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Recent trends in agriculture towards reduced pesticide use and ecological sustainability have lead to increased interest in spiders as potential biological control agents. Although the Chinese have augmented spider populations in field crops as a pest management strategy for centuries, much debate remains as to whether spiders will effectively control pest populations in U.S. agricultural ecosystems. This technical bulletin reviews the literature to describe the reduction of insect pest densities by spiders and the effects of pesticides on spiders. In addition to addressing the question of whether spiders can be effective biocontrol agents, the authors outline techniques to conserve and enhance spider assemblages.
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Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station
spiders, predation, pest management
Biodiversity | Entomology
Maloney, D., F.A. Drummond, and R. Alford. 2003. Spider predation in agroecosystems: Can spiders effectively control pest populations. Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 190.