The soybean aphid, Aphis glycines Matsumura, was introduced to north central North America from Asia in 2000, and it has become a major pest of soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr. Understanding how natural enemies impact aphid populations in the field is an important component in developing a comprehensive management plan. We examined the impact of naturally occurring predators in the field by using exclusion cages during July–August 2004 and 2005. Field cages of different mesh diameters were used to exclude different sizes of natural enemies from aphid-infested plots. Plots were surveyed twice weekly for A. glycines and natural enemies. Densities were recorded. Cage effects on mean temperature and soybean growth were found to be insignificant. Significant differences in aphid density were found between treatments in both years of the study (2004 and 2005); however, aphid densities between years were highly variable. Orius insidiosus (Say) was the most commonly occurring predator in the field. Other natural enemies were present in both years but not in high numbers. Parasitoids were present in both years, but their numbers did not suppress aphid densities. Treatment differences within years were related to the abundance of natural enemies. The large differences in aphid abundance between years were associated with the higher number of O. insidiosus found in the field in 2005 (416 total O. insidiosus) than in 2004 (149 total O. insidiosus). This study suggests that naturally occurring predators, primarily O. insidiosus, can have a large impact on A. glycines populations when predator populations are established before initial A. glycines colonization.
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Vol. 100 • No. 4