Seasonal abundance of resident parasitoids and predatory flies, and corresponding soybean aphid, Aphis glycines Matsumura (Hemiptera: Aphididae), densities were assessed in soybean fields from 2003 to 2006 at two locations in lower Michigan. Six parasitoid and nine predatory fly species were detected in 4 yr by using potted plants infested with soybean aphid placed in soybean fields. The parasitoid Lysiphlebus testaceipes Cresson (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) and the predatory flies Aphidoletes aphidimyza Rondani (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), and Allograpta obliqua Say (Diptera: Syrphidae) were most numerous. Generally, L. testaceipes was more abundant late in the soybean growing season, but it also occurred during soybean vegetative growth; A. obliqua was more abundant during vegetative growth; and A. aphidimyza was common throughout the season. Soybean plants were visually inspected to estimate densities of soybean aphid, mummified aphids, and immature predatory flies. From 2003 to 2006, parasitism rates were inversely correlated with aphid density: percentage of parasitism was always very low (≤0.1%) at high aphid densities (>100 aphids per plant), and higher parasitism, up to 17%, was observed at very low aphid densities (<1 aphid per plant). Populations of immature predatory flies, particularly A. aphidimyza, generally increased in soybean fields with increasing soybean aphid populations, but aphids always outnumbered immature flies by 100–21,000-fold when flies were detected. Rearing field-collected aphid in 2006 substantiated that parasitism varied widely, with parasitism in most cases <10%. Based on findings of low parasitism and predation, positive response to changing aphid densities by predatory flies but not parasitoids, early season abundance primarily of predatory flies, and past findings on these taxa’s diversity and abundance, we discuss the potential use of exotic parasitoids and predatory flies to enhance soybean aphid biological control.
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Vol. 101 • No. 2