Integration of Trichogramma ostriniae releases and habitat modification for suppression of European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner) in bell peppers

Kathleen Russell, Ric Bessin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

A two-year field study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of Trichogramma ostriniae Pang et Chen (T.o.) releases in combination with habitat modification, to enhance biological control of European corn borer (ECB), Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner, the key pest of bell peppers in Kentucky. A randomized block design with a split-plot treatment arrangement was used in both years. Buckwheat, Fagopyrum esculetum Moench, was inter-planted as a nectar source for the wasps and as an attractant for ECB natural enemies. Sentinel ECB egg masses were placed in each subplot to monitor establishment and dispersal of T. ostriniae within and between plots. Fruit were harvested at maturity, graded according to USDA standards, inspected for insect damage, and dissected to confirm ECB presence when evidence of entry was suspected, to determine percentage of infested fruits. Percent ECB infested fruit was reduced in plots with wasp releases and in plots with buckwheat inter-planted. The interaction of habitat modification and wasp releases significantly reduced pepper damage as a result of the synergy between tactics. Percentage of T. ostriniae parasitized sentinel eggs was significantly higher in wasp release plots compared to non-release plots. T. ostriniae releases used in conjunction with habitat modification for ECB control in bell peppers appears to be a promising alternative to traditional insecticide-based strategies for small-acreage and organic farms. This study displays an example system utilizing conservation biological control at a landscape level for pest suppression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalRenewable Agriculture and Food Systems
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

Keywords

  • Habitat modification
  • Integrated pest management
  • Natural enemies
  • Ostrinia nubilalis
  • Trichogramma ostriniae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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