Assessment of the biological control potential of common carabid beetle species for autumn- and winter-active pests (Gastropoda, Lepidoptera, Diptera: Tipulidae) in annual ryegrass in western Oregon.
Many studies have shown that ground beetles feed on different agricultural pests, but little is known about their species communities from US cropping systems. We assessed the biological control potential of the most common carabid beetle species in Oregon annual ryegrass grown for seed by investigating spatial and temporal overlap of the most common species with those of the most damaging autumn- and winter-active pests (slugs, caterpillars and cranefly larvae) and determined the number of field-collected specimens that had fed on the respective pests using molecular gut content analysis. Only the non-native Nebria brevicollis was abundant during pest emergence and tested positive for all three pest groups. While the other common carabid beetle species - Agonum muelleri, Calosoma cancellatum and Poecilus laetulus - were also found to have consumed pests, they were active only during spring and summer, when crop damage by pests is less critical. We also show that disk tilling did not affect any of the four common carabid beetle species and that only N. brevicollis was significantly associated with a vegetated field margin. This study contributes to expanding our knowledge on conservation biological control in a system where chemical pesticides are still the mainstay of control against invertebrate pests.