Integrated pest management in vegetable fields constitute a reliable way to increase the quality level of fresh vegetables in terms of pesticide residue limitations.


PMID: 12425054

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