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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGICALLY BASED MANAGEMENT OF INVASIVE INSECT PESTS AND WEEDS

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit

Title: Can sunflower enhance natural enemies in vegetable cropping systems?

Authors
item Legaspi, Jesusa
item Reitz, Stuart -

Submitted to: FAMU-CESTA-CBC Newsletter
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: October 20, 2008
Publication Date: December 1, 2008
Citation: Legaspi, J.C. 2008. Can sunflower enhance natural enemies in vegetable cropping systems? FAMU-CESTA-CBC Newsletter. 7(1):5.

Technical Abstract: Thrips, Frankliniella spp. cause major losses to growers due to direct feeding and as vectors of plant diseases. The minute pirate bug, Orius insidiosus has been documented to be an important generalist predator of thrips. These predators have also been reported to be abundant in plants such as sunflower. Several studies have shown that sunflower is a good refuge plant for the minute pirate bug. Drs. Jesusa C. Legaspi, Stuart Reitz and cooperators conducted studies on use of sunflower to enhance natural enemies and hence, reduce insect pest populations in vegetable crops. In 2005, we tested eight different varieties of sunflower crop to determine a variety that had the most abundant number of Orius insidiosus. The selected variety was then intercropped with bell peppers in 2006. The objective of the latter study was to determine if thrips populations may be suppressed in bell peppers with sunflower serving as a refuge crop for the Orius predators. The sunflower varieties studied in 2005 were the following: Bashful, Double Quick Orange, Pro Cut Bicolor, Pro Cut Lemon, Sundance Kid, Sunrich Lemon, Teddy Bear and Zebulon. We found that Double Quick Orange had the most numbers of O. insidiosus but also the highest numbers of thrips. When Double Quick Orange sunflower was intercropped with bell peppers, we found that Orius populations were highest in the sunflower border, followed by the bell pepper monoculture and the bell pepper intercropped with sunflower. Our results indicate that Orius predators remained in the sunflower; thus, the latter may be more useful as a trap crop rather than a source of Orius predators in different cropping systems. Thrips, Frankliniella spp. cause major losses to growers due to direct feeding and as vectors of plant diseases. The minute pirate bug, Orius insidiosus has been documented to be an important generalist predator of thrips. These predators have also been reported to be abundant in plants such as sunflower. Several studies have shown that sunflower is a good refuge plant for the minute pirate bug. Drs. Jesusa C. Legaspi, Stuart Reitz and cooperators conducted studies on use of sunflower to enhance natural enemies and hence, reduce insect pest populations in vegetable crops. In 2005, we tested eight different varieties of sunflower crop to determine a variety that had the most abundant number of Orius insidiosus. The selected variety was then intercropped with bell peppers in 2006. The objective of the latter study was to determine if thrips populations may be suppressed in bell peppers with sunflower serving as a refuge crop for the Orius predators. The sunflower varieties studied in 2005 were the following: Bashful, Double Quick Orange, Pro Cut Bicolor, Pro Cut Lemon, Sundance Kid, Sunrich Lemon, Teddy Bear and Zebulon. We found that Double Quick Orange had the most numbers of O. insidiosus but also the highest numbers of thrips. When Double Quick Orange sunflower was intercropped with bell peppers, we found that Orius populations were highest in the sunflower border, followed by the bell pepper monoculture and the bell pepper intercropped with sunflower. Our results indicate that Orius predators remained in the sunflower; thus, the latter may be more useful as a trap crop rather than a source of Orius predators in different cropping systems. Thrips, Frankliniella spp. cause major losses to growers due to direct feeding and as vectors of plant diseases. The minute pirate bug, Orius insidiosus has been documented to be an important generalist predator of thrips. These predators have also been reported to be abundant in plants such as sunflower. Several studies have shown that sunflower is a good refuge plant for the minute pirate bug. Drs. Jesusa C. Legaspi, Stuart Reitz and cooperators conducted studies on use of sunflower to enhance natural enemies and hence, reduce insect pest populations in vegetable crops. In 2005, we tested eight different varieties of sunflower crop to determine a variety that had the most abundant number of Orius insidiosus. The selected variety was then intercropped with bell peppers in 2006. The objective of the latter study was to determine if thrips populations may be suppressed in bell peppers with sunflower serving as a refuge crop for the Orius predators. The sunflower varieties studied in 2005 were the following: Bashful, Double Quick Orange, Pro Cut Bicolor, Pro Cut Lemon, Sundance Kid, Sunrich Lemon, Teddy Bear and Zebulon. We found that Double Quick Orange had the most numbers of O. insidiosus but also the highest numbers of thrips. When Double Quick Orange sunflower was intercropped with bell peppers, we found that Orius populations were highest in the sunflower border, followed by the bell pepper monoculture and the bell pepper intercropped with sunflower. Our results indicate that Orius predators remained in the sunflower; thus, the latter may be more useful as a trap crop rather than a source of Orius predators in different cropping systems.

Last Modified: 7/30/2014
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