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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Using flower strips to promote green lacewings to control cabbage insect pests

Alcala Herrera, Rafael; Cotes, Belen; Agusti, Nuria; Tasin, Marco; Porcel, Mario


Habitat management improves biological control by increasing the abundance and fitness of natural enemies through the provision of floral resources along field edges or between crops. Among the natural enemies reliant on flower resources, green lacewings often stand out due to their abundance, predation capacity and polyphagy. We evaluated the impact of tailored flower strips on the enhancement of natural enemies, especially green lacewings, in three organic cabbage (Brassica oleracea) farms in Southern Sweden. Insects were sampled from the flower strips, and cabbage pests and predators were visually recorded in the crop. In a laboratory assay, the pollen feeding preferences of Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens, 1836) were evaluated in a dual-choice test. The pollen consumed by the Chrysopidae was extracted from laboratory and field specimens, then quantified and identified. Flower strips were found to attract predators and parasitoids, whose abundance increased as flowers bloomed. Cabbage plants next to the flower strips showed lower pest infestation as compared to cabbage plant control, although no significant differences were observed in the number of predators. Chrysopidae used flower strips as feeding, reproduction and shelter sites and mainly consumed pollen from Phacelia tanacetifolia Benth. Under laboratory conditions, C. carnea showed a preference for P. tanacetifolia and Coriandrum sativum L. pollen over Borago officinalis L. and Fagopyrum esculentum Moench. We show that tailored flower strips could be an efficient tool for enhancing beneficial arthropods and should be considered in integrated pest management for cabbage crops.


Ecological infrastructure; Conservation biological control; Pollen; Chrysoperla carnea; Predators; Parasitoids

Published in

Journal of Pest Science
2022, volume: 95, number: 2, pages: 669-683

Authors' information

Alcala Herrera, Rafael
CSIC - Estacion Experimental del Zaidin (EEZ)
Cotes Ramal, Belén
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Protection Biology
Agusti, Nuria
Tasin, Marco
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Protection Biology
Tasin, Marco
University of Padua
Porcel Vilches, Mario
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Protection Biology
Porcel Vilches, Mario
Corporación colombiana de investigación agropecuaria (AGROSAVIA)

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science

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