- Agronomic: soybeans, wheat
- Pest Management: biological control
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
This study uses native stinkbug egg parasites as a model to improve understanding of egg parasite overwintering and adult nutrition requirements, with a long-term goal of enhancing biocontrol of stinkbugs and their relatives (e.g. kudzu bug). Results show parasites benefit equally from honeydew (widely available on farms) as well as flower nectar. Field and lab studies indicate the importance of woodland field borders with hardwood leaf litter as winter refuges for egg parasites and kudzu bugs. This study should help to guide future conservation biocontrol efforts with both native and imported scelionid egg parasites of stinkbugs and their relatives.
The purpose of this project is to improve management of stinkbug pests by focusing on conservation biological control of a parasitic insect, Telenomus podisi, that attacks stink bug eggs. The practice of conservation biological control seeks to modify aspects of agricultural environments to enhance beneficial organisms. Although insecticides are effective against stinkbug adults and nymphs, they have been found to be ineffective against eggs but lethal for egg parasitoids. Insecticides, whether they are synthetic or organic, can have significant impacts on beneficial insects and other ecological components in farm landscapes, as well as human applicators. As an external farm input, they are a recurring cost to growers, and reducing their need will improve agricultural sustainability. This study proposes to identify overwintering refuges that the egg parasitoid Telenomus podisi might utilize on farms as well as types of carbohydrate sources utilized for its daily functioning. This information will help us to provide recommendations to growers on what plants and trees to keep or maintain on farms to enhance on-farm populations of the parasitoid, and reduce potentially damaging populations of stink bugs. In addition, overwintering preference of the invasive pest kudzu bug, Megacopta cribraria (Hemiptera: Plataspidae), in relation to leaf litter and tree bark will be assessed.
1. Determine the presence of overwintering T. podisi in potential refuge sites like tree bark, dried fruiting and flowering bodies, insect cocoons, fallen pine cones etc. that might be utilized by T. podisi in the field.
2. Determine the lifespan and reproductive ability of T. podisi when offered carbohydrate sources in the form of various flowering plants, and homopteran honeydew.