Insect Science (2015) 22, 20-34
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Assessing the impact of arthropod natural enemies on crop pests at the field scale
Insect Science 22 (1), 20-34
Abstract: There are many reasons why it is important that we find ways to conserve, and better utilize natural enemies of invertebrate crop pests. Currently, measures of natural enemy impact are rarely incorporated into studies that purport to examine pest control. Most studies examine pest and natural enemy presence and/or abundance and then qualitatively infer impact. While this provides useful data to address a range of ecological questions, a measure of impact is critical for guiding pest management decision-making. Often some very simple techniques can be used to obtain an estimate of natural enemy impact. We present examples of field-based studies that have used cages, barriers to restrict natural enemy or prey movement, direct observation of natural enemy attack, and sentinel prey items to estimate mortality. The measure of natural enemy impact used in each study needs to be tailored to the needs of farmers and the specific pest problems they face. For example, the magnitude of mortality attributed to natural enemies may be less important than the timing and consistency of that mortality between seasons. Tailoring impact assessments will lead to research outcomes that do not simply provide general information about how to conserve natural enemies, but how to use these natural enemies as an integral part of decision-making.
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Database assignments for author(s): Sarina Macfadyen, Myron P. Zalucki
Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
general biology - morphology - evolution
Pest and/or beneficial records: