Influence of Plant Taxa on Pollinator, Butterfly, and Beneficial Insect Visitation

in HortScience

Insects provide ecosystem services, such as pollination and biological control. Additionally, flowering ornamental plant species have the potential to support beneficial insect communities, such as pollinating bees, wasps, and predatory plant bugs. We conducted visual observations and sampled via sweep nets to assess the potential of flowering ornamentals to act as a conservation resource for pollinators. Hoverflies (family: Syrphidae), small bees [Lasioglossum (dialictus) imitatum Smith and Halictus ligatus Say], skippers (family: Hesperiidae), predatory plant bugs (family Miridae), and parasitic wasps were frequent visitors to the specially designed Butterfly and Conservation Gardens. Agastache (Pursh) Kuntze ‘Black Adder’ and Celosia spicata L. were the most frequently visited by pollinators among 74 plant taxa. The results obtained will be useful in formulating recommendations on planting the best species for the purpose of attracting pollinators as well as for conservation purposes.

Contributor Notes

This paper is a portion of a thesis submitted by Bethany A. Harris, in partial fulfillment of a master of science degree.

We thank Ellen Bauske and Paul Thomas for review of the manuscript and constructive criticism and Jerry Davis for his help with the statistical analyses. We also thank Georgia Master Gardener volunteers for their help with data collection. Technical assistance provided by Jim Quick, Brett Byous, Mary Sikora, Emma Brodzik, Alexia Maxis, and McKenzie Dallas was greatly appreciated.

Corresponding author. E-mail: bah5191@uga.edu.

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