The effects of a 3-m wide uncut alfalfa strip on the within field distribution of Empoasca fabae (Harris) (Homoptera: Cicadellidae) and several species of insect predators were examined for 3 yr (1998–2000). The objectives were to determine whether this uncut strip would serve as a trap crop for E. fabae and a refuge for insect predators at first harvest. Empoasca fabae and insect predators in the families Coccinellidae, Nabidae, Anthocoridae, Chrysopidae, and Hemerobiidae were collected weekly using sweep samples and sticky traps from the uncut strips and up to 40 m into the alfalfa regrowth. For 2 yr, both small- (0.34 ha) and large-scale (≈11.3 ha) field trials showed higher numbers of E. fabae in 73% of the uncut strips for 2–3 wk after harvest. Similarly, the number of insect predators found within <50% of the uncut strips was also higher during the first or second week after harvest. In 1999, however, we did not observe higher numbers of E. fabae in the uncut strips. Differences may be because of higher E. fabae population numbers in 1999 compared with 1998 and 2000. This research provides alfalfa growers a potential cultural management technique for E. fabae while conserving predatory insects.
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Vol. 96 • No. 4