Promoting pest movement to enhance biological control of potato leafhopper

Michael Traugott and Cory Straub (PI)

This project seeks to understand how cropping strategy affects biological control, with the goal of improving pest management. Toward this end, we will test the hypothesis that host plant resistance and intercropping can be used to increase pest movement and vulnerability to predation. We will use manipulative enclosure experiments to reveal crop-mediated differences in predation rate, and to develop novel procedures for PCR-based gut content analysis that can detect these differences in the open field. In this project, we focus on a single predator species at a single location to provide ‘proof in principle’ that this approach can work. The study system is alfalfa, Medicago sativa, the potato leafhopper (PLH), Empoasca fabae, and a key predator of PLH, Nabis americoferus. Pest movement

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