Ecological engineering involves restoring floral biodiversity to provide resources for natural enemies. We established sesame plants along the bunds of a rice field of about 0.5 hectares and monitored the natural enemies.
A neighboring farmer’s field without the sesame was used as a comparison. Sesame was selected because of the flowers last a long period, are aromatic and are frequently visited by hymenopteran species.
In addition the sesame seeds may be harvested for use in making candies, sesame oil and seasoning for cooking.
Using yellow pan traps we found that hymenopteran parasitoids were significantly more abundant in the field surrounded by sesame. Similarly predators were also higher (figure below).
The yellow sticky board traps also showed significant differences in parasitoids caught in the two rice fields. The farmer’s field was sprayed once with the insecticide, buprofezin mixed with fungicides at about 50 days after transplanting.
Even though buprofezin is known to be specific to planthoppers, it had significant effects on the parasitoids caught in the traps established in the farmer’s field.
These are preliminary results from the Jinhua eco engineering site. Detailed analyses of the predator and parasitoid biodiversity using qualitative and quantitative methods are being carried out to further determine the effects of sesame grown along bunds.