Methyl salicylate (MeSA) is an herbivore-induced plant volatile (HIPV) known to attract the natural enemies of herbivores in agro-ecosystems; however, whether this attraction leads to an increase in natural enemy functioning, i.e., predation, remains largely unknown. Here, we monitored for 2 years (2011–2012) the response of herbivores and natural enemies to MeSA lures (PredaLure) by using sticky and pitfall traps in cranberry bogs. In addition, European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis
, egg masses were used to determine whether natural enemy attraction to MeSA leads to higher predation. In both years, MeSA increased adult hoverfly captures on sticky traps and augmented predation of O. nubilalis
eggs. However, MeSA also attracted more phytophagous thrips and, in 2012, more plant bugs (Miridae) to sticky traps. Furthermore, we used surveillance cameras to record the identity of natural enemies attracted to MeSA and measure their predation rate. Video recordings showed that MeSA lures increase visitation by adult lady beetles, adult hoverflies, and predatory mites to sentinel eggs, and predation of these eggs doubled compared to no-lure controls. Our data indicate that MeSA lures increase predator attraction, resulting in increased predation; thus, we provide evidence that attraction to HIPVs can increase natural enemy functioning in an agro-ecosystem.
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