[en] Augmentative biocontrol constitutes a safe option to reduce pest populations through the enhancement of natural enemies’ activity. In this context, the aphidophagous syrphid Episyrphus baltetaus (De Geer) (Diptera: Syrphidae) is a promising candidate for aphid biological control: larvae of this syrphid attack and consume a wide range of aphid species and are found on many vegetable crops.
Because natural populations of beneficial insects are not always sufficient to regulate the pest infestations, this work has focused on the conception of a biological control device containing syrphid eggs which ones can easily be introduced in fields or greenhouses. Using semiochemicals [E-(β)-farnesene, R-(+)-limonene and (Z)-3-hexenol], honeydews and “artificial honeydews” (10% or 30% aqueous solutions of sucrose, fructose and glucose), the syrphid oviposition was artificially induced on an inert surface. Specifically, E-(β)-farnesene and concentrated mono-sugars (30%) were identified as the most efficient ovipositional stimulants. To test and validate the biological control device described above, laboratory and field experiments were performed: a plastic lamella covered with syrphid eggs was suspended on aphid infested plants in order to measure the efficiency of the device. The results obtained were promising since populations of 500 aphids were eliminated in ten days when 15 syrphid eggs were introduced. The use of such a biological control device could certainly contribute to the biological control to reduce the aphid infestations.