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I am coming to the end of my field work and I have some interesting results. I plan to do one more field trip to Moree to collect more pollinators, as I have struggled to collect these in previous trips, due to high winds and inclement weather.
This year has been an amazing growing season for crops in the Moree area, hence herbivorous insects and pollinators are generally in abundance. I collected three species of aphids from cereal crops and adjacent non-farmed areas. These were the rose-grain aphid, oat aphid and the turnip aphid.
There are many compounding factors which may be influencing aphid populations (eg: rainfall, temperature, plant characteristics such as stage of development). These factors will vary from year to year and hence so will aphid population dynamics. I found that my field work from this year yielded small numbers of aphids, and I suspect that this is because of above average winter rainfall.
Weedy and introduced plant species appear to be very important for the maintenance of beneficial insect populations (particular for parasitoid wasps). The turnip aphid was found in high numbers on turnip, clover and milk thistle not only around crops but also areas isolated from crops. One specific parasitoid wasp which parasitizes the rose-grain aphid (which is a pest in barley & to a lesser extent in wheat), also parasitizes the turnip aphid. The turnip aphid is also a known pest of canola.
I will be updating my blog soon with the information I gleen from my pollinator data.
Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to dicuss something with me!