Laboratory rearing, establishment, subterranean survivorship, and thermal requirements of Laricobius spp. (Coleoptera: Derodontidae), biological control agents released for Adelges tsugae (Hemiptera: Adelgidae)

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Date
2021-10-29
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Volume Title
Publisher
Virginia Tech
Abstract

The hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) (Adelges tsugae [Annand]) (Hemiptera: Adelgidae) is a non-native lethal pest to eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis [L.] (Pinales: Pinaceae), and Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana [Engelmann]) (Pinales: Pinaceae). In the early 2000's, a robust biological control initiative using Laricobius spp. (Insecta: Coleoptera) was launched with the goal of decreasing HWA's impact to hemlock and the associated ecosystems on landscape level. Since then, two Laricobius agents, Laricobius nigrinus Fender (Coleoptera: Derodontidae) and Laricobius osakensis Montgomery and Shiyake (Coleoptera: Derodontidae) have been evaluated, approved, and released. The production and subsequent release of these agents has largely occurred through mass rearing efforts by Virginia Tech. A descriptive analysis of these rearing and release data over the past 16 years at Virginia Tech revealed that the mass production of these agents has been consistently limited by: 1) excessively high rates of subterranean mortality and 2) early subterranean emergence. Very little is known about the subterranean life cycle of these species in the field in terms of survivorship and timing of emergence. Additionally, the thermal limits and rates of development are unknown for L. osakensis and were thus further investigated. In 2019, surveys within the urban environment in two counties in southwest Virginia were conducted to determine if these agents have dispersed from their original release location. Laricobius nigrinus was documented to have established outside of release sites in 100 and 75% of the surveyed grids containing HWA infested hemlocks. The establishments of these species in easily accessible locations allowed for the use of field-caught larvae, in addition to laboratory-produced larvae, for experiments. Experiments were conducted in 2019-2020 to determine the overall subterranean survivorship in relation to site condition, differences in survivorship between field-caught vs. laboratory-reared, and the seasonal timing of emergence. We found that the average field subterranean survivorship (17.1 ± 0.4%) was significantly less than the historical production of these agents in the laboratory (37.5 ± 13.6%). We found that as soil pH and organic matter depth increased, survivorship decreased. While the majority of emergence occurred as expected in the fall, a surprising amount of emergence also occurred in spring and summer. The rate of development and the minimum threshold temperature for each life stage were determined through constant temperature experiments, and were used in the construction of a phenological forecast model. Laricobius osakensis minimum threshold temperature (3.6°) from egg to adult was similar to that of other Laricobius spp., but completed development at higher a constant temperature (22°C). Our results suggest L. osakensis can handle the same colder climates as L. nigrinus, but may be better adapted for warmer locations than L. nigrinus.

Laboratory rearing, establishment, subterranean survivorship, and thermal requirements of Laricobius spp. (Coleoptera: Derodontidae), biological control agents released for Adelges tsugae (Hemiptera: Adelgidae)

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Keywords
Biocontrol, pest management, L. nigrinus, L. osakensis, eastern hemlock, Carolina hemlock, Hemlock woolly adelgid, HWA
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