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Reduviid: An Important Biological Control Agent

  • K. Sahayaraj
  • R. Balasubramanian
Chapter

Abstract

In the Indian economy, agriculture plays an important role by generating jobs and income for the country. India holds the second position in the world for agricultural production. However, in India annual losses have been reported for potential production of major crops due to insect pests. Crop losses due to these harmful organisms can be controlled by using chemical pesticides. However, the intensive use of chemical pesticides has been responsible for resistance in the insect pest population and also is a human health hazard and environmental pollution. Productivity of crops grown for human consumption is at risk due to the incidence of insect pests. Considering the importance of pest control, there has been an intense requirement for more environment-friendly and sustainable approaches using naturally occurring biocontrol agents, such as Reduviids predators, to be developed.

Reduviid predators have a wide diet that includes prey from various taxa. They consume as many insects as they are able to capture, which allows them to establish and maintain high population densities. Thus, these predators could contribute to the suppression of herbivore insects. Considering these qualities, it is a good biological control agent. For the utilization of reduviid predators in a biological control program, a large number of predators is essential. It is not feasible or possible to produce the reduviids in large number utilizing natural and laboratory host preys. Establishing effective methods to rear reduviid predator can facilitate basic and applied studies on their use in biological pest control. Through various methods and technologies, some constrains have been proposed by reduviid biologists to rear the reduviids predators. The utilization of an artificial diet is an important step toward more cost-effective rearing of predators. For the first time, an artificial diet has been proposed for rearing reduviid predators. Diets with and without insect components, oligidic, meridic, and holidic diets were considered. In this chapter, we present the distribution of reduviid predators in various agro-ecosystems. Basic information on biotic and abiotic factors of the biological traits was provided, which facilitates methods to rear the reduviids. These all applied to the development and improvement of artificial diets for entomophagous arthropods. Government or nongovernment agencies or organic gardeners or natural gardeners may produce these insects and supply to the farmers at low cost.

Keywords

Reduviids Distribution and diversity Bio-control agent Cultivable crops 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Sahayaraj
    • 1
  • R. Balasubramanian
    • 2
  1. 1.St. Xavier’s College, PalayamkottaiTirunelveliIndia
  2. 2.National Institute of VirologyAlappuzhaIndia

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