Journal Article

Comparison of Perimeter Trap Crop Varieties: Effects on Herbivory, Pollination, and Yield in Butternut Squash

L. S. Adler and R. V. Hazzard

in Environmental Entomology

Published on behalf of Entomological Society of America

Volume 38, issue 1, pages 207-215
Published in print February 2009 | ISSN: 0046-225X
Published online August 2014 | e-ISSN: 1938-2936 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1603/022.038.0126

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Perimeter trap cropping (PTC) is a method of integrated pest management (IPM) in which the main crop is surrounded with a perimeter trap crop that is more attractive to pests. Blue Hubbard (Cucurbita maxima Duch.) is a highly effective trap crop for butternut squash (C. moschata Duch. ex Poir) attacked by striped cucumber beetles (Acalymma vittatum Fabricius), but its limited marketability may reduce adoption of PTC by growers. Research comparing border crop varieties is necessary to provide options for growers. Furthermore, pollinators are critical for cucurbit yield, and the effect of PTC on pollination to main crops is unknown. We examined the effect of five border treatments on herbivory, pollination, and yield in butternut squash and manipulated herbivory and pollination to compare their importance for main crop yield. Blue Hubbard, buttercup squash (C. maxima Duch.), and zucchini (C. pepo L.) were equally attractive to cucumber beetles. Border treatments did not affect butternut leaf damage, but butternut flowers had the fewest beetles when surrounded by Blue Hubbard or buttercup squash. Yield was highest in the Blue Hubbard and buttercup treatments, but this effect was not statistically significant. Native bees accounted for 87% of pollinator visits, and pollination did not limit yield. There was no evidence that border crops competed with the main crop for pollinators. Our results suggest that both buttercup squash and zucchini may be viable alternatives to Blue Hubbard as borders for the main crop of butternut squash. Thus, growers may have multiple border options that reduce pesticide use, effectively manage pests, and do not disturb mutualist interactions with pollinators.

Keywords: Apis mellifera; Bombus spp; multispecies interactions; Peponapis pruinosa; winter squash

Journal Article.  6673 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Entomology

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