Rearing and Release of Microctonus aethiops,1 a Parasite of the Alfalfa Weevil,2 in Maryland3

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Larvae of the alfalfa weevil, Hypera Postica (Gyllenhal), were reared at 25.6°C and with a 15-honr photoperiod. Following' emergence, adults were active for 2-3 weeks before entering diapause. During this period, weevils were exposed to parasites, and at a parasite-host ratio of ca. 1:50 survival of weevils averaged 93%. Diapausing pausing' parasitized weevils were stored successfully at 1o°C.

Topical applications of a synthetic juvenile hormone, a mixture of cis,trans and trans,trans-10,11-epoxyfarnesen- ic acid methyl ester, were used to break diapause in hosts and coordinate emergence of parasites so that a large number of Microclonus aethiops(Nees) would be available for release within a short time interval.

Parasites were released either as adults (ca. 100 mated females/field) or as larvae within hormone-treated hosts. The adult-release method was superior. M. aethiops was released at 5 sites in Maryland where it was determined previously to be absent. It was recovered at Germantown, Montgomery County; Boonsboro. Washington County: and Butler, Baltimore Count)'. The parasite was reported previously to have established itself in 6 additional eastern and northern counties of Maryland, apparently as a result of dispersion from Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 1973

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