Release and Recovery of Exotic Parasitoids of Bemisia tabaci in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas
An intensive field program was conducted in the subtropical Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas (LRGV) to evaluate the establishment of the imported parasitoids of B. tabaci. Thirty populations/species of Eretmocerus and Encarsia parasitoids were mass reared for field release in multiple agricultural crops and garden plantings. Small releases of the Eretmocerus spp. were also made in the Texas Wintergarden to the northwest of the LRGV. Field tests were conducted on the major crops to determine which species showed the best potential. Banker plants (parasitoid inoculated seedling transplants) were used to facilitate early season augmentative releases of parasitoids in commercial imidacloprid treated cantaloupe melons and watermelons. Following the initial releases, several species showed initial establishment, but only Eret. hayati overwintered and dispersed. This result was confirmed by using RAPD-PCR which was used to distinguish the morphologically similar Eretmocerus spp. By 1997, Eret. hayati was established across the entire LRGV and northeastern Mexico. Eretmocerus hayati was predicted to do well in the LRGV because of the high attack rate it exhibited in pre-release quarantine studies and its climatic adaptation to the subtropical LRGV, which is similar to its native range in Pakistan.
KeywordsClimatic Adaptation Parasitoid Species Field Release Garden Plot High Attack Rate
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