Classical biological control programmes rely on mass production of high‐quality beneficial insects for subsequent releases into the field. Psyttalia lounsburyi (Silvestri) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is a koinobiont larval–pupal endoparasitoid of tephritid flies that is being reared to support a classical biological control programme for olive fruit fly in California. The mass‐rearing system for a P. lounsburyi colony, initiated with insects originally collected in Kenya, was evaluated with the goal of increasing production, while at the same time reducing time requirements for rearing in a quarantine facility. We tested the effect of exposure time of a factitious host Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae), on parasitization, adult production, superparasitism, and sex ratio of P. lounsburyi and survival of the host. Parasitization rates were highest (31%) at 3‐ and 4‐hr exposure times, while adult production (i.e., emergence of wasp progeny) was highest (16%) at the 2‐hr exposure time. Superparasitism over the course of the study was 1.5% and did not appear to be a factor affecting parasitoid production. The sex ratio of wasp progeny was male‐biased and did not vary significantly over different exposure times. The rate of stings on host larvae increased with exposure time and was consistent with decreases in pupal eclosion from larvae and emergence rate of adult flies. When compared to current rearing procedures, the 2‐hr exposure time resulted in an overall 2.8‐fold increase in P. lounsburyi production when standardized for time.
Journal of Applied Entomology – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ;
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