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The influence, if any, of 5m wide, feral, herbaceous field borders on pest and beneficial arthropods in commercial cotton, Gossypium hirsutum (L.) (Malvales: Malvaceae), fields was measured through a variety of sampling techniques over three years. In each year, 5 fields with managed, feral vegetation borders and five fields without such borders were examined. Sampling was stratified from the field border or edge in each field in an attempt to elucidate any edge effects that might have occurred. Early season thrips populations appeared to be unaffected by the presence of a border. Pitfall sampling disclosed no differences in ground-dwelling predaceous arthropods but did detect increased populations of crickets around fields with borders. Cotton aphid (Aphis gossypii Glover) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) populations were too low during the study to adequately assess border effects. Heliothines, Heliothis virescens (F.) and Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), egg numbers and damage rates were largely unaffected by the presence or absence of a border, although in one instance egg numbers were significantly lower in fields with borders. Overall, foliage-dwelling predaceous arthropods were somewhat more abundant in fields with borders than in fields without borders. Tarnished plant bugs, Lygus lineolaris (Palisot de Beauvois) (Heteroptera: Miridae) were significantly more abundant in fields with borders, but stink bugs, Acrosternum hilare (Say), and Euschistus servus (Say) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) numbers appeared to be largely unaffected by border treatment. Few taxa clearly exhibited distributional edge effects relative to the presence or absence of border vegetation. Field borders like those examined in this study likely will have little impact on insect pest management in cotton under current insect management regimens.
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