Eur. J. Entomol. 109 (3): 395-401, 2012 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2012.051

Differences in the nocturnal flight activity of insect pests and beneficial predatory insects recorded by light traps: Possible use of a beneficial-friendly trapping strategy for controlling insect pests

Gang MA, Chun-Sen MA
Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Yuanmingyuan West Road 2, Haidian District, Beijing 100193, P.R. China; e-mail: csma@ippcaas.cn

The use of light traps for controlling insect pests is restricted since they kill both pests and beneficial insects. It may be a possible to reduce the numbers of beneficial insects trapped by adjusting nightly trapping time based on differences recorded in the timing of the nocturnal flight peaks of target pests and beneficials. To test this, insects were collected hourly over night using black light traps at three locations in China from 2003 to 2005. Groups of lepidopteran and coleopteran pests were selected as the target pests that we would control by trapping and groups of beneficial predatory insects the catches of which needed to be reduced. The highest numbers of Coleoptera were caught between 20:00 and 22:00 h and of most Lepidoptera between 02:00 and 04:00 h. The hourly numbers of predatory insects caught by light traps were evenly distributed throughout the night. A model was developed to describe the relationships between the cumulative proportions of insects caught and time of night. The model accurately describes the flight activity of insects that were mainly caught before midnight, after midnight and evenly throughout a night by using different parameters for the three different insect groups. A beneficial-friendly trapping strategy was developed to reduce the numbers of beneficial insects trapped, which was based on differences in the nocturnal flight activity of pests and beneficial insects and validated by a field study in Shandong province. Results show that this trapping strategy reduced the number of beneficial insects caught by 46% and the electricity consumption by 50% compared to the traditional strategy. Thus this strategy is more beneficial-friendly than the traditional trapping strategy for controlling pests.

Keywords: Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, Coccinellidae, Chrysopidae, light trap, phototaxis

Received: October 12, 2011; Accepted: January 4, 2012; Published: July 2, 2012

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