The influence of concurrent introduction of three transgenic vegetable cultivars on seasonal dynamics of coccinellids and their food, aphids and pollen, was examined within diversified farm systems practicing insect pest management in northeastern US agroecosystems. The transgenic cultivars used included sweet corn, potato, and winter squash, expressing Cry1(A)b, Cry3A, and plant viral coat proteins that target Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, and aphid-transmitted viruses, respectively. Transgenic systems reduced insecticides by 25%. Weekly differences in coccinellid density between transgenic and isoline crops were rare and transitory, governed by timing of at-planting or foliar insecticide use patterns; however cumulative frequencies for three of the six coccinellid species differed between transgenic and isoline crops. At a multicrop, farm systems level, seasonal dynamics of the coccinellids and aphids tracked dynamics in the sweet corn, which far surpassed the other crops in abundance of coccinellids and pollen, and harbored consistently higher aphid densities. Although these results warrant further study, the patterns suggest that diversified transgenic vegetable crops under current commercial management demonstrated transitory conservation of coccinellids, and that integration with selective insecticides or other IPM tactics could increase this potential.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science