The Use of Buckwheat Border Habitats to Attract Natural Enemies of Cucumber Beetles in a Cucurbit Agroecosystem
Platt, Jason Owen
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The potential control of cucumber beetles, Acalymma vittatum (Fab.) and Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi (Barber) (both Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) two major pests of cucurbits, was assessed in a cucurbit agroecosystem by using buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) border habitat to attract the natural enemies, Celatoria diabroticae (Shimer) and Celatoria setosa (Coquillett) (both Diptera: Tachinidae) and Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus (Deg.) (Coleoptera: Cantharidae). Five different plants were seeded in the border and buckwheat dominated. Four natural enemy groups were also included as indicators of the attractiveness of the floral border: The Order Diptera; the Families Tachinidae and Syrphidae of Diptera; and the Order Hymenoptera. In 1995-1996, rows of squash, Cucurbita pepo (L.) var. melopepo (Alef.) 'Seneca Prolific', and cucumbers, Cucumis sativa (L.) 'Arkansas Littleleaf', were planted perpendicular to floral border habitats. Sticky traps and modified Malaise traps on transects at intervals from the border were used to monitor insect numbers. Insect counts and yields of cucurbits were analyzed using analysis of variance with contrasts for linear and quadratic effects and regression model fitting. Borders were strongly attractive to Diptera and moderately attractive to C. pennsylvanicus, Syrphidae, Tachinidae, and Hymenoptera. C. setosa and C. diabroticae counts were too low to analyze and borders habitats did not have any meaningful effect on yields. The border conserved populations of Diptera, leatherwings, Hymenoptera, and tachinids on some dates and may be useful with economic thresholds for pest management because of an observed gradient of insect movement.
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