A review: Impacts of wildflower interventions on beneficial insects in fruit crops

Integrated pest management (IPM) has been practised by the fruit industry for at least 30 years. Naturally occurring beneficial insects have been encouraged to thrive alongside introduced predatory insects. However, Conservation Biological Control and augmented biocontrol through the release of large numbers of natural enemies is normally only widely adopted when a pest has become resistant to available conventional pesticides and control has begun to break down. In addition, the incorporation of wild pollinator management, essential to fruit production has, in the past, not been a priority but is now increasingly recognised through Integrated Pest and Pollinator Management (IPPM).

This review focuses on the benefits provided to pest regulation and pollination services in fruit crops through the delivery of natural enemies and pollinating insects by provisioning areas of fruiting crops with floral resources. Most of the studies in this review highlighted beneficial or benign impacts of floral resource prevision to fruit crops. However, placement in the landscape and spill-over of beneficial arthropods into the crop can be influential and limiting. The review also highlights the need for longer-term ecological studies to understand the impacts of changing arthropod communities, over time and the opportunity to tailor wildflower mixes to specific crops for increased pest control and pollination benefits, ultimately impacting fruit growers bottom-line with less reliance on plant protection products.

This information was last updated in 2022.