Development of an optimum diet for mass rearing of the rice moth, Corcyra cephalonica (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), and production of the parasitoid, Habrobracon hebetor (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), for the control of pearl millet head miner
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The rice moth, Corcyra cephalonica Stainton, an alternate host for the production of the parasitoid, Habrobracon hebetor Say, was reared on different diets, including pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.] (Poales: Poaceae) flour only, and in combinations of flours of sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] (Poales: Poaceae), peanut (Arachis hypogea L.) (Fabales: Fabaceae), and cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] (Fabales: Fabaceae) to identify the optimal and economical proportion to be used under the conditions of Niger. The addition of cowpea or peanut to the pearl millet diet slightly increased C. cephalonica larval development time. Likewise, the addition of cowpea or peanut to cereal diets yielded a higher C. cephalonica larval survival. Female moths emerging from larvae fed on cereal and legume mixed diets produced higher eggs compared to the ones fed on sole and mixed cereals. Among legumes, cowpea addition is most interesting in terms of cost/production of C. cephalonica larvae. However, female moths emerging from larvae fed on different millet cowpea mix (5, 25, and 50%) laid significantly more eggs than those fed on sole pearl millet. Further, individual C. cephalonica larvae fed on 75% pearl millet + 25% cowpea produced significantly more H. hebetor. With an initial 25 C. cephalonica larvae kept for a 3-mo rearing period, the number of H. hebetor parasitoids produced will reach 2.68–10.07 million. In terms of cost/production ratio, the 75% pearl millet: 25% cowpea yielded better results. © The Author(s) 2019.