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Use of banker plant system for sustainable management of the most important insect pest in rice fields in China.

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To meet the World's food demand, there is a growing need for sustainable pest management practices. This study describes the results from complementary laboratory and field studies of a "banker plant system" for sustainable management of the rice brown planthopper (BPH) (Nilaparvata lugens Stål) - the economically most important rice pest in Asian rice growing areas. The banker plant system consisted of planting a grass species, Leersia sayanuka, adjacent to rice fields. L. sayanuka is the host plant of a planthopper, Nilaparvata muiri. An egg parasitoid, Anagrus nilaparvatae, parasitizes eggs of both BPH and N. muiri, and its establishment and persistence are improved through plantings of L. sayanuka and thereby attraction of N. muiri. Laboratory results showed that BPH was unable to complete its life cycle on L. sayanuka, and N. muiri could not complete its life cycle on rice. Thus, planting L. sayanuka did not increase the risk of planthopper damage to rice fields. Field studies showed that BPH densities were significantly lower in rice fields with banker plant system compared to control rice fields without banker plant system.

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