// Farmscaping to Enhance Biological ControlPage3
instances the beneficials may not exist innumbers sufficient to control pest populations
during the time when pest populations generally increase
. Predator/prey populationbalances are influenced by the
ofavailability of nectar, pollen and alternateprey/hosts for the beneficials. Therefore, thereis a strong argument to be made for havingyear-round beneficial organism habitat andfood sources. The “beneficial habitat season”may be extended by adding plants that bloomsequentially throughout the growing season orthe whole year.
When contemplating farmscaping,consideration should be given to the cost ofdeveloping beneficial habitat and maintenanceof the habitat as well as the cost of any landthat might be taken out of production. In anycase, a more systematic, research-orientedapproach to farmscaping can often help thegrower avoid mistakes and develop desirablehabitats that match the needs of the beneficialorganisms as well as the pest managementneeds of the farm.The following are key considerations incrafting a farmscaping plan:
1. Ecology of Pests and Beneficials
What are the most important(economic) pests that requiremanagement?
What are the most important predatorsand parasites of the pest?
What are the primary food sources,habitat, and other ecologicalrequirements of both pests andbeneficials? (Where does the pest infestthe field from, how is it attracted to thecrop, and how does it develop in thecrop? Where do the beneficials comefrom, how are they attracted to thecrop, and how do they develop in thecrop?)
When do pest populations generallyfirst appear and when do thesepopulations become economicallydamaging?
When do the most important predatorsand parasites of the pest appear?
When do food sources (nectar, pollen,alternate hosts, and prey) for beneficialsfirst appear? How long do they last?
What native annuals and perennialscan provide habitat?
3. Identification of Strategies
Reduction of pest habitat (i.e., reduce/alter overwintering pest sites, orreduce/alter locations from which pestinvades.)
Augmentation of beneficial habitat(insectary establishment; consider bothperennial options—permanentplantings such as hedgerows—andannual options.)
Trap Crops—planted specifically to bemore attractive to the pest than is thecrop to be harvested. This is due to thetiming of the appearance of the trapcrop or the fact that it is physiologicallymore attractive to the insect. (Please seeappendices D and G for descriptions ofplanting systems that can be used infarmscaping.)
The ATTRA Phenology Resource List provides additional resources about time-of-bloom at:
A sample blooming chart for California plants can be found in Appendix F.
When Do They Bloom?