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Do sown wildflower strips enhance the parasitism of lepidopteran pests in cabbage crops?

Pfiffner, Lukas; Merkelbach, L. and Luka, Henryk (2003) Do sown wildflower strips enhance the parasitism of lepidopteran pests in cabbage crops? International Organisation for Biological and Integrated Control of Noxious Animals and Plants/West Palaearctic Regional Section Bulletin, 26 (4), pp. 111-116.

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Summary

We investigated the parasitism rates of cabbage lepidopteran pest in relation to presence or absence of adjacent sown, species rich wildflower strips at two sites on farms in the region Grosses Moos, Switzerland. Three treatments have been tested: (1) cabbage adjacent to a wildflower strip, (2) cabbage near to a wildflower strip (>10 m up to 90 m), and (3 = control) cabbage without wildflower strip or any other semi-natural habitats nearby. Caterpillars and eggs of Mamestra brassicae, Pieris rapae, and Plutella xylostella (only larvae) have been sampled weekly in the unsprayed cabbage crops at 6 dates (cauliflower) and 9 dates (red cabbage). The parasitism rate of each pest species and its stage of development was recorded.
Caterpillars of M. brassicae and P. rapae were parasitised at a higher rate in cabbage fields near to the wildflower strip. In contrast, caterpillars of P. xylostella were significantly more parasitised in the field without strip. The parasitism rate of eggs was relatively low in general (14-35%), but increased in the proximity of the strips. In addition, the diversity and abundance of parasitic wasp families (Hymenoptera parasitica) recorded by sweep net catches were much higher in wildflower strips (up to 3 fold more specimens than in cauliflower; 14-16 families) than in the cabbage crops (7-11 families). In conclusion, data of this on-farm trial indicate that wildflower strips enhance the diversity and abundance of parasitic wasps, and thus may improve parasitism of certain lepidopteran cabbage pests in adjacent fields.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:habitat management, biological pest control, on farm biodiversity management, parasitic hymenoptera, Mamestra brassicae, Pieris rapae, Plutella xylostella, Funktionelle Biodiversität, Nützlingsförderung in 1-jährigen Kulturen, Habitatmanagement, ecological engineering
Subjects: Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Entomolgy
Related Links:http://www.fibl.net/forschung/pflanzenschutz-nuetzlinge/index.php
Deposited By: Pfiffner, Dr. Lukas
ID Code:947
Deposited On:03 Jun 2004
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:27
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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