This study recorded the arthropod communities present in three commercially available beneficial insect habitat seed mixes (Peaceful Valley’s Good Bug Blend, Clyde Robin’s Border Patrol, and Heirloom Seed’s Beneficial Insect Mix) and three commonly grown cut flower/herb plantings (Zinnia, Celosia, and fennel). Communities were sampled three ways: (1) foliar and floral collections were made using a D-Vac and aerial nets, and insects were identified to family and assigned to feeding groups; (2) pitfall traps were used to collect ground beetle and ground-dwelling spider populations; and (3) evening observations recorded visits by noctuid (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and hawk moths (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) to flowers. Overall, Good Bug Blend had the highest abundance and diversity of beneficial parasitoids, predators, and ground beetles. However, along with Border Patrol, it also harbored the highest diversity and abundance of crop-feeding herbivores. The Border Patrol plantings had the highest diversity and abundance of insect herbivore crop pests and the highest number of feeding visits by pest moth species during evening observations. The moth visits were most likely caused by the presence of evening primrose in this mix that blooms at dusk when moths are most active. Celosia harbored the greatest diversity and abundance of predators and parasitoids in the cut flower/herb plots. Fennel had the lowest overall abundance and diversity of all the plantings, but this may have been caused by late summer flowering.
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