Spatial and temporal dynamics of attracting green lacewings to synthetic lures in apple orchards for pest suppression

The discovery of volatile phytochemicals that affect natural enemy (NE) populations has stimulated interest in using synthetic versions to manipulate NE populations for pest suppression. Unfortunately, field studies that investigate practical use of these tools are lacking. Apple orchards provide a good setting to answer these questions because we have already developed lures for monitoring and aggregating 2 species of green lacewing (GLW) that prey on woolly apple aphid (WAA). The proposed studies will fill existing knowledge gaps needed to assess whether these products can be used to “herd” NE for pest suppression. We propose to evaluate the spatial range over which lures affect GLW distribution, examine the daily activity of GLW in the vicinity of lures, and evaluate whether GLW movement into a lured areas significantly reduces WAA infestations.  This project fits with BIOAg goals by integrating biology and ecology to improve sustainable management programs.

Grant Information

  • Project ID: 149
  • Project Status: Complete



1. O’Leary, C. 2015. Application of synthetic HIPV lures to augment biological control of Eriosoma lanigerum (Homoptera: Aphididae) in WA apple orchards. Entomology non-thesis MS scholarly review and research report. 37 pp.

2. Jones, VP and C. O’Leary. 2016. Evaluating plant volatiles for augmenting biological control. Progress Report for Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission Grant CP-15-101.

Additional Funds Leveraged

Jones, VP and C. O’Leary. Evaluating plant volatiles for augmenting biological control. Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission. $110,066 (2015-2016).


Short-Term: The short-term impacts are primarily from filling data gaps and showing the feasibility of the approach of using synthetic plant volatiles to aggregate natural enemies and increase spatially limited biological control. This work will form the basis of the new experiments that will further refine the parameters needed to use the techniques at larger scales.

Intermediate-Term: Our grant from the research commission will allow us to perform more studies to clarify the best way to use the technology and to examine its strengths and weaknesses.

Long-Term: The goal over the next 5 years, first and foremost, will be to further explore and define phytochemical-insect interactions in apple and other agricultural systems. The finer details of utilizing this technique to our advantage remain exceedingly complex, but our work should simplify the process. Research that continues to study and improve our understanding of methods to enhance biological control will be important for developing the most stable IPM programs. Perhaps more importantly, the lures work independently of the cropping system and, since the target NEs are generalist predators that are found in a wide range of crops in the western U.S., our data will have much broader applicability than to apples alone. Thus, our long-term goal is to advance luring technology throughout U.S. agriculture, identifying more NE-lure interactions and promoting lurebased biocontrol as another tool in the farmer’s IPM program.