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, 67 (9), 1107-14

Temporal Dynamics of the Arthropod Community in Pear Orchards Intercropped With Aromatic Plants

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Temporal Dynamics of the Arthropod Community in Pear Orchards Intercropped With Aromatic Plants

Song Beizhou et al. Pest Manag Sci.

Abstract

Background: Increasing attention has been paid to enhancing biological control through habitat management in agricultural systems for enhanced pest management. Pest management benefits can be realised by intercropping, which can increase natural enemy abundance and, in turn, reduce pest abundance. In this study, the composition and temporal dynamics of arthropod communities in pear orchards when intercropped with aromatic plants were investigated, and the effectiveness and applicability of aromatic plants as intercrops for enhancing insect control were assessed.

Results: When compared with natural grasses or clean tillage, intercropping significantly reduced pest abundance and increased the ratio of natural enemies to pests. Intercropping also shortened the occurrence duration and depressed the incidence peak in annual dynamics curves of the pest subcommunity and the arthropod community, mainly because of the repellent effects of aromatic plants. Equally important, intercropping significantly reduced the numbers of major pests, such as Psylla chinensis, Aphis citricola and Pseudococcus comstocki, while their incidence period was delayed to varying degrees, and the numbers of their dominant natural enemies (Coccinella septempunctata, Phytoseiulus persimilis and Chrysoperla sinica) increased.

Conclusion: Intercropping with aromatic plants led to a considerable improvement in arthropod pest management by enhancing the activity of the beneficial arthropod community within the pear orchard ecosystem.

Keywords: aromatic plants; arthropod community; habitat management; pear orchard; temporal dynamics.

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