In the southeastern United States, bud-infesting larvae of two gall midge species, Dasineura oxycoccana (Johnson) and Prodiplosis vaccinii (Felt), destroy from 20 to 80% of the rabbiteye blueberry crop, Vaccinium virgatum Aiton (syn. V. ashei Reade). These midge larvae are attacked by five species of parasitoid wasps. The most effective of these is the bivoltine eulophid Aprostocetus sp. nr. marylandensis (Eulophidae), whose adults constitute one-third of the gall midge parasitoids, active in both conventional and organic blueberry fields. Broods of Aprostocetus use several reproductive strategies to keep sole possession of their larval hosts. As solitary endoparasitoids as well as facultative hyperparasitoids, precocial larvae of Aprostocetus devour hosts organs along with any younger siblings and rival parasitoid broods. Although larger hosts are preferred, any sized larvae can be parasitized, which reduces brood congestion and infanticide. An Aprostocetus female spends an hour or more in a systematic hunt for hosts, during which time 40 to 100% of midge larvae encountered are parasitized. Aprostocetus females could have located hosts more quickly had they recognized host-feeding scars as cues. Even so, high rates of larval parasitism achieved by Aprostocetus may kill as many midges as insecticides do.
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