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Suppression of Colorado potato beetle infestation by pheromone-mediated augmentation of the predatory spined soldier bug, Podisus maculiventris (Say) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae)

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1 Hardware and protocols were tested to enable individual growers and insectary operators to mass-produce predatory spined soldier bugs (SSBs), Podisus maculiventris (Say) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae: Asopinae), for augmentative biological control. Using pheromone-based technology, an average of 1775 female SSBs (potentially as many as 1.6 million offspring) were captured each year during 2–3 weeks in early spring.

2 Data for the first 2 years of a 3-year project to use SSB for biological suppression of the Colorado potato beetle (CPB), Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), verified earlier research showing that augmentation of SSB (∼5 nymphs/plant) can significantly suppress CPB infestations. In the third year, wild SSBs were transferred directly from pheromone traps to mid-plot nursery cages having a mesh size chosen to retain the adult predators but allow their offspring to escape. Pheromone dispensers were placed peripherally to promote dispersal of young predators and immigration of new wild spined soldier bug adults. Pheromone-mediated augmentation using porous nursery cages and pheromone dispensers was less labour-intensive than earlier methods, and resulted in significantly improved potato yield.

3 Trapping SSB adults early in the spring protects them from parasitization by tachinid flies and scelionid wasps that use the pheromone to facilitate host-finding. The compatibility of pheromone-mediated predator augmentation/conservation with implementation of transgenic plants, imidacloprid insecticide, and other biocontrol methods is discussed.
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Keywords: Biological control; Harmonia; Lebia; conservation; kairomone; ladybird beetles; natural enemy; scelionid; tachinid

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: USDA-ARS Insect Chemical Ecology Laboratory, Bldg. 007, Rm. 326, BARC-West, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, U.S.A. and 2: USDA-ARS Vegetable Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, U.S.A .

Publication date: 1999-08-01

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