Study

Beneficial arthropods respond differentially to wildflower areas of different age

  • Published source details Frank T., Aeschbacher S., Barone M., Kunzle I., Lethmayer C. & Mosimann C. (2009) Beneficial arthropods respond differentially to wildflower areas of different age. Annales Zoologici Fennici, 46, 465-480.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

    A replicated, controlled study in summer 2001 in intensively managed farmland around Bern, Switzerland (Frank et al. 2009) found that the number of species and individuals, biomass and individual weights of most sampled arthropod predators increased with the age of sown wildflower sites. Conversely the number of rove beetles (Staphylinidae) and rove beetle biomass was highest in newly created wildflower sites, but the weight of individual rove beetles increased with age of wildflower sites. Control wheat fields had among the lowest species richness, density and biomass of predators, but these values were only significantly lower than in the oldest wildflower strips for spider (Araneae) and ground beetle (Carabidae) biomass and true bug (Heteroptera) density. Vegetation cover had a significant influence on spider assemblages. Ground beetle species assemblages were strongly correlated with vegetation cover, field size and soil water content in wildflower sites. Five different habitats with four replicates were surveyed at 20 sites (average 0.8 ha). The four sown wildflower habitats had been established for one, two, three and four years (one-year-old sites sown in May 2001) and were sown with a seed mixture containing 25 native plant species, not treated with fertilizer, pesticides or cut. Winter wheat fields were used as controls. Spiders, ground beetles and rove beetles were sampled using three photo-eclectors/site for two consecutive months. True bugs were sampled four times along 80 m transects using sweep-nets (100 sweeps/transect). Vegetation cover, volume of soil pores, and sand content were determined.

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