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Effects of UV-Blocking Films on the Dispersal Behavior of Encarsia formosa (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae)

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The parasitoid Encarsia formosa Gahan (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) has been used successfully for the control of Trialeurodes vaporariorum (Westwood) (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae). The development of UV-blocking plastic films has added a new component to future integrated pest management systems by disrupting insect pest infestation when UV light is excluded. Because both T. vaporariorum and E. formosa are reported to have similar spectral efficiency, there was a need to identify the impact of UV-blocking films on the dispersal behavior of both the pest and the natural enemy. In field studies, using choice-chamber experiments, E. formosa showed some preference to disperse into compartments where less UV light was blocked. However, further studies indicated that the effect was primarily attributable to the different light diffusion properties of the films tested. Thus, unlike its whitefly host, when the UV-absorbing properties of the films were similar, but the light diffusion properties differed, E. formosa adults preferred to disperse into compartments clad with films that had high light diffusion properties. When the plastic films differed most in their UV-absorbing capacity and had no light-diffusion capability, the initial dispersal of E. formosa between treatments was similar, although a small preference toward the environment with UV light was observed over time. When parasitoid dispersal was measured 3 h after release, more parasitoids were found on plants, suggesting that the parasitoids would search plants for whitefly hosts, even in a UV-blocked light environment. The potential for the integration of UV-blocking films with E. formosa in an advanced whitefly management system is discussed.

Keywords: Encarsia formosa; UV-blocking films; diffusion; dispersal

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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