Intercrops of bean and finger millet were tested as a possible means of controlling maize streak virus disease (MSVD) in maize by disrupting the mating behaviour of the insect vectors of the maize streak virus, Cicadulina mbila and C. storeyi. A series of three trials were done. In the first, MSVD incidence 2 months after sowing was reduced to 14.9% and 17.4% in millet and bean intercrops compared to 29.5% in the pure maize stand. The number of male Cicadulina spp. caught on sticky pole traps was also significantly reduced relative to the control, but there was little effect on the catch of females. There was no significant yield penalty for the millet intercrop but maize yield was 49% lower in the bean intercrop treatment than in the pure stand. In the second trial, there were two millet and two bean intercrop treatments and a maize only control. Fewer male Cicadulina spp. were caught in the intercrop treatments relative to the control but MSVD incidence was reduced in one millet intercrop treatment only for which the associated maize yield penalty was 89%. In the final trial the bean intercrop was again tested but it had no effect on MSVD incidence. These experiments demonstrated that intercropping maize with bean or millet decreased vector activity and/or vector numbers. Vector catches were predominantly male, and catches of males but not females were reduced in the intercrop treatments compared with pure stands. However the lower vector catch was not consistently associated with a significant reduction in MSVD incidence, and when it was there was often an associated yield penalty in the maize due to the intercrop.
Page, W.W.; Smith, M.C.; Holt, J.; Kyetere, D. Intercrops, Cicadulina spp., and maize streak virus disease. Annals of Applied Biology (1999) 135 (1) 385-393. [DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7348.1999.tb00865.x]