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Identification of Conditions for Successful Aphid Control by Ladybirds in Greenhouses

Eric W. Riddick
Insects 2017 v.8 no.2 pp. -
Aphidoidea, Formicidae, Harmonia axyridis, adults, biological control agents, cages, foraging, greenhouses, insect control, larvae, literature, parasitoids, predators, prediction
As part of my research on the mass production and augmentative release of ladybirds, I reviewed the primary research literature to test the prediction that ladybirds are effective aphid predators in greenhouses. Aphid population reduction exceeded 50% in most studies and ladybird release rates usually did not correlate with aphid reduction. The ratio of aphid reduction/release rate was slightly less for larvae than adults in some studies, suggesting that larvae were less effective (than adults) in suppressing aphids. Some adult releases were inside cages, thereby limiting adult dispersion from plants. Overall, the ratio of aphid reduction/release rate was greatest for ladybird adults of the normal strain (several species combined), but least for adults of a flightless Harmonia axyridis strain. The combined action of ladybirds and hymenopteran parasitoids could have a net positive effect on aphid population suppression and, consequently, on host (crop) plants. However, ladybird encounters with aphid-tending or foraging ants must be reduced. Deploying ladybirds to help manage aphids in greenhouses and similar protective structures is encouraged.