Effect of predators on population dynamics of green peach aphid on flue-cured tobacco in Virginia

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The effects of indigenous predators on green peach aphid (GPA), Myzus persicae (Sulzer), populations on flue-cured tobacco were evaluated in 1985 and 1986. The most common GPA predators found on tobacco were convergent lady beetle (CLB) (Hippodamia convergens), syrphid flies, Geocoris spp., Jalysus wackhimi, Nabis spp., Chrysopa spp., Micromus sp., and several other species coccinellids. However, CLB was the only predator that had a numerical response to increasing GPA density on tobacco. In the laboratory, the minimum number of GPA required to initiate reproduction in CLB, and the conversion rates were two factors that determined the oviposition rate of CLB. In fields, CLB demonstrated a sigmoid curve predator-prey relationship. CLB did not show a linear relationship until GPA populations reached a certain density. Furthermore, CLB did not show a response when GPA density was above the satiation point.

Although CLB were able to reduce GPA population growth, they were not able to maintain GPA populations below the economic injury level. Two factors probably limited the success of CLB to control GPA populations on flue-cured tobacco: 1.) the glandular trichomes of tobacco which produced gummy exudates, and 2.) the satiation point of CLB when GPA populations were very high. In addition, interplanting tobacco with clover increased the number of syrphid fly larvae on tobacco. Likewise, tobacco interplanted with sunflowers had increased big-eyed bug, populations, and tobacco-alfalfa and tobacco-tobacco plots had higher stilt bug populations on tobacco.