Tuesday, 19 November 2002 - 2:00 PM

This presentation is part of : The Ecological Basis of Conservation Biological Control of Insect Pests

Selecting food sources to enhance biocontrol in brassicas

Felix L. Wäckers, Netherlands Institute of Ecology, NIOO CTO, P.O. Box 40, Heteren, Netherlands

Biological control workers have long been aware of the fact that the impact of parasitoids or predators in biological pest control may be constrained by the lack of nectar or other sugar sources in agro-ecosystems. This realization has translated in an increased interest in agro-ecosystem diversification as a means of providing food supplements to biological control agents. Despite the growing popularity of this approach, we know little about the extent to which natural enemies in the field obtain nutritional benefits from the supplied sugar supplements.

This paper addresses this issue by presenting data on the nutritional status of field-collected parasitoids, based on HPLC analysis. Using this approach, unambiguous evidence could be provided that field edges have a positive impact on the nutritional status of the parasitoid Cotesia glomerata in the field. In addition I will address the serious problem that many pest insects may benefit from sugar sources as well. Strategies to avoid this potential pitfall will be discussed

Species 1: Hymenoptera Braconidae Cotesia glomerata
Species 2: Lepidoptera Pieridae Pieris brassicae (large cabbage white)
Keywords: nectar, honeydew

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