The influence of planting periods on herbivore and natural enemy abundance on yellow sticky traps in Bt maize fields
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Simple Summary Previous research has shown that both landscape and field variables significantly influence the abundance of herbivorous insects and their natural enemies in Bt maize; however, crop phenology was found to have the strongest effects. Therefore, here, we studied how the planting period affected the insect dynamics in Bt maize. Our data provide clear evidence that the abundance of herbivores and natural enemies peaks in earlier growth stages and that their abundance varied between maize phenology stages, but interestingly, it did not show a strong effect when the planting period changed. Knowledge of the insect densities during crop development is necessary for adopting appropriate measures for the control of insect pests and minimizing yield losses. Within integrated pest management programs, crop rotation has been carried out in recent years, but this current trend delays the planting period for Bt maize. The small amount of available information regarding the influence of sowing Bt maize early or late on the seasonal abundance of herbivores prompted us to study these aspects in two current common planting periods in northeastern Spain in 52 maize fields over three consecutive years. We sampled the fields planted on different dates with sticky yellow traps. Our results show that only the abundances of herbivore thrips, other than Frankliniella occidentalis, and Syrphidae were significantly different between the two planting periods. Moreover, when we performed yearly analyses, we found significant effects of the planting period on Coccinellidae and Chrysopidae in 2015 and on Aeolothrips sp. in 2016 and 2017. In most of the taxa, the abundance peaks in earlier growth stages, which is related to pollination (before or during). Only the abundances of Stethorus punctillum and Syrphidae peak later in the season. In addition, F. occidentalis, aphids, Syrphidae, and Coccinellidae registered higher abundance in fields sown in the late planting period. These results highlight the effects of sowing in different planting periods on insect dynamics in Bt maize and can be used to identify the abundance of certain pests and natural enemies in specific phenological stages of maize, which may allow producers to adopt better-integrated management and thus avoid reaching the level of economic damage.
Is part ofInsects, 2022, vol.13, núm. 4, p. 1-11
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