Effect of the ground cover management on Cacopsylla bidens (Šulc, 1907) populations in pear orchards
Ms. Diana Valle is currently a PhD student at the Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA Las Brujas) in Uruguay. For her master’s studies she focused on finding alternative strategies to the chemical control of Cacopsylla bidens, one of the main pests in pear orchards. Following that work in her PhD, she is mapping the trophic networks that involve C. bidens as a prey, because the information is scarce on which of the generalist predators is effectively feeding on C. bidens. She will use molecular ecology techniques based on PCR to determine which of the predators present in the agroecosystem have psylla residues in their stomach. Jointly, she will investigate if the parasitoid of the genus Trechnites, which has been associated worldwide with parasitism of nymphs, is present in Uruguay. Finally, she will attempt to characterize the volatiles induced by herbivory and their possible use as synomones to attract the third trophic level. This work aims to lay the foundations of an agroecological management of pear orchards, with emphasis on the conservation biological control. The results presented in the symposium were derived from the studies carried out during her master’s thesis. The objective was to evaluate if a greater biodiversity, derived from the flowering plants present between rows, favored the presence of natural enemies of C. bidens, to reduce the population of the pest. To achieve this goal, the spontaneous flora present in the orchards was allowed to grow. This was compared with a conventional treatment of inter-row mowing plus maintaining a herbicide strip. The results were encouraging, as there was a significant increase in the number of natural enemies present in the orchards in the spontaneous flora treatment, which suggests there is potential to reduce the population of the pest. In addition, it was possible to determine that the natural enemies are naturally present in this agroecosystem. These results encouraged us to further these studies, to obtain an agroecological control of C. bidens and increase sustainability of pear production.
Diana Valle won an ISHS Young Minds Award for the best poster presentation at the XIII International Pear Symposium in Uruguay in December 2018.
Diana Valle, Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA, Las Brujas), Ruta 48 Km. 10 Rincón del Colorado, Canelones, CP 90200, Uruguay, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The article is available in Chronica Horticulturae