This study assessed the quality of three commercially available natural enemies used for pest management in greenhouses: the whitefly parasitoid Encarsia formosa Gahan (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae), the aphid parasitoid Aphidius colemani Viereck (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), and the aphid predatory midge Aphidoletes aphidimyza (Rondani) (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae). Shipment packaging was consistent for all natural enemies. However, there was high variability in delivery punctuality, product cost, and product information provided by each of the six selected companies. Product quantity, percentage of emergence upon arrival, percentage of total emergence, percentage of females, and percentage of flying insects were assessed using International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC) recommended procedures. The parameters with greatest variability between companies were percentage of emergence upon arrival (0.9–10.5%) and percentage of flying insects (35.4–85.0%) for E. formosa; product quantity (623.3–833.8 aphid mummies), percentage of emergence upon arrival (6.1–41.2%) and percentage of females (51.1–54.8%) for A. colemani; and percentage of emergence upon arrival (0.0–7.7%) and percentage of females (54.6–76.2%) for A. aphidimyza. Results are discussed in terms of the value to consumers and compared with IOBC standards.
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Vol. 97 • No. 3