Flower strips near crops may stimulate natural enemies by the provision of nectar and hibernation sites. However, these habitats may also be beneficial for potential pest species. We investigated the dynamics of the cabbage aphid Brevicoryne brassicae (L.) (Homo., Aphididae) and its primary parasitoid Diaeretiella rapae (McIntosh) (Hym., Braconidae) in brussels sprout fields and adjoining flower plots in winter. A wide variety of 14 plant species were included in the study, each established as monoculture plots. Brussels sprout fields and flower plots were established at two sites. One site was located in an open agricultural landscape, the other in a landscape dominated by mixed forest. Brevicoryne brassicae and D. rapae were found on brussels sprout plants but not in the flower plots. Brevicoryne brassicae was initially more abundant in the open landscape, but as their densities declined rapidly in time, no living aphids were recovered at both sites by February. The density of aphids parasitized by D. rapae showed a similar trend, but densities of eight mummies per brussels sprout plant were still present by the end of February. These findings suggest that (i) flower species under investigation do not function as sources of B. brassicae and (ii) brussels sprout plants that are not harvested may not only harbour D. rapae populations that may sustain biological control, but are also likely to act as sources of B. brassicae infestation. [KEYWORDS: agroecosystems ; conservation biological control ; flowers ; habitat diversification ; landscape composition ; parasitism]
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Entomology
Journal publication date2005

ID: 207680