The effects of intercropping wheat, Triticum aestivum L., with mung bean, Vigna radiate L., on the populations of English grain aphid, Sitobion avenae (F.) (Hemiptera: Aphididae), and its natural enemies were evaluated by field and laboratory experiments. The population densities of aphids and their natural enemies were evaluated in the intercropped field against different row ratio combinations of wheat—mung bean. Results showed that wheat—mung bean intercropping caused a drop in aphid densities, and the ratio 12 wheat:4 mung bean brought about the largest drop (>18%). In addition, the population densities of coccinellids (ladybirds) and parasitoids and the species diversity of all the natural enemies of aphid were higher in the intercropped field than in the field planted only with wheat. However, intercropping did not influence the community indices (evenness and index of dominance concentration) of the natural enemies. Y-tube olfactometer bioassays were carried out in the laboratory to test whether odor blends of host and nonhost plants affect the host selection of S. avenae. Bioassays indicated that both apterous and alate aphids significantly preferred host plant odor over odor blends of host and intercropped species. Hence, the olfactory-based host location of aphids in the field might be affected by intercropping. The intercropping experiment clearly showed that increased crop species diversity suppresses aphid population growth and preserves the population of natural enemies of aphids. Our results also provide support for the “resource concentration hypothesis” and the “enemies hypothesis.”
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Vol. 105 • No. 3