Does Harvesting Affect the Spatio-Temporal Signature of Pests and Natural Enemies in Alfalfa Fields?
Mahsa Ghahramani, Roghaiyeh Karimzadeh, Shahzad Iranipour, Andrea Sciarretta
Determining the spatio-temporal distribution and association of pests and natural enemies would be useful for implementing biological control of pests and could also be used in site-specific pest management. In this study, the spatio-temporal distribution and association of aphids, plant bugs, and natural enemies were assessed in alfalfa fields using geo-statistics and spatial analysis by distance indices (SADIE). Additionally, the effect of alfalfa hay-harvesting on the spatial and temporal distribution of these insects was investigated for the first time. Geostatistical analysis indicated that the degree of dependence (DD) was ≥75% for 11 out of 39, 9 out of 35, 3 out of 12, 10 out of 29, and 2 out of 20 datasets for pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum, spotted alfalfa aphid Therioaphis maculata, cowpea aphid Aphis craccivora, alfalfa plant bug Adelphocoris lineolatus, and tarnished plant bug Lygus rugulipennis, respectively. The results also indicated that DD was ≥75% in 7 out of 45, 18 out of 45, and 3 out of 20 datasets for Coccinella septempunctata, Hippodamia variegata, and Pterostichus melanarius, respectively. Harvesting decreased the aggregation of the ladybirds, which resulted in a decrease in the index of aggregation. The geo-statistics results were confirmed by SADIE in 75% of datasets. These results can be used in biological control and site-specific management of aphids and plant bugs in alfalfa fields.
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