Effect of plant protection on assemblages of ground beetles (Coleoptera, Carabidae) in sugar beet crops in four-year rotation

Keywords: ground beetles, plant protection, Coleoptera, Carabidae, integrated agricultural production, root crops, species traits


The influence of chemical plant protection on carabid beetle assemblages was studied in an experiment conducted on fields of sugar beet at the IOR-PIB Experimental Station in Winna Góra, Poland. The experiment was composed of a block of control fields (no chemical plant protection treatments) and second block, where plant protection was carried out in compliance with the applicable plant protection program. Ground beetles were caught from May to August/September in four years, using modified Barber traps. As a result of the study, 11 881 specimens belonging to 52 species of Carabidae were collected. The most numerous species were: Harpalus rufipes, Pterostichus melanarius, Calathus ambiguus and Bembidion properans. Overall, our results demonstrate that the application of chemical plant protection treatments decreased the abundance of carabid beetles in sugar beet fields, but had no effect on species richness. The use of pesticides induced changes in some life traits of Carabidae fauna. After a pesticide application, the abundance of macropterous hemizoophages and medium carnivores with the autumn type of breeding decreased, whereas the abundance of small carnivores increased.