Weed control, an important practice in agroecosystems to protect crop production, is usually achieved with herbicides. However, these pesticides are expensive, pose potential risks to the environment, may affect some beneficial organisms indirectly, and decrease overall arthropod biodiversity, including pests and their natural enemies, by removing weeds that might act as hosts or shelters for many organisms. The activity density response of important surface-dwelling arthropod predators (ground beetles [Coleoptera: Carabidae], ants [Hymenoptera: Formicidae] and spiders [Arachnida: Araneae]) to herbicides (trifiuralin and paraquat), and to two alternative weed management practices (rye straw mulch and mechanical treatment to maintain weeds below threshold levels, in comparison with an untreated check), was assessed using pitfall traps. The mulch treatment had the greatest effect on activity density, reducing the number of predators trapped significantly (P<0.05). Herbicide use resulted in significant (P<0.05) reductions in the activity density of ground beetles. Most predators were trapped in the check plots - which had the highest weed biomass, followed in turn by numbers trapped in the threshold weed control treatment, the full herbicide application and the mulch treatment plots.