Azalea plant bug (Rhinocapsus vanduzeei Uhler) fifth instars and a commercially obtained green lacewing (Chrysoperla rufilabris Burmeister) first and second instars exhibited a type II functional response when caged with varying densities of fourth or fifth instar azalea lace bug, Stephanitis pyrioides (Scott), prey. Attack coefficients for combined fourth and fifth instar prey were statistically similar for R. vanduzeei and C. rufilabris (0.052 and 0.057, respectively). The handling time was significantly greater for R. vanduzeei (3.96 h) than C. rufilabris (2.41 h). Search efficiency generally declined for both predators as initial azalea lace bug density increased. C. rufilabris killed significantly more fourth and fifth instar prey than R. vanduzeei (8.0 and 6.0, respectively) in 24 h. Results indicate that C. rufilabris is a more suitable candidate for augmentative, not inoculative, release for azalea lace bug control than R. vanduzeei. However, R. vanduzeei can effect reductions in azalea lace bug populations in the landscape as a component of the guild of lace bug’s natural enemies and should be considered in conservation efforts.
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