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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGICALLY BASED TECHNIQUES TO LIMIT THE DISPERSAL OF INVASIVE PESTS

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit

Title: Predator-prey interactions between Orius insidiosus and flower thrips

Author
item Reitz, Stuart

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 9, 2010
Publication Date: October 1, 2010
Citation: Reitz, S.R. 2010. Predator-prey interactions between Orius insidiosus and flower thrips. Journal of Insect Science. 10(166):37-38.

Interpretive Summary: Thrips are among the most important agriculture pests in the world. An historic view of thrips populations is that biological control has not been a viable control tactic against pest thrips. This view has begun to change based on research conducted, in part, by scientists with the USDA-ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology. This review encompasses recent research on interactions between Frankliniella flower thrips and the predatory bug Orius insidious. This predator shows the ability to regulate flower thrips populations, even in diverse environments. From a pest management perspective, naturally occurring populations of Orius insidiosus have the capacity to suppress pest flower thrips populations below economically damaging levels. The key to this type of management is to conserve these naturally occurring populations by minimizing disruptive insecticide applications.

Technical Abstract: The great debates generated in Australia some 50 years ago regarding the relative merits of density dependent versus density independent forces in population dynamics were both reiterations of earlier ecological debates and precursors of succeeding ones. Perhaps, as has been recently emphasised, the question shouldn’t be if populations are regulated, but the extent to which populations may be regulated. From the perspective of managing pest thrips, this becomes an important distinction as thrips populations may in fact show strong density dependence, but still occur at levels that are higher than economically tolerable. The view that natural enemies, or other density dependent factors, cannot suppress pest thrips populations below economically injurious levels has recently been challenged in certain agroecosystems. This presentation will focus on interactions between the anthocorid predator Orius insidiosus (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) and different species of Frankliniella flower thrips, including how species specific traits affect interactions. From a population ecology perspective, this predator shows the ability to regulate flower thrips populations, even in heterogeneous environments. From a pest management perspective, naturally occurring populations of Orius insidiosus have the capacity to suppress pest flower thrips populations below economically damaging levels in certain agroecosystems. Factors affecting the ability of this predator to be an effective biological control agent of flower thrips will be discussed.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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