A 2-yr study was conducted to investigate the potential of using yellow sticky traps to survey lady beetles in cotton and to quantify seasonal activity patterns. The performance of sticky traps was compared with that of a 2-cycle vacuum sampler. The most common lady beetle species captured by sticky traps and vacuum sampler in cotton were Hippodamia convergens Guerin-Meneville and Scymnus loewii Mulsant. Sticky traps captured significantly more of both species of lady beetles, had greater capture efficiency, and more effectively detected lady beetles compared with the vacuum sampler. These data indicate that the sticky trap can be a valuable tool in monitoring lady beetle populations in cotton. In the second part of this study, a year-round survey of lady beetle populations in the periphery of a cotton farm using sticky traps showed that lady beetles remained active throughout the year in the Texas Rolling Plains, but the activity was influenced by winter severity. Over a 2-yr period, H. convergens, S. loewii, Coccinella septempunctata (L.), and Olla v-nigrum (Mulsant) comprised 89.6, 8.2, 1.9, and 0.3% of the specimens, respectively. Sticky trap captures were affected by year, trap height, and cropping season. Traps placed at 0.75 m above ground captured significantly more (80%) lady beetles than traps placed at 1.50 m (20%) above ground; traps at 0.75 m above ground also detected the rarer species while the traps at 1.50 m above ground detected only the abundant species. Trap captures were higher during the noncotton season (November to April) compared with the cotton season (May to October). A significant positive correlation between cotton aphid abundance during the growing season and H. convergens abundance during the following noncotton season was also detected, indicating a significant movement of H. convergens from cotton to the periphery of the farm to seek refuge after cotton termination.
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Vol. 96 • No. 1