Parasitoids of the cabbage seed weevil deliver high and consistent parasitism in variable landscapes: A showcase of conservation biocontrol

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BACKGROUND: Insect pest resistance to insecticides and societal pressure to reduce pesticide load has increased oilseed rape (OSR) farmers' motivation to protect and exploit parasitoids for pest control. However, parasitoid presence and parasitism must be made visible to influence farmers' spraying decisions. Parasitism of cabbage seed weevil (CSW) (Ceutorhynchus obstrictus (Marsham)) reduces damage to OSR immediately, making them a good case for demonstrating conservation biocontrol to farmers. We assessed the occurrence and activity of CSW parasitoids in 84 OSR fields over 2 years and identified the impact of associated local landscape factors. RESULTS: Mean cabbage seed weevil infestation rates were 11% and 10% in 2020 and 2021, and parasitism rates were high in both years (75% and 74%, respectively). Temporal and spatial dynamics of OSR in the landscape surrounding the focal fields were important for both CSW and parasitoid numbers, suggesting a dilution effect for increasing OSR area since the previous year. A multimodel inference analysis showed that OSR-related factors were important predictors for both the infestation rate of CSW and the number of parasitoids. For parasitoids, protected nature areas and hedgerows were important. Parasitism rates were high and largely unaffected by landscape factors. CONCLUSION: CSW and its parasitoids respond similarly to interannual changes in the OSR resource; in addition, parasitoids benefit from uncropped areas in the surrounding landscape. The complexity of the pest and parasitoid response to landscape factors limits the prospect of designing landscapes for improved pest control by the parasitoids. Parasitoids of CSW may be present as local populations in agricultural landscapes with the potential for consistent and substantial parasitism.

TidsskriftPest Management Science
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)2362-2370
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - 2024

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Danish Environmental Agency (Project ID MST‐667‐00246). We wish to thank the participating farmers for giving us access to their fields, and the crop production advisors for the careful sampling of plant material. Farmer contacts and GIS analyses were competently taken care of by Rita Hørfarter, Rasmus Jensen, and Ghita Cordsen Nielsen at SEGES.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Pest Management Science published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society of Chemical Industry.

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