Modelling the effects of field spatial scale and natural enemy colonization behaviour on pest suppression in diversified agroecosystems

John E. Banks, Amanda N. Laubmeier, H.T. Banks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1. Diversifying agroecosystems by establishing or retaining natural vegetation in and around crop areas has long been recognized as a potentially effective means of bolstering pest control as a result of attracting more numerous and diverse natural enemies, although outcomes are inconsistent across species.
2. Little is known about the underlying mechanisms driving such differences in species responses, creating challenges for determining how best to manage landscapes for maximizing environmental services such as biological control.
3. The present study addresses gaps in our understanding of the link between noncrop vegetation in field margins and pest suppression by using a system of partial differential equations to model population‐level predator–prey interactions, as well as spatial processes, aiming to capture the dynamics of crop plants, herbivores and two generalist predators.
4. We focus on differences in how two predators (a carabid and a ladybird beetle) colonize crop fields where they forage for prey, examining differences in how they move into the fields from adjacent vegetation as a potential driver of differences in overall pest suppression.

The results obtained demonstrate that predator colonization behaviour and spatial scale are important factors with respect to determining the effectiveness of biological control.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalAgricultural and Forest Entomology
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Life Sciences

Cite this