Phenology and flower visitors of selected plant species with special respectto predators of the cabbage whitefly

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Phenology and flower visitors of selected plant species with special respectto predators of the cabbage whitefly

Description

Abstract: Floral resources represent essential nutrition for many natural enemies of importantarthropod pests. However, they suffer severely from the lack of suitable flowering plants inmodern agricultural landscapes in Central Europe and other parts of the world. This studyinvestigated flower phenology and flower visitation by natural predators of the cabbagewhitefly, Aleyrodes proletella, on selected flowering plants in order to find candidates for atailored flower strip to improve whitefly pest control. Results show that Lobularia maritimawas one of the first plants that started flowering, kept flowering for the entire growing seasonand, together with Anethum graveolens, covered the largest area with its flowers. Zoophagoushoverflies visited all evaluated plant species, but most tended to be found on Berteroa incana,Fagopyrum esculentum and Ammi majus. Ladybeetles preferred flowers of An. graveolensand visited them at least 4.7 times more frequently than any other flowers. Adult lacewingswere abundant in low numbers, but only on Am. majus, L. maritima, B. incana and F.esculentum. Sampled zoophagous hoverflies, ladybeetles and lacewings were identified andthe species composition for each plant is presented. Several plants have shown to possesspromising properties in terms of flower phenology or promotion of different predatory groups.However, actual effects of these plants (individually and implemented in a tailored flowerstrip) on predator, A. proletella and other cabbage pest populations needs to be investigated infuture research.

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