Extrafloral nectar in an apple ecosystem to enhance biological control

M. W. Brown, Clarissa R. Mathews, Greg Krawczyk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


A common goal of conservation biological control is to enhance biodiversity and increase abundance and effectiveness of predators and parasitoids. Although many studies report an increase in abundance of natural enemies, it has been difficult to document increases in rates of biological control. To enhance parasitism of the tufted apple bud moth, Platynota idaeusalis (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), alternate food was provided by interplanting peaches bearing extrafloral nectaries into apple (Malus spp.) orchards. Laboratory studies showed that the presence of nectar increased longevity and parasitism rates by Goniozus floridanus (Bethylidae), the dominant parasitoid of tufted apple bud moth in West Virginia. In orchard studies, we found the total number of hymenopteran parasitoids was higher on peach (Prunus spp.) trees than on adjacent apple trees. Abundance of parasitic Hymenoptera also was significantly higher on the side of traps facing away from rather than toward peach trees, indicating attraction to peach trees. However, total parasitism rates of tufted apple bud moth were not affected by the presence of peach extrafloral nectar in any field studies. Insect injury to fruit at harvest showed that fruit from orchards with interplanted peach trees had less injury from San Jose scale, Quadraspidiotus perniciosus (Comstock) and stink bugs (Pentatomidae) than fruit from an apple monoculture. Although interplanting with peach trees did not produce the hypothesized result of increased biological control, the experiment did have beneficial results for pest management. These results demonstrate the importance of collecting data on variables beyond the targeted species when evaluating habitat manipulation experiments to fully assess the impact on the ecosystem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1657-1664
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of economic entomology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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