Light reflectance in five wavebands of the spectrum was measured from broccoli (Brassicae oleracea var.botrytis [L].) interplanted with leguminous cover crops (cover crop background) or broccoli grown as monoculture (bare soil background), and fertilized with compost or synthetic fertilizer. Alate Brevicoryne brassicae (L.) and Myzus persicae (Sulzer) (Homoptera: Aphididae) were monitored in yellow pan water traps and on broccoli leaves. Reflectance intensity was higher with a background of bare soil at all wavebands except blue (400–455 nm) in the early-season. Intensity decreased as broccoli canopy cover increased at all wavebands except blue and green (515–550 nm), declining-most dramatically in the yellow (550–590 nm). Highest late-season intensities were in plots with bare soil background and fertilized with compost (those stressed for nitrogen). Few differences in spectral composition, expressed for each waveband as a percentage of total intensity, were recorded. Numbers of alatae were lowest in cover crop background plots in the early season, reached equivalency with bare soil background by mid-season, and showed highest positive correlations with intensity in the yellow (550–590 nm). Results correspond to laboratory findings that aphids are attracted to higher intensity light, especially in the yellow waveband, and support a phototactic explanation for aphid orientation in the field.


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