Delphastus catalinae (Horn) is a coccinellid predator that is commercially sold for the management of whiteflies. A study was conducted to assay the effect of selected diets on the survival of adult D. catalinae. Treatments of water (as a control), 10% honey, honeydew, and whiteflies [Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius)] were provided to the beetles in laboratory assays. Newly emerged, unfed adult insects were used at the start of a survival experiment with trials lasting 50 d. Another survival experiment used mixed-aged adults from a greenhouse colony, and the trials lasted 21 d. Survival was poor on a diet of solely water; ≈1% survived beyond a week at 26°C Survival using the newly emerged insects was similar between those fed honeydew and honey diets, but those on the whitefly diet had the greatest survival (≈60% on day 50). However, in the experiment with mixed-aged beetles, adults on honey, and whitefly diets performed the same over a 21-d experiment. Excluding those on the water diet, survival of beetles on the various diets ranged from ≈50–80% after 21 d. In an open choice assay across 7 h, D. catalinae adults were found on the whitefly diet in a much greater incidence than on the other diets, and the number of beetles found on the whitefly diet increased over time. The data supports that when D. catalinae are employed in greenhouses or fields for whitefly management, during low prey populations, honeydew from the whitefly can help sustain the population of this predator. Moreover, a supplemental food such as a honey solution can help sustain the population of D. catalinae when the prey is decreased to low numbers. These results may help in the development of strategies to enhance the utility of predators for the management of whiteflies.
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Vol. 41 • No. 3