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Insects 2017, 8(3), 73;

Responses of Crop Pests and Natural Enemies to Wildflower Borders Depends on Functional Group

Department of Biological Sciences, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA
Department of Entomology, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Cornell University, Geneva, NY 14456, USA
Department of Entomology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Zsofia Szendrei and Amanda Buchanan
Received: 1 June 2017 / Revised: 12 July 2017 / Accepted: 20 July 2017 / Published: 25 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Habitat Management in Agroecosystems)
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Increased homogeneity of agricultural landscapes in the last century has led to a loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, management practices such as wildflower borders offer supplementary resources to many beneficial arthropods. There is evidence that these borders can increase beneficial arthropod abundance, including natural enemies of many pests. However, this increase in local habitat diversity can also have effects on pest populations, and these effects are not well-studied. In this study, we investigated how wildflower borders affect both natural enemies and pests within an adjacent strawberry crop. Significantly more predators were captured in strawberry plantings with wildflower borders versus plantings without wildflowers, but this effect depended on sampling method. Overall, herbivore populations were lower in plots with a wildflower border; however, responses to wildflower borders varied across specific pest groups. Densities of Lygus lineolaris (Tarnished Plant Bug), a generalist pest, increased significantly in plots that had a border, while Stelidota geminata (Strawberry Sap Beetle) decreased in strawberry fields with a wildflower border. These results suggest that wildflower borders may support the control of some pest insects; however, if the pest is a generalist and can utilize the resources of the wildflower patch, their populations may increase within the crop. View Full-Text
Keywords: wildflower planting; pests; natural enemies; functional group wildflower planting; pests; natural enemies; functional group

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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McCabe, E.; Loeb, G.; Grab, H. Responses of Crop Pests and Natural Enemies to Wildflower Borders Depends on Functional Group. Insects 2017, 8, 73.

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