Two field-sampling methods, shake-bucket and sweep-net, were compared for use in monitoring alfalfa weevil, Hypera postica (Gyllenhal), larvae in alfalfa hay of the high plains and intermountain region of North America. In this region, alfalfa grows to sufficient height to use both methods before the more damaging late instars peak in abundance. Both methods also were compared with extracting larvae by using Berlese funnels in the laboratory. The shake-bucket method was more sensitive in detecting small larvae (first and second instars) than large larvae (third and fourth instars), and the sweep-net method detected a lower proportion of small larvae. The number of larvae collected with the shake-bucket method was strongly correlated with number of larvae recovered from Berlese funnels (total larval counts, R2 = 0.85). Correlation of the sweep-net samples with the Berlese extraction was also significant but less strong (R2 = 0.56). In addition, sampler instruction was evaluated to determine whether demonstration training affects performance of inexperienced samplers using the two field-sampling methods. Training did not significantly change sampler performance in using the shake-bucket but did increase the number of large larvae when using the sweep-net. In addition, less variability was associated with the shake-bucket sampling method than with the sweep-net method for samplers who only had access to written sampling instructions. Therefore, when estimation of small larval abundance is desired for economic decision-making and sampling is performed by people with little or infrequent sampling experience, such as growers, the shake-bucket method is the preferred field-sampling method in the high plains and intermountain region of North America. Sweep-net sampling is more variable than shake-bucket sampling, although demonstration training improves the usefulness of the sweep-net.
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Vol. 95 • No. 4