Tuesday, 19 November 2002 - 4:55 PM

This presentation is part of : The Ecological Basis of Conservation Biological Control of Insect Pests

The role of flowers in the conservation management of anthophilous biocontrol arthropods in vegetable cropping systems

Joseph M. Patt, Delaware Bayshores Office, The Nature Conservancy of New Jersey, Delaware Bayshores Office, 2350 Route 47, Delmont, NJ

Although many biocontrol arthropods are omnivorous, the resources required to complete their life cycles are generally lacking from modern vegetable cropping systems. Augmenting vegetable crops with flowering annual insectary plants, such buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum), coriander (Coriandrum sativum), dill (Anethum graveolens) and alyssum (Lobularia maritima), can lead to significant increases in abundance and species diversity of generalist predators, such as green lacewings (Chrysoperla carnea) and pink spotted ladybeetles (Coleomegilla maculata), with concomitant decreases in levels of vegetable pests, such as Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata). This involves a three-step process: recruitment via floral scent & color attractants and prey/host kairomones; retention by the availability of abundant resources (e.g., pollen, nectar, mating sites, alternative prey/hosts, etc.) provided by the insectary plants; and, population amplification following oviposition in the crop by well-nourished females. To be effective conservation aids for biocontrol arthropods in vegetable cropping systems, insectary plants must produce abundant flowers whose floral architectures are compatible with the morphologies and foraging behaviors of the target biocontrol agents. They should also have small, open flowers arranged in clustered inflorescences and possess a blooming phenology that is extensive in duration and synchronous with the target biocontrol agents' seasonalities and activity periods. As well, their cultivation requirements must be compatible with those of the vegetable crop plants.

Species 1: Neuroptera Chrysopidae Chrysopa carnea (green lacewing)
Species 2: Coleoptera Coccinellidae Coleomegilla maculata (pink lady beetle)
Species 3: Coleoptera Chrysomelidae Leptinotarsa decemlineata (colorado potato beetle)
Keywords: vegetables, population amplification

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