In 1990 and 1991, populations of the cabbage aphid, Brevicoryne brassicae, and the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae, were monitored on broccoli interplanted with three leguminous cover crops (the living mulches) and compared with broccoli without cover crop (clean cultivation). The cover crops used were white clover (Trifolium repens L.), strawberry clover (Trifolium fragiferum L.) and a mixture of birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.) and red clover (Trifolium praetense L.). Fertilizer was applied as compost or synthetic fertilizer crossed with cropping system regime. Brevicoryne brassicae can reach pest status in Brassica cropping systems, whereas M. persicae is generally innocuous. Both aphids are attacked by the parasitoid Diaeretiella rapae. Seasonal aphid abundance, parasitism and population growth rates were analyzed. No significant effect of fertilizer was found for any of the parameters analyzed. The living mulches had lower aphid populations overall, although differences with clean cultivation were greatest early in the season for M. persicae and diminished over time. No effect of cropping system on population growth rate was seen for Brevicoryne brassicae, but for M. persicae growth rates were higher in living mulches compared with clean cultivation. Parasitism was highest on clean cultivated broccoli for both aphid species in 1990 and for M. persicae in 1991, but no differences were found for Brevicoryne brassicae in 1991. This suggests that differential population growth rates and parasitism seen for M. persicae are a result of inhibition of D. rapae in the living mulches. Possible reasons for differences in parasitism between the two aphid species in living mulches and clean cultivation are discussed.


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