Native and exotic siricid wasps (Hymenoptera: Siricidae) can be ecologically and/or economically important woodboring insects in forests worldwide. In particular, Sirex noctilio (F.), a Eurasian species that recently has been introduced to North America, has caused pine tree (Pinus spp.) mortality in its non-native range in the southern hemisphere. Native siricid wasps are known to have a rich complex of hymenopteran parasitoids that may provide some biological control pressure on S. noctilio as it continues to expand its range in North America. We reviewed ecological information about the hymenopteran parasitoids of siricids in North America north of Mexico, including their distribution, life cycle, seasonal phenology, and impacts on native siricid hosts with some potential efficacy as biological control agents for S. noctilio. Literature review indicated that in the hymenopteran families Stephanidae, Ibaliidae, and Ichneumonidae, there are five genera and 26 species and subspecies of native parasitoids documented from 16 native siricids reported from 110 tree host species. Among parasitoids that attack the siricid subfamily Siricinae, Ibalia leucospoides ensiger (Norton), Rhyssa persuasoria (L.), and Megarhyssa nortoni (Cresson) were associated with the greatest number of siricid and tree species. These three species, along with R. lineolata (Kirby), are the most widely distributed Siricinae parasitoid species in the eastern and western forests of North America. Depending upon certain abiotic and biotic factors, we hypothesize that these four parasitoid species may contribute to the biological control of S. noctilio. Major gaps exist regarding parasitoid ecology, including their taxonomy, distribution range, exact siricid and tree hosts, interactions with hosts, phenology, and chemoecology in forest stands. As S. noctilio continues to expand its distribution in North America, a better understanding of the biology of these parasitoids may be needed in coniferdominated landscapes.
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Vol. 41 • No. 4