Three species of trichogrammatid egg parasitoids (Trichogramma deion Pinto & Oatman, Trichogramma ostriniae Pang & Chen, and Trichogramma pretiosum Riley) (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) were evaluated under laboratory conditions as potential biological control agents for the Indianmeal moth, Plodia interpunctella (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), on retail shelves. A single shelving unit was used in each trial and a grid of sentinel egg disks was used to evaluate foraging success. The shelving consisted of pallet units with five shelves that were either bare or stocked with empty cereal boxes. In each replicate, ≈500 female Trichogramma were released at the center of the shelving unit and allowed to forage for 48 h. Percentage of egg parasitism and percentage of host egg mortality were recorded after 7 d. Foraging success as well as the spatial pattern of parasitism differed significantly among the three Trichogramma species. Percentage of egg parasitism was ≈4 times greater for T. deion than for T. ostriniae or T. pretiosum. The vertical distribution of parasitism by T. deion was also more uniform than for the other two species. In addition, the presence of packaging affected the foraging efficiency of T. ostriniae and T. pretiosum but not T. deion. Based on these findings, Trichogramma deion may be the best-suited candidate for augmentative biological control of P. interpunctella in retail stores, and a central release point of T. deion will likely provide adequate coverage of products on pallet-type shelving.
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Vol. 100 • No. 2