Increasing the biodiversity of agroecosystems can increase populations of natural enemies that are useful for pest control. Orchards often have a low diversity of plant species, which is not conducive to maintaining ecosystem functions and services. However, additional flowering plants could provide natural enemies with beneficial resources. To assess the ability of flowering plants to attract predators and increase the biological control of Aphis spiraecola Patch, we established individual plots of three different flowering plant species with sequential bloom periods between the rows of apple orchard. These plants attracted predators such as Coccinellidae, Syrphidae, and Chrysopidae when flowering. The density of predators on trees in the three flowering plant plots was significantly higher than that in the control, whereas the density of aphids on trees in Orychophragmus violaceus (L.) O. E. Schulz (Rhoeadales: Brassicaceae) and Cnidium monnieri (Linn.) Cuss. (Apiales: Apiaceae) plots were significantly lower than that in control. The density of aphids on trees in Calendula officinalis L. (Asterales: Asteraceae) plots was significantly lower than in other plots at second peak period. There was a significant negative correlation between the population of aphids and predators on trees at peak of aphids. Cage exclusion tests showed that the biocontrol services index (BSI) of O. violaceus was highest (32.7%) on 24 May, and the BSI of C. monnieri was highest (47.6%) on 7 June. Our results suggest that the temporal combination of different flowering plants could provide useful effective biocontrol to management pest in orchard.
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Vol. 114 • No. 3