Management of field margin aimed at benefiting natural control of thrips in strawberry plants

There is some evidence that more diverse agricultural systems may enhance natural control of crop pests. In this paper the interaction crop-weeds is analyzed for the particular case of thrips (Insecta: Thysanoptera) present in the strawberry crop and in the natural vegetation in crop edges. Three types of margins were selected, according to field edge management: 1) ruderal vegetation; 2) natural vegetation with grazing and c) cover crop (Lupinus luteus L.). The predators Aeolothrips spp. were especially abundant in the crop, followed by the phytophagous Thrips angusticeps Uzel. Lupinus luteus was found to be a potential source of those predators to the crop. In relation to T. angusticeps, specimens were more abundant in the weeds Andryala integrifolia L., Crepis capillaris (L.) Wallr, and Ranunculus trilobus Desf. Considerations about other thrips species/genus presence in the crop and weeds are also presented, aiming a more efficient and sustainable crop protection.