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Do wildflower strips enhance pest control in organic cabbage?

Schied, Johannes; Leimgruber, Andrea; Willareth, Martin; Nagel, Peter; Pfiffner, Lukas; Luka, Henryk and Wyss, Eric (2009) Do wildflower strips enhance pest control in organic cabbage? In: Mason, Peter G.; Gillespie, David R. and Vincent, Charles (Eds.) Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Biological Control of Arthropods, United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Morgantown, WV, FHTET-2008-06, Christchurch, New Zealand, pp. 601-602.

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Online at: http://www.biogeography.unibas.ch/Publikationen/papers/ISBCA3_Proceedings_2009.pdf

Summary

Within this project we assess whether wildflower strips and companion plants increase the control of cabbage pests Plutella xylostella L. (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), Mamestra brassicae L. (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and Pieris rapae L. (Lepidoptera: Pieridae) by (1) naturally occurring parasitoids and predators and (2) mass‐releasedn Trichogramma brassciae (Bezdenko) (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) parasitoids. Two organic cabbage fields were used for this study: adjacent to each field a wildflower strip was sown and companion plants (Centaurea cyanus L. (Asteraceae)) intermixed within the crop. Within each field ~15,000 M. brassicae eggs were placed out to determine the parasitism rates by mass‐released T. brassicae and to assess the levels of egg predation. Over 1,000 lepidopteran larvae were collected and screened for hymenopteran and tachinid parasitoid DNA using a multiplex PCR assay. Invertebrate generalist predators (n=1,063) were collected for DNA‐based gut content analysis. The wildflower strip had a significant positive effect on M. brassicae egg parasitism rates as rates increased 5‐fold in the vicinity to the strip. Moreover, companion plants enhanced invertebrate predation on M. brassicae eggs. Both, the release of T. brassicae and the use of companion plants, however, did not significantly increase egg parasitism rates. The infestation of plants by caterpillars increased with distance to the wildflower strip and there was a trend of decreasing larval parasitism rates with distance to the strip. Currently the invertebrate predators are being molecularly analysed to assess predation on unparasitized and parasitized lepidopteran pests.


EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:wildflower strips, pest, control, cabbage, organic, Entomologie, Biocontrol, Kohlschädlinge, Nutzorganismen gegen Schädlinge
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Production systems > Vegetables
Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability > Biodiversity
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Entomolgy
Related Links:http://www.fibl.org/en/switzerland/research/plant-protection-biodiversity.html
Deposited By: Luka, Dr. Henryk
ID Code:18168
Deposited On:16 Feb 2011 11:15
Last Modified:16 Feb 2011 11:15
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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