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Insects 2015, 6(3), 772-791;

Grain Diversity Effects on Banker Plant Growth and Parasitism by Aphidius colemani

Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University, Campus Box 7613, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Andrew G. S. Cuthbertson
Received: 26 May 2015 / Revised: 24 August 2015 / Accepted: 1 September 2015 / Published: 8 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pest Control in Glasshouses)
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Green peach aphid (Myzus persicae Sulzer) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) is a serious greenhouse pest with a short generation time, parthenogenetic reproduction and a broad host range. Banker plant systems are becoming a more common form of biological control for this pest. This system consists of grain “banker plants” infested with R. padi, an alternative hosts for the parasitoid Aphidius colemani. Thus A. colemani can reproduce on the banker plant when M. persicae populations are low. This system can increase pest suppression; however, like other biological control tools, efficacy is inconsistent. One reason is because several different grain species have been used. Our studies determined if there were benefits to planting interspecific mixture banker plants, similar to when open agricultural systems use mixed cropping. Our study found that although banker plants grow larger when planted as mixtures this added plant growth does not increase in the number of aphids, or mummies an individual banker plant can sustain. Rye banker plants grew larger, and sustained more mummies than the other species we tested, but barley banker plants resulted in a similar number of aphids in a more condensed area. Ultimately, we did not see any differences in pest suppression between monoculture banker plants, mixture banker plants, or our augmentative release treatment. However, using banker plants resulted in more female parasitoids than the augmentative release, a benefit to using banker plant systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: banker plant; monoculture vs. mixture; Aphidius colemani; aphid biological control banker plant; monoculture vs. mixture; Aphidius colemani; aphid biological control

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McClure, T.; Frank, S.D. Grain Diversity Effects on Banker Plant Growth and Parasitism by Aphidius colemani. Insects 2015, 6, 772-791.

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