Ecological considerations for biological control of aphids in protected culture.
Several braconid and aphelinid parasitoids, midges, lacewings, and ladybird beetles are used to control aphids in greenhouses. Here, I review three topics as ecological bases for the biological control of aphids in a protected culture: the preliminary evaluation of biological control agents, natural enemy release strategies, and the effects of intraguild predation (IGP) on biological control. A comparison of several parasitoid species was conducted to select agents for the biological control of aphids; the intrinsic rate of natural increase was a useful criterion in the preliminary evaluation. To compare predators as biological control agents, the aphid-killing rate must be considered as a critical criterion, rather than reproductive criteria. The banker plant system (open rearing system) is used as a release method for Aphidius colemani and other natural enemies of aphids. Continuous release of parasitoid adults, which is the important characteristic of this method, has a stabilizing effect on population fluctuation in the aphid-parasitoid system. Two species of natural enemies can be used to control aphids in greenhouses. When one parasitoid and one predator are used simultaneously in a greenhouse, IGP of the parasitoid by the predator can occur, but the effect of IGP is less important in greenhouses than in the field.