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Influence of food supplementation on the fitness of two biological control agents: a predatory nabid bug and a bollworm pupal parasitoid

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Wade, M.R., Hopkinson, J. E. and Zalucki, M. P. (2008) Influence of food supplementation on the fitness of two biological control agents: a predatory nabid bug and a bollworm pupal parasitoid. Journal of Pest Science, 81 (2). pp. 99-107.

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10340-007-0191-8


Many arthropod predators and parasitoids exhibit either stage-specific or lifetime omnivory, in that they include extra-floral nectar, floral nectar, honeydew or pollen in their immature and/or adult diet. Access to these plant-derived foods can enhance pest suppression by increasing both the individual fitness and local density of natural enemies. Commercial products such as Amino-Feed®, Envirofeast®, and Pred-Feed® can be applied to crops to act as artificial-plant-derived foods. In laboratory and glasshouse experiments we examined the influence of carbohydrate and protein rich Amino-Feed UV® or Amino-Feed, respectively, on the fitness of a predatory nabid bug Nabis kinbergii Reuter (Hemiptera: Nabidae) and bollworm pupal parasitoid Ichneumon promissorius (Erichson) (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae). Under the chosen conditions, the provision of either wet or dry residues of Amino-Feed UV had no discernable effect on immediate or longer-term survival and immature development times of N. kinbergii. In contrast, the provision of honey, Amino-Feed plus extrafloral nectar, and extrafloral nectar alone had a marked effect on the longevity of I. promissorius, indicating that they were limited by at least carbohydrates as an energy source, but probably not protein. Compared with a water only diet, the provision of Amino-Feed plus extrafloral nectar increased the longevity of males and females of I. promissorius by 3.0- and 2.4-fold, respectively. Not only did female parasitoids live longer when provided food, but the total number of eggs laid and timing of deposition was affected by diet under the chosen conditions. Notably, females in the water and honey treatments deposited greater numbers of eggs earlier in the trial, but this trend was unable to be sustained over their lifetime. Egg numbers in these treatments subsequently fell below the levels achieved by females in the Amino-Feed plus extrafloral nectar and cotton extrafloral nectar only treatments. Furthermore, there were times when the inclusion of the Amino-Feed was beneficial compared with cotton extrafloral nectar only. Artificial food supplements and plant-derived foods are worthy of further investigation because they have potential to improve the ecosystem service of biological pest control in targeted agroecosystems by providing natural enemies with an alternative source of nutrition, particularly during periods of prey/host scarcity.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Additional Information:© Springer-Verlag.
Keywords:Biological pest control; egg limitation; food sprays; Gossypium hirsutum; integrated biological control; time limitation.
Subjects:Science > Zoology > Invertebrates > Insects
Plant pests and diseases > Pest control and treatment of diseases. Plant protection > Organic plant protection. Biological control
Live Archive:26 Jan 2009 23:51
Last Modified:20 Feb 2023 02:08

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