Reductions in oviposition and subsequent damage by root maggots (Diptera: Antho-myiidae, Delia spp.) to brassicaceous crops in the presence of nonhost plants has been demonstrated, but such investigations have not been conducted using intercrops of species commonly grown in the large-scale agricultural production systems of western Canada. A field experiment was conducted at three sites in Alberta, Canada, in 2005 and 2006 to determine interactions between root maggots and the various proportions of canola (Brassica napus L.) making up the total crop plant populations in intercrops with wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). The effect of a neonicotinoid seed treatment also was investigated. Root maggot damage to canola taproots decreased with increasing proportions of wheat in the intercrops. The presence of wheat in the intercrops had little effect on root maggot adult abundance in any single site-by-year combination or when data were combined over all sites and years, with different Delia species and sexes responding differently. Similarly, per plant root maggot egg populations were unaffected by intercropping, although egg populations were reduced on a per unit land area basis in intercrops compared with monocultures. Insecticidal seed treatment did not affect root maggot egg populations or canola root damage. Variable abundances and phenologies of the principal root maggot species infesting canola at different sites and years may influence their responses to canola-wheat intercrops. Intercropping canola and wheat may provide an opportunity for reducing crop damage from root maggot attack without compromising environmental sustainability.
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Vol. 102 • No. 1