Effects of land use on infestation and parasitism rates of cabbage seed weevil in oilseed rape
BACKGROUND: This study investigated how infestation rates of an important oilseed rape pest, the cabbage seed weevil (Ceutorhynchus obstrictus) and rates of parasitization by its parasitoids are affected by land use, up to 1000 m from 18 focal fields.
RESULTS: The mean proportion of C. obstrictus-infested pods per plant was 8% (2-19.5%). Infestation rates were higher if the adjacent habitat was a herbaceous semi-natural habitat than if it was either another crop or a woody habitat. Infestation rates were positively related to the area of herbaceous semi-natural vegetation, permanent grassland and wheat (which followed oilseed rape in the crop rotation) at a spatial scale of at least 1 km. The mean parasitism rate of C. obstrictus larvae was 55% (8.3-87%), sufficient to provide efficient biocontrol. Parasitism rates were unrelated to adjacent habitats, however, they were positively related to the presence of herbaceous linear elements in the landscape and negatively related to permanent grasslands at a spatial scale of 200 m.
CONCLUSION: Proximity of herbaceous elements increased both infestation rates and parasitism, while infestation was also related to landscape factors at larger distances. The findings provide an empirical basis for designing landscapes that suppress C. obstrictus, at both field and landscape scales.