Fiedler, A. 2006. Evaluation of Michigan native pants to provide resources for natural enemy arthropods. MS Thesis, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA.

Citable PDF link: https://lter.kbs.msu.edu/pub/2402

Biological control of pest insects may be enhanced by providing their natural enemies with plant resources including nectar and pollen, a practice known as habitat management. In the past, a limited set of annual plants, frequently not native to the area of study, has been used in habitat management. The goal of my research was to determine whether native plants could be effectively used in habitat management and whether natural enemy abundance was associated with particular plant characteristics. A comparison of the number of natural enemy arthropods at 43 native Michigan perennials and 5 non-native annuals revealed significant differences in attractiveness among plant species in early, mid, and late seasons in both 2004 and 2005 (P<0.001 in all cases). Within the native plants, a group of 24 native perennial plants attracted high numbers of natural enemies, including Eupatorium perfoliatum, Monarda punctata, Silphium perfoliatum, Potentilla fruticosa, Coreopsis lanceolata, Spiraea alba, Agastache nepetoides, Anemone canadense , and Angelica atropurpurea . I also considered whether specific plant characteristics played a role in natural enemy attraction to flowering plants. A multiple regression showed that in 2005 natural enemy numbers increased with peak bloom week and showed a significant positive linear and negative quadratic relationship with floral area. Subsets of the most attractive native Michigan plants can now be tested to develop a native plant community that provides nectar and pollen for beneficial insects throughout the growing season.

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