The effect of growing cowpeas mixed with either beans or maize on population densities of Megalurothrips sjostedti (Trybom) was investigated. Also investigated was the effect of varying the cropping densities of the host plants on the pest populations.
There was a significantly lower population of M. sjostedti in cowpea/maize, bean/maize, and cowpea/bean/maize mixed stands as compared with that in either cowpea/bean stands or monoculture stands of cowpeas and beans. Increasing the cropping densities of the host crops increased the abundance of the pest in non-maize based mixed stands, but this effect was not observed in the maize-based mixed stands.
The results indicate that with regard to infestation by M. sjostedti, the practice of mixed cropping beans with cowpeas confers no advantage to either crop with respect to attack by M. sjostedti. On the contrary, combining the two crops attracted infestation levels similar to those attracted by either crop grown in monoculture. But the inclusion of a non-host plant (maize) in the mixture, significantly reduces infestation.