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14 August 2023 Augmentative biological control for squash bug (Hemiptera: Coreidae) using the egg parasitoid, Hadronotus pennsylvanicus (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae)
Sean M. Boyle, Scott Salom, Peter Schultz, Lorena Lopez, Donald C. Weber, Thomas P. Kuhar
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Abstract

The squash bug, Anasa tristis (De Geer) (Hemiptera: Coreidae), is a serious pest of cucurbit crops across the United States. Conventional growers commonly use broad-spectrum insecticides to manage squash bugs, however organic growers lack these effective chemical tools and must rely on alternative management strategies. Biological control of A. tristis is largely understudied, specifically the potential of natural enemy, Hadronotus pennsylvanicus (Ashmead) (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae), as an augmentative biological control agent. For this reason, we performed early-season field releases of H. pennsylvanicus on organic farms in southeastern Virginia to test if this would improve A. tristis egg parasitism. We chose organic vegetable farms growing summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) as release sites and nearby Virginia Tech Agricultural Research Extension Centers (AREC) as no-release sites. Parasitoids were reared in the lab and deployed as parasitized egg masses (∼2–3 females wasps/plant) in June 2020 and 2021. Before parasitoid deployment, host eggs collected from release and no-release sites displayed low levels of H. pennsylvanicus parasitism in 2020 (<21%) and 2021 (<8%). In both years, the percentage of A. tristis eggs parasitized within 2 weeks post deployment was significantly greater at release sites (∼60%) than at no-release sites (∼14%). High rates of H. pennsylvanicus parasitism (>72%) were further observed at release sites 4, 6, 8, and 10 weeks following parasitoid deployment. Our study demonstrates that releases of lab-reared H. pennsylvanicus can increase A. tristis egg parasitism rates and subsequently decrease successful nymph hatch rates in early summer squash plantings.

Sean M. Boyle, Scott Salom, Peter Schultz, Lorena Lopez, Donald C. Weber, and Thomas P. Kuhar "Augmentative biological control for squash bug (Hemiptera: Coreidae) using the egg parasitoid, Hadronotus pennsylvanicus (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae)," Environmental Entomology 52(5), 779-786, (14 August 2023). https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvad079
Received: 13 February 2023; Accepted: 8 August 2023; Published: 14 August 2023
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KEYWORDS
cucurbit
integrated pest management
natural enemy
parasitism rate
squash bug
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