Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Spatial distribution of pest insects in oilseed rape: implications for integrated pest management.

Abstract

Insect pests, plant growth and plant yield in a crop of winter oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) were studied to assess the potential value of spatial information in integrated pest management for this crop. Ceutorhynchus assimilis Payk., Ceutorhynchus pallidactylus (Marsh.), Meligethes aeneus (Fab.) and Dasineura brassicae Winn. were sampled from the nodes of a rectangular grid across the crop. Their spatial distributions were mapped, analysed and compared using Spatial Analysis by Distance IndicEs (SADIE). The relationships between the distributions of insects, plant growth and yield were assessed using regression techniques. The distributions of C. assimilis, C. pallidactylus and M. aeneus were complex with differing irregular patterns of aggregation, whereas D. brassicae was edge-distributed. Stem injury, chiefly caused by larval Psylliodes chrysocephala L., was associated with significant yield loss and the spatial distribution of stem injury was reflected in the distribution of oil yield. The distribution of larval M. aeneus was dissociated from that of pods which shed their seed before harvest. Spatial heterogeneity in plant maturation as a result of infestation could delay the choice of harvest date beyond the optimum to prevent seed loss from less injured plants. Some of the variability (21-31%) in insect numbers within the crop was explained by variation in plant density and in growth stage at mid-flowering. The spatial ecology of these pests is discussed in terms of the roles of environmental factors, behavioural responses and the implications of spatial patterns for yield loss and for developing sustainable integrated crop protection. The data indicate that decision support systems should use sampling strategies which incorporate spatial information to model crop loss more accurately and that there may be potential for spatially targeted applications of insecticide to optimize the influence of biocontrol agents in oilseed rape.