Bell pepper plots intercropped with flowering plants were measured for improving biological control provided by natural enemies of the European corn borer [Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner)]. The intercropped plants Dill, Anethum graveolens L.; coriander, Coriandrum sativum L.; and buckwheat, Fagopyrum escuelentum Moench; were established on the edge of two pepper plots and compared with nonintercropped control plots. Predation by the three species Orius insidiosus Say; Coleomegilla maculata DeGeer; and Chrysoperla, sp. Stephens, was monitored by installing O. nubilalis egg masses on sentinel plants in 2008, 2009, and 2010. To assess negative impacts of alternative prey on O. nubilalis egg predation, green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Sulzer) populations were monitored via whole-plant counts in 2009 and 2010. Myzus persicae densities on pepper plants peaked in June or July and then declined rapidly. Predation on O. nubilalis eggs increased rapidly after aphid populations declined. Aphid populations were reduced in two out of three field-seasons in intercropped plots. Seasonal predation by O. insidiosus was significantly higher in the intercropped system four out of five field-seasons and one field season by C. maculata. Results indicate that biocontrol of O. nubilalis can be improved by intercropping with flowering plants, although this capacity may depend on the abundance of alternative prey.
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Vol. 41 • No. 3