The yellowmargined leaf beetle, Microtheca ochroloma Stål, is a major pest of cruciferous vegetable crops in organic production systems. Very few organically acceptable management options are currently available for this pest. Field studies were conducted at a research station in Alabama and at a commercial organic vegetable farm in Florida to investigate the effectiveness of turnip, Brassica rapa rapa, as a trap crop for M. ochroloma. In the research station trial with cabbage planted as the cash crop, perimeter planting of turnip as a trap crop effectively reduced beetle numbers and crop damage below levels recorded in the control. During the first season of our on-farm trial, with napa cabbage and mustard as the cash crops, using turnip as a trap crop effectively reduced both beetle numbers and cash crop damage below levels found in the control plots, but economic damage was still high. In the second season, beetle populations were too low for significant differences in damage levels to occur between the trap crop and control plots. Together, these results suggest that turnip planted as a trap crop can be an effective control tactic for cruciferous crops, like cabbage, that are much less attractive to M. ochroloma than turnip. In crops, like mustard and napa cabbage, that are equally or only slightly less attractive than turnip, planting turnip as a trap crop would have to be used in combination with other tactics to manage M. ochroloma.
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