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Trichogramma Westwood egg parasitoids alone generally fail to suppress heliothine pests when released in established cotton‐growing regions. Factors hindering their success include indiscriminate use of detrimental insecticides, compensation for minimal pest larval hatch due to their activity via reduced larval cannibalism or mortality in general, singly laid heliothine eggs avoiding detection and asynchronous development benefiting host over parasitoid. Yet, despite these limitations, relatively large Trichogramma pretiosum Riley populations pervade and effectively suppress Helicoverpa (Hardwick) pests in Australian Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner)‐transgenic cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L., crops, especially in the Ord River Irrigation Area (ORIA) of tropical northern Australia, where their impact on the potentially resistant pest species, Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner), is considered integral to the local insecticide resistance management (IRM) strategy for continued, sustainable Bt‐transgenic cotton production. When devoid of conventional insecticides, relatively warm and stable conditions of the early dry season in ‘winter’ grown ORIA Bt‐transgenic cotton crops are conducive to Trichogramma proliferation and biological control appears effective. Further, there is considerable scope to improve Trichogramma's biological control potential, in both the ORIA and established cotton‐growing regions, via habitat manipulation. It is proposed that Trichogramma may prove equally effective in developing agricultural regions of monsoonal northern Australia, and that environmental constraints on Trichogramma survival, and those of other natural enemies, require due consideration prior to their successful application in biological control programs.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia. 2: School of Environmental and Rural Sciences, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia. 3: Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, PO Box 102, Toowoomba, Qld 4350, Australia.

Publication date: November 1, 2011

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