Pfiffner, Lukas; Luka, Henryk; Schlatter, Christian; Juen, Anita and Traugott, Michael (2009) Impact of wildflower strips on biological control of cabbage lepidopterans. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 129 (1-3), pp. 310-314.
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In a 2-year experiment we investigated whether wildflower strips can be used to enhance the control of cabbage moth, Mamestra brassicae L., and cabbage white butterfly, Pieris rapae L. At two sites, including six organically cultivated fields, M. brassicae egg parasitism and predation rates were determined along with an assessment of larval parasitism rates in M. brassicae and P. rapae using a DNA-based approach. Within each field, plots with and without wildflower strips were sampled and a grid design of 3 m x 3 m was used to analyse the spatial pattern of parasitism. The provision of wildflower strips provided an idiosyncratic effect on the control of lepidopterans: parasitism rates in M. brassicae eggs and larvae were not affected, whereas parasitism rates of larval P. rapae were significantly enhanced by the wildflower strips at one of the two sites. Moreover, at one site predation rates on M. brassicae eggs were significantly enhanced in the wildflower strip plots. Geostatistical analysis showed no distinct spatial patterns in parasitism rates. These results demonstrate that the provision of wildflower strips does not necessarily enhance biological control of lepidopteran cabbage pests and suggest that site-specific environmental factors strongly affect the impact of wildflower strips.
(c) 2008 Elsevier B.V.
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