Use of the egg parasitoid, Trichogramma ostriniae (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) as a biological control agent of the European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae): An approach to integrated pest management in bell pepper

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Virginia Tech

Four to six separate inundative releases of ~30,000 to 50,000 T. ostriniae per 0.02 ha significantly reduced damage by O. nubilalis in bell pepper. Egg parasitization averaged 48.7% in T. ostriniae release plots, which was significantly higher than non-release plots (1.9%). Also, cumulative green pepper fruit damage averaged 8.7% in release plots, which was significantly less than non-release plots (27.3%). Pesticides tested against T. ostriniae were spinosad and methoxyfenozide. Spinosad adversely affected adult T. ostriniae producing 100% mortality at the field rate of 498 mg [AI]/L for both the preimaginal and adult toxicity tests. Use of T. ostriniae can provide effective control of O. nubilalis in pepper compared to conventional and organic spray regimes (Spinosad and methoxyfenozide respectively). Augmentative releases of T. ostriniae integrated with methoxyfenozide with its limited toxicity to both preimaginal and adult stages indicate that it is a superior candidate for control O. nubilalis.

To determine the behavioral differences of T. ostriniae and its response to O. nubilalis in green bell peppers, experiments were carried out to classify likely areas of O. nubilalis oviposition within the green pepper plant canopy. A total of 426 O. nubilalis egg masses were found on pepper plants during our study. Over 92% of egg masses were found on the lower surface of the leaf compared with the upper surface indicating a significant ovipositional preference for the undersides of leaves in 2002 ( x2 = 9.68; df = 1; P < 0.05) followed by similar results in 2004 (x2 = 4.34; df = 1; P < 0.05). No significant differences were found in the observed spatial distribution of egg masses among the three vertical strata in either 2002 or 2004 (x2 = 1.75; df = 2; P < 0.05 and x2 = 5.69; df = 2; P < 0.05 respectively). Field release rates of 17.0 foraging T. ostriniae females can achieve 80.0% parasitism of O. nubilalis egg masses distributed throughout the pepper plant canopy found primarily on the undersides of leaves. These data demonstrate that T. ostriniae has potential as a biocontrol agent for O. nubilalis in solanaceous crops.

Trichogramma, European corn borer, pepper, biological control, IPM