"IBMA profiles: Orius laevigatus, the "Thrypidae hunter"

The Orius laevigatus is an insect, part of the Anthocoridae family, widely known and used because it hunts a number of different damaging insects.

Adults are black with some grey, white and brown sections on the wings and they are 1.4 to 2.4 mm long. Eggs are very hard to see as they are embedded in the plant tissues, whereas younger insects are yellow or yellow with orange spots.

O. laevigatus are mainly introduced both at a larval and at an adult stadium to control different types of thrypidae. If these are not available, they can also eat aphids, red spider mites, lepidopteran eggs and pollen.

It is an active hunter, that is to say that it looks for its preys and it can be easily found on flowers i.e. where thrypidae cause the most damage (for example, on strawberries).

Thanks to its typical piercing-sucking mouthparts, the insect pierces the body of its target and sucks its insides, leaving only the shell, which is very difficult to identify.

Generally, O. laevigatus are sold as either chrysalis or adult, together with inert materials such as buckwheat seed shells and vermiculite in order to ease their introduction. They do not require much looking after: just spread the insects and they will then move autonomously in search of prey.

The positive aspects of using O. laevigatus are the same ones deriving from the use of natural antagonists in general i.e. they are fully sustainable, easy to use, there are no latency periods, no danger for operators or the environment and there is no way damaging insects can develop resistances, as they are being hunted.

Being a good flyer, this anthocoridae actively looks for its prey and, therefore, there's no need to distribute it uniformly. It is possible to introduce it even if there are no prey, it is in fact capable of surviving and reproducing thanks to the fact that it is polyphagous.

O. laevigatus are available from many producers, many of which testify to the fact that they are compatible with insecticides on the market should integrated control programmes be needed.

For more info:
IBMA Italia-Assometab

Email: italia@ibma-global.org
Web: www.ibma-global.org

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