Marginal vegetation in crops is very important for natural enemies and their pest control capacity. The effects of Brassica nigra L. (Brassicaceae), Daucus carota L. (Apiaceae), and Sonchus oleraceous L. (Asteraceae) flowers as supplemental food on the number of eggs laid during 7 d and on the preoviposition time in Hippodamia variegata (Goeze, 1777) were studied in the laboratory under conditions of several densities of Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harris, 1776). The results show the presence of flowers of Brassica and Sonchus increased egg production 1.44× and doubled the preoviposition period (2.13×). This suggests that the availability of flowers of Brassica and Sonchus as supplemental foods (pollen and nectar) in the marginal vegetation of crops can serve to improve reproductive performance of H. variegata, specifically under conditions of prey limitation. Thus, the increase in fitness of this predator allows a better response to changes in pest density.
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Vol. 101 • No. 6