Identity and Seasonal Abundance of Beneficial Arthropods Associated with Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) in Central Washington State, USA
Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) characterizes and dominates the sagebrush steppe, the largest temperate semi-desert ecosystem in North America. The beneficial arthropod fauna hosted by A. tridentata is poorly known but could be of importance to nearby agriculture seeking to exploit biologically-based pest management. Over four years, we identified and assessed the seasonal abundance of beneficial arthropods (predators, parasitoids, pollinators) associated with A. tridentata during spring
... ata during spring to autumn in the Yakima Valley of central Washington using sticky traps. During 2011-2014, 207 sticky traps were placed on non-blooming and blooming A. tridentata plants for a total of 966 trapping days. Overall, across all seasons, we trapped 259.7 beneficial arthropods per trap and 92% of these were parasitoid wasps. Significantly greater numbers of beneficial arthropods were associated with blooming A. tridentata during autumn (410/trap) than non-blooming plants in the spring (181.3/trap) or summer (85.1/trap). Parasitoid wasps and predatory true bugs were most abundant during the autumn, but ladybeetles, lacewings, spiders, bees, and predatory thrips were most common during spring. The association of high numbers of predators, parasitoids, and pollinators with A. tridentata during blooming and non-blooming periods indicates that this plant is an important reservoir of beneficial arthropods in the sagebrush steppe of central Washington. Consequently, biologically-based pest management programs in central Washington may benefit from careful management and retention of A. tridentata plants on crop borders.