Presenting: Blaire Mallory Kleiman
Topic: How weeds affect insects in mango cultivation of South Florida
Abstract: The use of weeds as insectary plants is an emerging management tactic by agroecologists and entomologists to sustain beneficial insect species. Fallow lands have always been used by insects and are an important part of their diet in fragmented ecosystems. Weeds provide floral resources to beneficial insects such as pollinators, parasitoids, and predators and resources to keep them within a field in between crop flowering. Using weeds as a tool in tropical fruit production reliant on pollination like Mango (Mangifera indica) allows farmers to end herbicide use, increases the biodiversity of both plants and insects, and increase pollination of crops by native insects. This study examines the plant-insect ecological interactions when weeds are left within a farm and found that the presence of weeds significantly increases mango fruit yield, flower visitors and parasitoid insects on mango trees, and the insect orders Hymenoptera, Diptera, Coleoptera, Neuroptera, and Thysanoptera on mango trees. The species of weeds encountered in mango farms of South Florida were identified, and weeds were found to support more pollinators, predators, and parasitoids than pest insects, increase soil carbon, and decrease soil pH.
Place: Zoom Meeting ID: 932 2338 8566