Evaluation of pest control efficiencies for different banker plant systems with a simple predator-prey model.
The banker plant system has been introduced for the biological control of various pest species in Japanese greenhouses. With the banker plant system, non-crop plants infested with a host insect (a non-commercial crop pest) are placed in the greenhouse to provide alternative resources for the parasitoids or predators. We want to evaluate the effectiveness for controlling pests on the crop in a quantitative way by immigrating predators from the banker plant. Therefore, we developed a simple model for the interaction of the pest and predator in the crop and included the banker plant only as a source for predators. For three different pest-predator systems we parameterised the model and used these models to predict under what conditions biological control in a banker plant system is successful. We defined successful as keeping the pest below the economic injury level of the crop estimated from damage analysis. Because the crop is mostly grown during a period that lasts less than a year our analysis should not only focus on the equilibrium dynamics. In contrast, it should also focus on the transient dynamics. Our main analytical result, from the equilibrium analysis, is that for successful control the maximum lifetime consumption of immigrating predators should exceed the daily prey growth at half the value of the maximum consumption rate. For practical purpose this translates into the fact that the immigration of predators at a low initial pest density is crucial for successful control.