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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #290995

Title: Estimating attraction of Syrphidae (Diptera) to flowering plants with interception traps

item Miller, Neil
item AL-DOBAI, SHOKI - Ministry Of Agriculture & Irrigation
item Legaspi, Jesusa - Susie
item Sivinski, John

Submitted to: Biocontrol Science and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/24/2013
Publication Date: 9/16/2013
Citation: Miller, N.W., Al-Dobai, S., Legaspi, J.C., Sivinski, J.M. 2013. Estimating attraction of Syrphidae (Diptera) to flowering plants with interception traps . Biocontrol Science and Technology. 23(9):1040-1052.

Interpretive Summary: Immature hover flies consume pest aphids, but the adults feed largely on floral nectar. Scientists at the USDA-Agriculture Research Service, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Florida, with collaborators from the Yemen Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation determined which flowering plants were most attractive to the adult flies. To do this they placed potted plants under interception plants which allowed them to also determine the flowers’ attractiveness to potential pests such as moths. Knowledge of which flowers are attractive to natural enemies but less so to pests will guide the addition of useful non-crop plants to agricultural environments and so help control aphids and the diseases they spread.

Technical Abstract: Syrphidae with predaceous larvae are important predators of aphids and other insects and can be attracted and maintained in agricultural environments by the addition of flowering plants. Malaise interception traps baited with moveable flowering plants are a novel means of surveying for attractive species and can have the advantages of: 1) homogenizing experimental site and plant quality, 2) portability, 3) continuous sampling, 4) capacity to simultaneously capture a broad range of insects (including pests) and 5) no requirement for additional sensory cues to be effective. Six of 10 species of plants tested were relatively attractive (number of syrphids captured in flower-traps/numbers captured in no-plant controls). While flower-traps captured more syrphid species than their associated controls, there were no differences between flower-traps and controls in the sizes (head height) or proboscis lengths of the flies collected. There were no significant relationships between relative attractiveness and flower width or depth or with plant height and floral area. Similarly mean proboscis length of flies taken in flower-baited traps was not correlated with flower width or depth. The absence of the latter relationship may be due to the inability of an interception trap to distinguish between attraction and attraction-then-feeding.