Conference paper Open Access

Wheat-pea intercrop affects activity density and biocontrol potential of generalist predators

Puliga, Giovanni Antonio; Arlotti, Donatienne; Dauber, Jens

Intercropping can increase biodiversity within crop fields and may reduce pest damage by facilitating the presence and activity of natural pest control agents. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of winter wheat-pea intercropping on the activity density of aboveground generalist predatory arthropods and their biocontrol potential compared with pure crops. Field work was conducted in a field experiment located in Gembloux, Belgium. A set of proxies for ecosystem functions were measured to investigate activity density and biocontrol potential of generalist predators. In general, wheat-pea intercropping affected positively activity density in comparison to sole crops, although taxa responded differently to crop type. Results of the predation rates’ assessment indicate that the potential of predators to contribute to biocontrol was lower in wheat pure stand compared to pea pure stand and intercrop. These results suggest that intercropping wheat-pea may represent a valid strategy to favour generalist predators and enhance pest control in comparison to wheat cultivated as sole crop.

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