Biological control of lepidoptera pests through...
Biological control of lepidoptera pests through functional biodiversity in cabbage crops
Field cabbage is attacked by a broad range of pests and necessitates an intensive use of insecticides. A habitat management strategy consisting in the introduction of wild flower strips and other non-crop vegetation may foster the survival of natural enemies i.e. the control of these pests. The objective of this project is to develop and introduce functional biodiversity in the model crop field cabbage.
The selection of highly attractive wildflowers by Y-tube olfactometer studies and the assessment of the longevity and the reproduction of parasitoids are conducted in a laboratory. The quantification of larval parasitism rates is done by PCR (polymerase chain reaction)., The impact of wild flower strips and companion plants on parasitism, pest populations and yield reduction are evaluated in field experiments. The methods used include the exposure of pest eggs and larvae as well as the assessment of olfactory attractiveness of selected companion plants using Y-tube field olfactometers.