USING A LIVING MULCH AND WOLF SPIDERS TO MANAGE PEST ARTHROPODS IN CUCUMBER
Kahl, Hanna Maria
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Pest management practices that conserve beneficial organisms and improve yield are needed. This research aims to determine how: 1) red clover living mulch impacts insect herbivores, arthropod natural enemies, and cucumber quality and yield, and 2) wolf spiders influence cucumber beetles and cucumber plant attributes. Herbivore and natural enemy abundances on cucumber plants in plots with and without interplanted red clover (RC) were compared using foliage searches and sticky cards. Effects of spiders on cucumber beetle behavior, densities, and mortality was assessed in cages with and without a wolf spider and/or their cues. RC plots had fewer striped cucumber beetles and aphids, and more big-eyed bugs and minute pirate bugs. Spotted cucumber beetle densities were reduced and striped cucumber beetle mortality was higher in cages with than without spiders. These studies demonstrated that red clover living mulch and wolf spiders can be used to decrease pest arthropods in cucumber.