Impact of selected flowering plants in field margins on pollinators and natural enemies in watermelon crop - Implications for crop yield
The practice of field margins management using mixtures of selected plants to provide habitats for pollinators and natural enemies of pests, and possible impact on crop yield, was studied for two mixtures (mixture A: Borago officinalis, Coriandrum sativum, Glebionis coronaria; mixture B: Vicia sativa, Sinapis alba, Phacelia tanacetifolia) in watermelon, cv. Karistan. The sown margins attracted primarily Apis mellifera and Halictidae bees (Lasioglossum spp.), and a few other Apidae (Anthophora sp., Eucera sp., Bombus sp.) over a flowering period of 6 weeks (beginning of April to mid-May). Pollinators on watermelon flowers were mainly Halictidae (Lasioglossum spp.) and fewer honey bees, from mid-May to mid-June. Shannon’s (Η) diversity index of parasitoids was higher in mixture B while their abundance did not differ between the plant mixtures, although it varied during the season. Higher weight/fruit, lower proportion of undeveloped/mature seeds per fruit, and higher Brix level in the field with the sown margins compared to a commercial watermelon, cv. Karistan, field, under common agronomic practices, indicate a positive effect of the sown margins on the crop yield.
Steps to reproduce
Field Experiment, assessment of flower and plant cover, pollinators and natural enemies of insect pests.