Habitat manipulation in the form of beetle banks and flowering insectary strips has been a successful method to increase natural enemy and alternative prey abundance. In this study, beetle banks and flowering insectary strips were combined to create conservation strips as refuge for a variety of natural enemies in golf course ecosystems. Conservation strips were installed in the roughs next to golf course fairways. Pitfall traps were used to monitor the abundance of predatory, parasitoid, alternative prey, and pest insects in the roughs and fairways near conservation strips and in roughs and fairways without conservation strips (controls). In addition, Agrotis ipsilon (Hufnagel) larvae were placed in the roughs and fairways to evaluate the effect of conservation strips on the predation of pests. Conservation strips were successful at increasing predator, parasitoid, and alternative prey abundance in golf course fairways and roughs overall. Increases were most evident within 4 m of conservation strips. Moreover, predation of A. ipsilon larvae was greater in fairways adjacent to conservation strips than fairways adjacent to roughs only. Differences in predation did not correspond to differences in predator abundance in the fairways, suggesting “predator abundance” may not be the most reliable estimate of the effect of habitat manipulations. These results suggest conservation strips could be an important new tool in conservation biological control on golf courses and may be applicable in other agro-ecosystems. Other methods of estimating and enhancing the effects of conservation strips are discussed.
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