Insect pests and beneficial arthropods population under different hedgerow intercropping systems in semiarid Kenya

Abstract

Exploiting the principles of biological control of crop pests is an important management strategy for the resource-poor smallholder farmers of the tropics. The effects of nine hedgerow species on the abundance of major insect pests of beans and maize, and predatory/parasitic-arthropods were monitored over two cropping seasons and the intervening dry period. The tree/shrub species evaluated were Gliricidia sepium, Grevillea robusta, Senna siamea, Senna spectabilis, Flemingea congesta, Croton megalocarpus, Morus alba, Calliandra calothyrsus and Lantana camara. Arthropod abundance was monitored through counts of infested plants and using yellow pan and pitfall traps. Beanfly (Ophiomyia spp.) infestation was significantly higher in the presence of hedgerows (35%) than in their absence (25%). Hedgerows did not influence aphid (Aphis fabae) infestation of beans. In contrast, maize associated with hedgerows experienced significantly lower stalk borer (Busseola fusca and Chilo spp.) and aphid (Rhophalosiphum maidis) infestations than pure maize, the margin of difference being 13% and 11% respectively for the two pests. Ladybird beetles closely followed their prey, aphids, with significantly higher catches in sole cropped-plots than in hedgerow-plots and away from hedgerows. Activity of wasps was significantly greater close to hedgerows than away from them. Spider catches during maize season were 77% greater in the presence of hedgerows than in their absence, but catches during other seasons were similar between the two cropping systems. Differences among hedgerow species were not significant for most of the arthropods monitored, except that beanfly infestation was greater with Gliricidia hedgerows. The study indicates that the effect of hedgerows on pest infestations of crops and their role as refugia for predators cannot be generalized but depends on the specific arthropods.

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Correspondence to M. R. Rao.

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Girma, H., Rao, M.R. & Sithanantham, S. Insect pests and beneficial arthropods population under different hedgerow intercropping systems in semiarid Kenya. Agroforestry Systems 50, 279–292 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1006447813882

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  • alley cropping
  • parasitoids
  • predators