Colorado mountains
From Long-Term Data to Understanding: Toward a Predictive Ecology
2015 LTER ASM Estes Park, CO - August 30 - September 2, 2015

Exploiting the Landscape of Fear as an Insect Control Tactic

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Sara Hermann
Doug Landis
Christie Bahlai

Predators have been used to control insect pest populations for decades but the concept and strength of biological control relies solely on the lethal ability of high predator populations in agroecological systems. More recently studies have found insect herbivores have the ability to perceive and respond to predation threat by taking advantage of various predator cues. Prey behavioral changes that arise from this apparent threat can result in reduced damage to prey host plants as well as reduced prey population size. Even with increasing evidence that non-lethal predator effects are more robust than lethal effects, studies have yet to explore the landscape of fear concept as a pest management tactic. Our research provides insight into the non-lethal effects of lady beetle predators on a common lepidopteran pest, the imported cabbageworm (Pieris rapae). Oviposition was also monitored at the small patch, large patch, and landscape scale in experimental plots at the NSF-Long-term Ecological Research site at Kellogg Biological Station. This research will reveal novel mechanisms that may be used by farmers to manipulate the landscape of fear in a crop system to alter insect behavior and reduce pest damage. 



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