The leafminer Liriomyza trifolii (Burgess) (Diptera: Agromyzidae) is a worldwide pest of ornamental and vegetable crops. The most promising nonchemical approach for controlling Liriomyza leafminers in greenhouses is regular releases of the parasitoid Diglyphus isaea (Walker) (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae). In the current study, we examine the hypothesis that the use of D. isaea for biological control of leafminers in greenhouse crops may be more practical and efficient when supplemented with additional control strategies, such as the sterile insect technique (SIT). In small cages, our SIT experiments suggest that release of sterile L. trifolii males in three sterile-to-fertile male ratios (3:1, 5:1, and 10:1) can significantly reduce the numbers of the pest offspring. In large cage experiments, when both parasitoids and sterile males were released weekly, the combined methods significantly reduced mine production and the adult leafminer population size. Moreover, a synergistic interaction effect between these two methods was found, and a model based on our observed data predicts that because of this effect, only the use of both methods can eradicate the pest population. Our study indicates that an integrated pest management approach that combines the augmentative release of the parasitoid D. isaea together with sterile leafminer males is more efficient than the use of either method alone. In addition, our results validate previous theoretical models and demonstrate synergistic control with releases of parasitoids and sterile insects.
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Vol. 99 • No. 4