BIOLOGICALLY-BASED TECHNOLOGIES FOR MANAGEMENT OF CROP INSECT PESTS IN LOCAL AND AREAWIDE PROGRAMS
Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit
Title: Tachinidae (Diptera) associated with flowering plants: estimating foral attractiveness
Submitted to: Biological Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 17, 2012
Publication Date: April 1, 2012
Citation: Al-Dobai, S., Reitz, S.R., Sivinski, J.M. 2012. Tachinidae (Diptera) associated with flowering plants: estimating foral attractiveness. Biological Control. 61:230-239.
Interpretive Summary: Flowering plants in agricultural landscapes can provide natural enemies, such as parasitic flies, with nectar-food and there placement near crops might decrease pest populations. Scientists at the USDA-ARS, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Florida, along with a colleague from the Ministry of Agriculture, Yemen, baited traps with various cultivated, introduced/established and native potted plants-in-flower. Of the 14 plant species tested only 4 captured significantly more parasitic flies. Unlike simultaneously acquired parasitic wasps there was no pattern of “attractive” and “unattractive” plant species having different flower widths, flower depths, flower densities and plant heights. However the present study identified particular plants that could be incorporated into regional conservation biological control programs.
Flowering plants in agricultural landscapes can provide ecological services, such as nectar-food for adult parasitic flies such as Tachinidae. Various cultivated, introduced/established and native potted plants-in-flower were used to bait interception traps along the wooded margins of fields planted seasonally with either feed-corn or rye. Depending on circumstances, controls consisted of traps baited with the same species of plant without flowers, a pot/area without plants or both. In most cases pots were rotated among trap-sites. Of the 14 plant species tested only 4 captured significantly more Tachinidae. At the subfamily level there were instances of significant capture of Dexiinae, Exoristinae and Tachininae. Phasiinae were essentially absent from our trap catches. Unlike simultaneously acquired parasitic Hymenoptera, “attractive” and “unattractive” plant species were not characterized by morphological characteristics (flower width, flower depth, flower density and plant height), however the present study identified particular plants that could be incorporated into regional conservation biological control programs.