Management of Diamondback Moth (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) in Cabbage Using Collard as a Trap Crop

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  • 1 Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, P.O. Box 14565, Gainesville, FL 32604
  • | 2 Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida, P.O. Box 110620, Gainesville, FL 32611

Collard greens (Brassica oleracea var. acephala L.) were planted in the peripheries of cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata L.) fields in the spring growing seasons of 1997 and 1998 to evaluate their effectiveness as a trap crop to manage the diamondback moth (DBM) [Plutella xylostella (L.)]. The numbers of DBM never exceeded the action threshold for application of insecticides in any of the fields that were completely surrounded by collards, but did exceed the action threshold in three of the fields without collards on four sampling dates in 1998. In both years, the numbers of DBM larvae in the collards exceeded the action threshold of 0.3 total larvae/plant in eight of nine fields. Larval counts in cabbage surrounded with collards were not significantly higher than in the conventionally planted cabbage, even though the number of pesticide applications was reduced in the former. The few pesticide applications in fields surrounded by collards probably targeted the cabbage looper [Trichoplusia ni (Hübner)], which was not impeded by the collards from infesting the interior cabbage. There was no significant reduction in marketability, and damage to cabbage was similar to that in fields where collards were planted and in fields where only conventional pesticides were used. The reduced number of pesticide sprays, as well as the high concentration of host larvae in the collards, may help maintain populations of natural enemies of DBM in the agroecosystem. Planting collards in field peripheries is a potentially effective tactic to manage DBM in cabbage.

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