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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Earwig Releases Provide Accumulative Biological Control of the Woolly Apple Aphid over the Years

Alins, Georgina; Lordan, Jaume; Rodriguez-Gasol, Neus; Arno, Judit; Penalver-Cruz, Ainara


Nature-based solutions, such as biological control, can strongly contribute to reducing the use of plant protection products. In our study, we assessed the effect of augmentative releases of the European earwig (Forficula auricularia) to control the woolly apple aphid (Eriosoma lanigerum), a worldwide pest that causes serious damage to apple trees. The trials were carried out in two organic apple orchards located in Catalonia (NE Spain) from 2017 to 2020. Two treatments were compared: with vs. without earwig release. For the treatment, 30 earwigs per tree were released by means of a corrugated cardboard shelter. These releases were performed once per season and were repeated every year. We periodically assessed the length of the woolly apple aphid colonies, the number of colonies per tree, the percentage of aphids parasitized by Aphelinus mali, and the number of earwigs per shelter. Our results showed that earwig releases reduced the length of the colonies, but this effect was noticeable only for the second year onwards. Moreover, we found that those releases were compatible with A. mali. Overall, we demonstrated the positive impact of earwig releases on the woolly apple aphid control and the importance of considering time on augmentative biological control strategies.


Forficula auricularia; Eriosoma lanigerum; Aphelinus mali; natural enemies; pest management; nature-based solutions; orchard

Published in

2023, Volume: 14, number: 11, article number: 890
Publisher: MDPI

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Plant Protection Network

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

    Publication identifier


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