Submitted to: International Symposium on Biological Control of Arthropods
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 13, 2009
Publication Date: December 13, 2009
Citation: Tillman, P.G. 2009. Conservation of natural enemies: Strategic placement of a multifunctional habitat in the landscape. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Biological Control of Arthropods, February 8-13, 2009, Christchurch, New Zealand. p. 226-233. USDA Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team, Morgantown, WV. 2009. Technical Abstract: Insect pollinators are essential for the reproduction of more than two-thirds of the world’s crop species, and beneficial insects play an important role in reducing or controlling populations of pest insects in agricultural farmscapes. These insects depend on nectar for their survival in these farmscapes. Because the flowers of milkweed provide a rich supply of nectar, establishing a habitat of tropical milkweed could possibly enhance beneficial insects and pollinators in south Georgia farmscapes. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to monitor feeding activity of these insects on tropical milkweed in a corn farmscape in south Georgia. Eight flowering potted plants of tropical milkweed were placed next to a corn field, and then insects feeding on nectar of these milkweed plants were observed and recorded throughout the day on weekly basis for the growing season in 2008. It was determined that many species of beneficial insects and insect pollinators fed on the nectar of topical milkweed, and for the first time scelionids and other small parasitoids were observed feeding on nectar of a milkweed species. Corn plants do not produce nectar, and so an addition of a habitat of nectar-producing milkweed plants in this environment could possibly enhance beneficial insects and insect pollinators.