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Keywords:

  • Avoidance;
  • biological control;
  • deterrent activity;
  • european earwig;
  • evasion;
  • Steinernema carpocapsae

Abstract

Use of predators, parasitoids and entomopathogens as biocontrol agents in pome fruit production can lead to more efficient and sustainable pest management programmes. The European earwig (Forficula auricularia Linnaeus [Dermaptera: Forficulidae]) is a major predator of key pests in pome fruit orchards, and entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) of the families Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae are obligate parasites of a large number of insect species. Therefore, the interaction between earwigs and EPNs can play an important role in pest management programmes. Susceptibility of the European earwig to Steinernema carpocapsae, Steinernema feltiae (Steinernematidae) and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (Heterorhabditidae) was evaluated. S. carpocapsae was the only tested EPN capable of killing the European earwig. However, the European earwig can detect the presence of S. carpocapsae and therefore avoid nematode-treated shelters. An earwig deterrent activity in EPN-killed codling moth larvae that reduces the foraging of European earwig on insect cadavers containing nematodes and allows nematodes to complete their life cycle was also assessed with the three species of nematodes. These findings suggest a positive compatibility between the European earwig and EPNs.