Can field-scale habitat diversification enhance the biocontrol potential of spiders?

  • Published source details Samu F. (2003) Can field-scale habitat diversification enhance the biocontrol potential of spiders?. Pest Management Science, 59, 437-442.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Leave part of the crop or pasture unharvested or uncut

Action Link
Natural Pest Control
  1. Leave part of the crop or pasture unharvested or uncut

    A replicated, controlled study in 1995-1997 in an alfalfa Medicago sativa field in Hungary (Samu 2003) found leaving unmown strips increased the number of spiders (Araneae) in the unmown strips but did not increase numbers in adjacent mown strips. Unmown strips had an average of 53% more spiders than control continuously-cut control alfalfa plots. Average spider diversity was similar in controls and mown strips in rotation with unmown strips (control: 1.8 Shannon diversity; mown strips: 1.75). Unmown strips had slightly higher diversity (2.15). One 1.6 ha field was divided into six 50 x 50 m plots. Three plots were strip-managed (each mowing session four 1 m-wide strips were left unmown in each plot, the following mowing session these unmown strips were cut and adjacent 1 m strips left unmown), three plots were cut completely. Alfalfa was sown mid-April 1995. Plots were mown three-four times each year (starting July 1995) when approximately 10% of the alfalfa was flowering. Spiders were sampled 64 times from July 1995-December 1997, using three pitfall traps in control plots, three traps in unmown strips and three traps in mown strips. Suction samples were also taken at the pitfall trap locations.


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