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Banker plants are cereal plants that are integrated into the crop to be deliberately infested by a pest of their own and are harmless to other species and it is a fantastic food for beneficial insects.

Its main objective is to maintain a population of natural enemies as high as possible as a preventive option and continuously multiply both in the greenhouse and outdoors.

It is an agronomic practice increasingly used in the biological control of pests in agriculture and especially in the control of aphids. Gramineous species such as oats (Avena sativa L.), corn (Zea mays L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) are mainly used. After sowing the cereal and when it reaches 15-20 cm in height, it is inoculated with the specific aphid to serve as food for natural enemies. The inoculated insect does not constitute any risk as a pest.

The specific aphid species most used to inoculate cereals are usually Rhopalosiphum padi, since it is highly adaptable to these banker plant species, increasing its density and distribution area on the plant quite quickly and reaching the spikes quite easily. This species of aphid is usually more useful when the pest aphid to be protected is small (Myzus or Aphis). In cases of larger pest aphids (Macrosiphum or Aulacorthum), the most recommended inoculated aphid species is Sitobion avenae.

We highlight the main benefits of using banker plants in agriculture:

✅ Attracts native natural enemies.
✅ Facilitates the establishment of stable and effective insect populations.
✅ Allows preventive installation of beneficials against pests by offering them alternative prey.
✅ They are used as copulation places for beneficials.
✅ They serve as shelter sites for auxiliary insects in the face of adverse outdoor weather conditions.
✅ Facilitates the evaluation of the effects and results of the releases.
✅ Allows auxiliary fauna to be maintained between two successive crops.
✅ Allows you to reduce the number of commercial releases of natural enemies.




Author miguel

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