Parasitism of Corn Earworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), by Tachinid Flies in Cultivated Hemp

Armando Falcon-Brindis, John O. Stireman, Zenaida J. Viloria, Raul T. Villanueva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In a survey on hemp grown in western Kentucky we found an average of 27.8 CEW larvae per plant. We recorded 45% parasitism of CEW in these fields by two species of tachinid flies, Winthemia rufopicta and Lespesia aletiae. Most parasitized larvae were third to sixth instars at the time of collection. We found up to 22 tachinid eggs per host larva, 89% of which typically bore between 1 and 5 eggs on the thorax. 45.9% of CEW bearing eggs died. The number of tachinid eggs per host was unrelated to host body mass, but both the number of tachinid eggs and caterpillar body mass influenced CEW survival. Larger CEW often survived parasitism and the number of fly eggs was negatively related to survival rate. The emergence of adult flies was positively correlated with the number of eggs, but no influence of the host size was found. High mortality of CEW larvae and the parasitoids developing within them in this system suggests that secondary chemicals (or poor nutrition) of the hemp diet may be negatively affecting host and parasitoid development and influencing their interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number519
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Cannabis sativa
  • Lespesia
  • Tachinidae
  • Winthemia
  • biological control
  • bristle fly
  • superparasitism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science


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