(1) Habitat management can enhance beneficial arthropod populations and provide ecosystem services such as biological control. However, the implementation of ecological infrastructures inside orchards has a number of practical limitations. Therefore, planting/growing insectary plants in the margins of orchards should be considered as an alternative approach. (2) Here, we assessed the efficacy of a flower margin composed by four insectary plant species (Achillea millefolium, Lobularia maritima, Moricandia arvensis and Sinapis alba), which was placed on an edge of four Mediterranean apple orchards to attract natural enemies of two apple tree aphids (Dysaphis plantaginea and Eriosoma lanigerum). We also characterized the natural enemies present in the aphid colonies. (3) Our results show that the implementation of a flower margin at the edge of apple orchards attracts predators (Syrphidae, Thysanoptera, Araneae, Heteroptera, Coleoptera) and parasitoids. Parasitoids are the main natural enemies present in aphid colonies in our area. (4) The implementation of the flower margins successfully recruited natural enemy populations, and the presence of parasitoids in the surroundings of the orchards increased the parasitism of D. plantaginea colonies.
Keywords: Dysaphis plantaginea; Eriosoma lanigerum; Syrphidae; agroecological infrastructures; biological control; flower strip; natural enemies; parasitoids.