Crapemyrtle is a common landscape planting that is a resource subsidy for beneficial insects. Field studies were conducted to determine the influence of crapemyrtle flower color on the population abundances and predator—prey dynamics of the herbivorous Frankliniella species and the predator Orius insidiosus. Adults and immatures of predator and prey were highly anthophilous, preferring white ‘Acoma' flowers compared with lavender ‘Apalachee', red ‘Carolina Beauty', and pink ‘Choctaw'. The predator was aggregated with its prey in a density-dependent manner: the adults by preferring the crapemyrtle clones also preferred by the thrips and the nymphs by direct tracking or as a function of increased prey and fecundity. Acoma was best for preference and buildup of O. insidiosus populations, and it was the only clone where there was no buildup in thrips populations. Two species of Karnyothrips (Thysanoptera: Phlaoethripidae), predators of small insects, were common in Tillandsia usneoides, an epiphyte on the crapemyrtle. Crapemyrtle is a bridge to enhance populations of O. insidiosus during summer months when there are few other hosts in the southern USA.
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Vol. 44 • No. 3