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Individual study: Effects of different grass treatments used to create overwintering habitat for predatory arthropods on arable farmland

Published source details

Collins K.L., Boatman N.D., Wilcox A. & Holland J.M. (2003) Effects of different grass treatments used to create overwintering habitat for predatory arthropods on arable farmland. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 96, 59-67


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Create beetle banks Natural Pest Control

A replicated study in 1994-1998 assessing two beetle banks in arable land in Leicestershire, UK (Collins et al. 2003) found higher invertebrate predator densities in false oat grass Arrhenatherum elatius (2,045 individuals/m²) than in red fescue Festuca rubra (1,492 individuals), crested dog’s-tail Cynosurus cristatus (1,380 individuals) and naturally regenerated vegetation (1,060 individuals). Rove beetles (Staphylinidae), were the dominant predator family, and showed the same significant pattern (1,716 individuals/m² in false oat grass through to 834 individuals in naturally regenerated vegetation). Spider (Araneae) density was higher in cock’s-foot (177 individuals/m²) compared with red fescue (119 individuals) and naturally regenerated vegetation (107 individuals). Ground beetle (Carabidae) density was 2.5-3.5 times higher in cock’s-foot than all other treatments. Boundary-type ground beetles dominated all treatments but were also more abundant in cock’s-foot (328 individuals/m²) compared with the other five treatments (69-126 individuals). Beetle banks created in spring 1993 were situated in an 8.6 ha clay soil field. Six treatments (five grass species and naturally regenerated vegetation) were established with two replicates/bank. Invertebrates were collected from soil samples gathered in January-February 1994-1997. Vegetation was examined visually and measured with a graduated board. This study was part of the same experimental set-up as Collins et al. 1996 and Moreby & Southway 2002.

Create beetle banks Farmland Conservation

A replicated study in 1994-1998 including two beetle banks on an arable estate in Leicestershire, UK (Collins et al. 2003) (a continuation of (Collins et al. 1996)) found higher densities of invertebrate predators in false oat grass Arrhenatherum elatius (2,045/m2) than in red fescue Festuca rubra (1,492/m2), crested dog’s-tail Cynosurus cristatus (1,380/m2) and naturally regenerated vegetation (1,060/m2). Rove beetles (Staphylinidae), were the dominant family in the predatory invertebrate catch, and showed the same significant pattern (1,716/m2 in false oat grass, 1,241/m2 in red fescue, 1,105/m2 in crested dog’s tail and 834/m2 in naturally regenerated vegetation). Spider (Araneae) density was higher in cock’s-foot (177/m2) compared with red fescue (119/m2) and naturally regenerated vegetation (107/m2). Ground beetle (Carabidae) density was 2.5 to 3.5 times higher (significant) in cock’s-foot than all other treatments. Boundary-type ground beetles dominated all treatments but were also higher in cock’s-foot (328/m2) compared with the other five treatments (69-126/m2). In the first year of the study (third summer after creation) all single grass treatments were dominated by their sown species. In the last year of the study false oat-grass had the highest cover (90%) followed by red fescue (75%), cock’s-foot and timothy (70%), and crested dog’s-tail (10%). Overall, cock’s-foot, false oat-grass and timothy were taller growing and formed denser grass coverage near ground level (0-30 cm) compared with the other treatments. Beetle banks were created in spring 1993, both situated in an 8.6 ha clay soil field. Six treatments (five species of grass and naturally regenerated vegetation) were established with two replicates/bank. Invertebrates were collected from soil samples gathered in January-February 1994-1997. Vegetation was examined visually as well as measured with a graduated board. This study was part of the same experimental set-up as (Collins et al. 1996, Moreby & Southway 2002, Murray et al. 2002, Bence et al. 2003).