The influence of flowering plants on herbivore and natural enemy abundance in ornamental landscapes

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Ornamental landscapes are diverse, perennial ecosystems. Habitat manipulation, a form of conservation biological control, is an ideal method of pest management for landscape systems. A field study was conducted to determine whether manipulating landscape habitats by adding flowering plants could reduce insect pest outbreaks. Incorporating flowering plants, coriander (Coriandrum sativum) and Shasta daisy (Chrysanthemum sp.), into a simulated landscape (plot) resulted in greater abundance of alternative prey and natural enemies. Survival of azalea lace bug (Stephanitis pyrioides (Scott)) on azaleas in plots with flowers was lower than in plots without flowers on most dates tested. Early season evaluation of azalea lace bug survival revealed no difference between plots with and without flowers. To determine whether the green lacewing predator, Chiysoperla carnea, could suppress azalea lace bug populations and whether flowers influenced the retention of green lacewings, augmentative release of lacewings was made onto azaleas with azalea lace bugs in plots with and without flowers. Lacewings reduced azalea lace bug populations in plots with and without flowers. Lacewings did not remain in plots with flowers any longer than in plots without flowers. High rates of lacewing disappearance from plots may be the result of dispersal, cannibalism, or intra-guild predation. This study suggests that augmentative release of green lacewings can effectively reduce azalea lace bug populations but these releases should be considered a short-term solution. Moreover, adding flowering plants to landscapes should reduce the likelihood of pest insect outbreaks. A better understanding of the interactions between the habitat, natural enemies, and herbivore is necessary to improve the likelihood of success of this habitat manipulation approach in ornamental systems. © International Scientific Publications, New Delhi.

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International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences





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