Publication details

Assessment of the biocontrol potential of natural enemies against psyllid populations in a pear tree orchard during spring


GAJSKI Domagoj PEKÁR Stanislav

Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Pest Management Science
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Anthocoris; molecular gut content analysis; pear orchard; pest control; psyllids; spiders
Description BACKGROUND: Modern pest control management systems are based on the support of naturally occurring arthropod predators, as it has been shown that such predators offer an important ecosystem service. However, most naturally occurring arthropod predators are generalists (euryphagous). Their role in the biological control of specific pests has been recognized but remains poorly studied. Here, we focused on the naturally occurring arthropod predators of psyllids - the main insect pest of pear trees. We investigated the abundance of psyllids and all of their potential enemies in an abandoned pear orchard on a weekly basis from early spring to early summer. In addition, employing polymerase chain reaction diagnostics and specific primers, we investigated the predation rate on psyllids in all predators collected. RESULTS: We found four predatory groups: spiders were the most abundant (60%, N = 756), followed by coccinellid beetles, anthocorid bugs and cantharid beetles. Anthocorids and spiders had the highest predation rates among the predatory groups. Among spiders, >50% of foliage-dwelling spiders (belonging to the genera Philodromus and Clubiona; N = 206) were positive for psyllids and showed a numerical response to the abundance of psyllids. CONCLUSION: We conclude that foliage-dwelling spiders are, of the four groups, the most important natural enemies of psyllids on pear trees during spring in Central Europe, as they outnumber specialized Anthocoris bugs.
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