Inundative Release of Trichogrammatoidea bactrae for Biological Control of Pink Bollworm
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AbstractReplicated, small-plot studies were conducted in 1991 to evaluate control of pink bollworm (PBW), Pectinophora gossypiella, by inundative releases of a newly imported Australian egg parasitoid, Trichogrammatoidea bactrae. Weekly release of parasitoids at equivalent rates of 165,000/HA beginning in mid-June significantly reduced egg and larval populations of PBW in comparison with control plots until mid-August, but provided no control thereafter. Rates of parasitism on artificially-placed PBW egg cards exceeded 90% until mid-July and then declined, becoming somewhat variable over the latter half of the season. Parasitism rates dropped near zero on three dates coinciding with drift from aerial pesticide application at a neighboring cotton field. The seasonal decline in rates of parasitism was not significantly related to increasing plant leaf area, vigor of released parasitoids, or ambient temperature. Parasitism of indigenous PBW eggs on cotton bolls was extremely low and this, along with moth migration from surrounding cotton, may have contributed to the lack of mid- to late-season control in our small plots. Results are encouraging and suggest that larger-scale release studies are warranted.