Juliette Pijnakker, Ada Leman and Gerben Messelink
Echinothrips americanus is a very polyphagous thrips species which commonly occurs in many ornamental crops. The aim of this project was to detect and evaluate new natural enemies of Echinothrips. Several species of predatory mites, predatory bugs and lacewings were tested in the laboratory, in small greenhouse trial and in 2 experiments in a commercial gerbera crop. The predatory mite Amblydromalus limonicus seems to be a better predator of Echinothrips than Amblyseius swirskii. Predation rates of Echinothrips larvae were higher and this predator also reached higher densities and gave a better control of Echinothrips in gerbera than A. swirskii. Three species of mirid predatory bugs were able to reduce densities of Echinothrips. However, not each crop is suitable for establishment of these predators. Gerbera seems to be a suitable host plants, but the potential damage these bugs could cause in the flowers needs further research. Lacewing larvae of several species of lacewings were all predating Echinothrips, but in a commercial gerbera crops they were only able to slow down the population increase of Echinothrips.
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