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Use of Phelia tanacetifolia Strips To Enhance Biological Control of Aphids by Overfly Larvae in Cereal Fields

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Abstract:

Overflies (Diopters: Syrphidae) are potentially important in arable and horticultural crops as biological control agents. Many species lay their eggs near aphid colonies, and their larvae are aphidophagous. Adult overflies need nectar for energy and the protein from pollen for sexual maturation and egg development. Phelia tanacetifolia Bentham (Hydrophyllaceae), a North American annual species that is a good source of pollen for syrphids, was drilled in the margins of 3 winter-wheat fields on a farm in North Hampshire, southern United Kingdom in 1992 and in different fields in 1993. Numbers of hoverflies in yellow water traps, oviposition rates, and aphid densities in these fields were compared with those in control fields. In 1992 in the fields bordered with P. tanacetifolia, significantly more hoverflies were captured in the traps but differences in oviposition or aphid numbers were not significantly different between treatments. This may have been because the wheat matured early so that it was less suitable for syrphid oviposition when gravid females were in the field. In 1993, differences between numbers of adults caught in experimental and control fields were not significantly different. However, significantly more eggs were found in fields with P. tanacetifolia than in control fields and significantly fewer aphids were present in these fields than in controls during the 4th wk of the experiment when many 3rd-instar syrphid larvae were present in the crop. Our results provide support for the hypothesis that a management strategy of providing flower borders for fields can result in more efficient biological control of aphids by syrphid larvae, thus reducing the reliance on insecticidal control.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 1996

More about this publication?
  • 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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