Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

Krishnaswamy Jayachandran

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Suzanne Koptur

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Cara Rockwell

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Insects, Weeds, Agriculture, Ecology, Tropical Fruit, Pollinators.

Date of Defense



The use of weeds as insectary plants is an emerging management tactic by agroecologists and entomologists to sustain beneficial insect species. Fallow lands have always been used by insects and are an important part of their diet in fragmented ecosystems. Weeds provide floral resources to beneficial insects such as pollinators, parasitoids, and predators and resources to keep them within a field in between crop flowering. Using weeds as a tool in tropical fruit production reliant on pollination like Mango (Mangifera indica) allows farmers to reduce herbicide use, increases the biodiversity of both plants and insects, and increases pollination of crops by native insects. This study examines the plant-insect ecological interactions when weeds are left within a farm and finds that the presence of weeds strongly correlated with increased mango yield, flower visitors and parasitoid insects on mango trees, and the insect orders Hymenoptera, Diptera, Coleoptera, Neuroptera, and Thysanoptera on mango trees. The species of weeds encountered in mango farms of South Florida were identified, and weeds were found to support more pollinators, predators, and parasitoids than pest insects. Weeds also increased soil carbon and decreased soil pH.




Previously Published In

Kleiman, B., Primoli, A., Koptur, S., & Jayachandran, K. (2020). Weeds, pollinators, and parasitoids-Using weeds for insect manipulation in agriculture. Journal of Research in Weed Science, 3(3), 382-390.

Kleiman, B., Koptur, S., & Jayachandran, K. (2021). Beneficial Interactions of Weeds and Pollinators to Improve Crop Production. Journal of Research in Weed Science, 4(2), 151-164.



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