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

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Insects
Publication Date
Volume
6
Issue
3
Pages
772–791
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/insects6030772
PMID: 26463416
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

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.

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