Analysis of a Biological Control Strategy and its Potential in a Pest Management Program in Florida Cabbage
Little information exists on whether multiple natural enemies enhance biological control of an insect pest compared with a single natural enemy. A comparison of the natural enemies Cotesia plutellae and Podisus maculiventris used to reduce diamondback moth populations in cabbage demonstrates that when both control agents are present they reduce plant damage and diamondback moth populations additively. The parasitoid, C. plutellae, reduced plant damage and pest abundance significantly more than the predator, P. maculiventris. The data also indicate that the most damage from the diamondback moth occurred on the intermediate growth stage of cabbage.
- To determine if Cotesia plutellae and Podisus maculiventris have an additive, antagonistic, or synergistic effect on diamondback moth populations in cabbage.
To determine how interactions between Cotesia plutellae and Podisus maculiventris influence plant damage caused by the diamondback moth.
One growing season has been complete and the data gathered from this season have been analyzed. These results were presented at the 2002 annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America. The second growing season is currently in progress.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Biological control offers an alternative to the use of insecticides for diamondback moth management. However, information on interactions between predators and parasitoids and how these interactions influence diamondback moth populations and plant damage is limited. An understanding of the joint impact of multiple natural enemies on pest populations is essential to improving biological control as a component of sustainable agriculture. This research will provide such critical information on interactions between natural enemies of the diamondback moth, and will benefit producers, consumers, and the scientific community by providing additional information regarding sustainable methods of pest management in agriculture.