5.1 Managing Insect Pests with Buffers


Buffers can provide habitat for beneficial insects that prey on insect pests of crops. To encourage predation, both the life cycle of the beneficial predator and pest should be understood.

Key Design Considerations

  • Provide plant diversity and structure in the buffer.
  • Protect buffer from disturbances (e.g., pesticides, tillage).
  • Predation of insect pests generally increases with the percentage of buffer habitat in the area.
  • Locate buffers throughout the fields and landscape to encourage dispersal of beneficial insects.
  • Buffers may provide habitat for some pest insects but this can be reduced by selecting appropriate plants (see 5.2).
  • Beetle banks are long, planted berms that provide habitat for beneficial insects (see below).
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