Scouting of pests and beneficials is essential in application of IPM strategy in strawberry

J. Smessaert, D. Baets, P. Melis, T. Van Delm
Integrated pest management (IPM) has become a standard practice in substrate strawberry cultivation. Growers use beneficial insects or mites to control the most common pests in strawberry production. The emergence of pests is often unpredictable and can differ between cropping systems and seasons. It is therefore important to scout precisely the establishment of the beneficials after their introduction into the crop, as well as the evolution of the pests. In 2019 and 2020, the Research Centre Hoogstraten scouted different cultivation systems, among several growers in Belgium and the Netherlands. The presence of the most important pests (aphids, spider mites, whiteflies and thrips) and beneficials (predatory mites and bugs, and parasitized aphids) were scouted weekly. Data were visualized in graphs, so the growers got a clear picture of the intensity of pest pressure and protection by the beneficials, and their evolution over time. This supported the growers in deciding if necessary adjustments were needed, and by achieving a successful IPM strategy in their crops. Growers were satisfied with the scouting results as they provided a clear image of the evolution of both beneficials and pests. Now we intend to further align this technique with the specific needs of the growers. Can this technique be optimized with fewer spots, or using fixed spots instead of random spots? Finally, all these data could be used to establish predictive models and action thresholds for a balance between pests and beneficials so no pest damage would be expected.
Smessaert, J., Baets, D., Melis, P. and Van Delm, T. (2021). Scouting of pests and beneficials is essential in application of IPM strategy in strawberry. Acta Hortic. 1309, 741-750
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1309.106
biological control, data analysis, Fragaria × ananassa, integrated pest management, monitoring

Acta Horticulturae