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Effects of surrounding landscape on parasitism of alfalfa aphids in an IPM crop system in northern Catalonia

Pons, Xavier, Lumbierres, Belén, Comas, Jordi, Madeira, Filipe, Starý, Petr
BioControl 2013 v.58 no.6 pp. 733-744
parasitism, parasitoids, landscapes, Acyrthosiphon pisum, Therioaphis trifolii, Braconidae, alfalfa, growing season, grains, integrated pest management, population growth, natural enemies, forests
The parasitism (Hymenoptera, Braconidae, Aphidiinae) of alfalfa aphids (Hemiptera, Aphididae) was determined during three crop growing seasons. The highest rates of parasitism of Acyrthosiphon pisum Harris and of Therioaphis trifolii Monell occurred during the first-second and the fourth alfalfa intercuts, respectively. The landscape surrounding the fields affected only parasitism rates of A. pisum. During the second intercut the forest area had a negative influence on parasitism rates, whereas the bordering surfaces of alfalfa and winter cereals had a positive influence. Positive correlations were found between the rates of parasitism of A. pisum and the rate of aphid population increase in the first intercut. By contrast, negative correlations were found in the second intercut, when the aphid population peaked, suggesting that parasitoids contribute to the regulation of the aphid. This study stresses that regulation of alfalfa aphids cannot be explained solely on the basis of one functional group of natural enemies.