We investigated the effects of temperature and relative humidity on population growth and development of the psocid Lepinotus reticulatus Enderlein. Part of this study assessed the effects of marking psocids by using methylene blue, chalk powder, and fluorescent powder to differentiate nymphal stages during development. We found that marking psocids by using methylene blue increased mortality and took twice as long to accomplish compared with marking by using fluorescent powder. Using chalk powder shortened the duration of third and fourth nymphal instars. Marking psocids by using fluorescent powder had no effect on mortality or duration of nymphal instars. Therefore, we recommend using fluorescent powder for marking psocids. L. reticulatus did not survive at 32, 43, and 55% RH, whereas populations increased from 22.5 to 32.5°C at 75% RH. The largest population growth was recorded at 30 and 32.5°C, whereas only 9% of nymphs developed to adults and populations declined at 35°C. We developed temperature-dependent developmental equations for eggs, individual nymphal, combined nymphal, and combined immature stages. These equations showed predicted optimal temperatures for the development of eggs, combined nymphal, and combined immature stages to be 32.3, 34.5, and 34.4°C, respectively; development at these temperatures was completed in 6.3, 16.7, and 23.3 d, respectively. Our study shows that psocids that consume their exuviae develop faster than those that do not, and this effect is more pronounced at lower temperatures. These data give us better understanding of L. reticulatus population dynamics, and they can be used to develop effective management strategies for this psocid.
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Vol. 101 • No. 2