Pollen load on thrips and its natural ennemies
Regulation for experiments with GM crops in contained facilities such as greenhouses requires that spread of GM plant material into the environment is prevented. Therefore insect pests should be maximally controlled as they may carry pollen when they escape. In most cases chemical control is applied but for several reasons biocontrol of pests by natural enemies can be a good alternative. Introducing natural enemies however may change the risk of pollen transport as not only the pests but also natural enemies may contribute to pollen dispersal. In order to quantify the potential pollen spread in a biocontrol setting, attachment of Arabidopsis pollen grains to Western Flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) as pest and the frequently applied predatory mites (Amblyseius swirskii) and predatory bugs (Orius laevigatus) was investigated. Pollen load on insects was noticeable.