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Forage Grasses Decrease Alfalfa Weevil (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) Damage and Larval Numbers in Alfalfa-Grass Intercrops

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The effects of intercropping forage grasses with alfalfa, Medicago sativa (L.), on larval numbers, number of damaged tips, and intensity of feeding damage by alfalfa weevil, Hypera postica (Gyllenhal), were studied in 1990 and 1995 field experiments. The 1990 experiment consisted of treatments that included alfalfa seeded alone and in combination with 3 forage grasses: smooth bromegrass, Bromus inermis (Leyss.); orchardgrass, Dactylis glomerata (L.); and timothy, Phleum pratense (L.). There were significantly more alfalfa weevil larvae in alfalfa monocultures than in alfalfa-forage grass mixtures on 2 sampling dates in 1990. Alfalfa weevil damage also was greater in alfalfa monocultures than in 4 of 6 mixtures at harvest. The 1995 experiment consisted of treatments that included alfalfa seeded alone and in combination with smooth bromegrass, orchardgrass, timothy, and Kentucky bluegrass, Poa pratensis (L.) studied 1 and 2 yr after establishment. Number of alfalfa weevil larvae, number of damaged tips, and intensity of weevil feeding were significantly reduced in alfalfaforage grass treatments in the 1st but not the 2nd year after establishment. Overall reductions in larval numbers of up to 80% and tip damage of up to 25% were documented in the alfalfaforage grass intercrops. Intercropping forage grasses with alfalfa is a potential cultural control tactic to reduce alfalfa weevil populations and their damage in legume forage production systems.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 1996

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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