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Research into ways of improving the biological control of whitefly in greenhouses under shelter and outdoors with the aid of entomephagi specific parasites and polyphagous predators


The proposed research project intends to study the methods of production and utilization of specific parasites and their predators in order to control the population of a certain number of major pests (the aleurode pests Trialeurodes vaporariorum and Bemisia tabaci, and the acarien pests Tetranychus urticae and T. cinnabarinus). These pests specifically attack vegetables grown under greenhouses and under plastic in Southern Europe, where classical and traditional methods of protection (which are either chemical or biological in nature) have become inefficient.

Two methods are planned for the improvement of the biological control of these pests.

Firstly, the identification of specific pests which attack aleurode and acarien pests. Two techniques are planned to study and evaluate this approach, one being to use the classical vegetables-pest-auxiliary tropic chain and studying pests of the genus Phytoseiulus which attack acariens. Climatically well adapted wild types of these pests will be collected, isolated, and characterized and will be compared to those produced in biocontrol programmes used in the north of Europe. For the other technique, to be applied to the aleurodes, the potential of the predatory pest Macrolophus caliginosus will be examined with respect to climatic conditions and the density and diversity of the host.
An alternative is to use a simplified tropic chain and study the egg laying auxiliary stage, replacing the plant with an artificial medium and feeding it with whitefly. It is hoped that this will provide answers to situations where traditional auxiliaries are ineffective.
For both the production techniques strict quality control procedures will be set up.

The second method is by using specific parasites, to give long and short term regulation which can interfere with several different pest species. New indigenous species must be tested, eg E. tricolor to control T. Vaporariorum in the open air and under cover and to introduce Eretmocerus and Encarsioa species in order to attack B. tabaci for control of open air seeding and verification of their ability to attack indigenous entomophages.

The definition of the conditions of utilization and efficiency of the entomophages (parasites, aleurodes pests, acariens pests) accompanied by the development of a bioecological database will allow the formation of a model and a management network. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of greenhouses and plastic tunnels are directly concerned by this kind of protection in the Mediterranean countries of the European Community.


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Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)
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37 boulevard du Cap
06606 Antibes

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Participants (6)