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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Dispersal and spatiotemporal distribution of Protapion fulvipes in white clover fields: implications for pest management

Hederstrom, Veronica; Nyabuga, Franklin N.; Anderbrant, Olle; Svensson, Glenn P.; Rundlof, Maj; Lankinen, Asa; Larsson, Mattias C.


Yield loss caused by insect pests remains a substantial problem in agriculture. Chemical control, with potential negative effects on non-target organisms, is still the main tool for pest management. For pest species with limited dispersal capacity, rotation of the crop in time and space has potential as an alternative management measure. This is particularly important in organic farming, where most agrochemicals are prohibited, but also relevant as a complementary pest management strategy in conventional agriculture. Clover is an important crop used for animal feed and as green manure; however, seed-eating weevils can severely limit the seed yield. We hypothesized that the previous year's clover seed fields constitute the major sources of weevil pests. Consequently, a greater distance to, and a smaller pest load from, this source should reduce the number of weevils colonizing the new seed fields. To map population dynamics and dispersal range of Protapion fulvipes, an economically important seed weevil specialized on white clover, we conducted field studies over four years in 45 white clover seed fields. We found that P. fulvipes overwinters close to its source field and disperses to new fields in early spring the following year. Pest abundance increased with pest load in the previous year's seed field, but decreased by 68% per km distance to the previous year's field. Thus, separation of seed production fields between years by 2-3 km would create a spatiotemporal pest management tool to reduce the pest infestation below the estimated economic injury level.


Trifolium repens; White clover seed weevil; Agricultural pest; Dispersal distance; Clover seed production

Published in

Journal of Pest Science
2022, Volume: 95, number: 2, pages: 917-930 Publisher: SPRINGER HEIDELBERG