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Second Student Contributor
The potato leafhopper is a major pest of alfalfa. To control this pest, farmers traditionally use pesticides that can be costly and damaging to the environment. Intercropping, in which non-host plants are incorporated into the crop, and host plant resistance, in which the plant is bred for characteristics that negatively affect the pest, are two alternative pest management strategies. Both of these strategies increase leafhopper movement behavior. We hypothesized that increased movement would lead to more pest-predator encounters and reduce leafhopper abundance. This movement risk hypothesis was tested in mesocosms consisting of three plant treatments (susceptible alfalfa, resistant alfalfa, and resistant alfalfa intercropped with orchardgrass) and two predator treatments (predator-present and predator-absent). Nabis americoferus was used as the predator. Results indicate that Nabis was more effective in the resistant and intercropped resistant alfalfa than the susceptible alfalfa, as predicted by the movement risk hypothesis.
Griesbach-Hobbach, Katharina, "Host Plant Resistance and Pest Control: A Test of the Movement Risk Hypothesis" (2015). Biology Summer Fellows. Paper 22.