Commercial shipments of Orius spp. (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) commonly include water and protein, the latter typically supplied by eggs from a moth such as Ephestia kuehniella (Zeller). To determine whether modified dietary conditions might improve predation, newly eclosed adult female Orius pumilio (Champion) were fed on E. kuehniella eggs plus encapsulated water, encapsulated 5% sucrose solution only, or encapsulated water only for periods of 24, 48, or 72 h. Feeding activity was assessed by measuring the area of a crop in digital images of dissected digestive tracts. Adult females fed continuously on eggs had larger crops than did females fed on encapsulated sucrose solution. When females were prefed encapsulated water or sucrose and then fed 3 h on eggs, their crops became highly engorged and were larger than those in females fed continuously on eggs for the same periods. In behavioral choice tests, adult females prefed on encapsulated water or 5% sucrose solution spent a larger portion of time in contact with eggs, presumably feeding, whereas females prefed on eggs showed no preference between eggs or encapsulated water. After overnight shipping, females prefed on water or sucrose and held for 48 h total consumed 3.6- and 4.3-fold, respectively, more western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande), in 3 h than those prefed on eggs. Survival rates when prefed on sugar or water were comparable with prefeeding on eggs. Thus, inundative releases of Orius can be enhanced by starvation, because females initially feed much more voraciously after shipment with no apparent reduction in fitness.
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