Enhancing ecosystem services in apple orchards.
This paper presents the results of a field study conducted in Spain, to evaluate the efficiency of installing artificial nest boxes for insectivorous birds to reinforce pest biological control in apple orchards. Bird occupancy of nest boxes was widespread, ranging 25.0%-33.3% each year. Great tit was the dominant species, followed by blue tit and, occasionally, common redstart. Nesting species showed different predatory roles in apple orchards. Fewer attacks on sentinel pests but lower arthropod biomass was associated with blue tit rather than great tit. Besides, blue tit fed nestlings at a faster rate and included in their diet a higher proportion of apple pests than great tit, which preyed mostly on other herbivorous insects.