Bactericera cockerelli (Sulc) (Hemiptera: Triozidae) is a major pest of potato, (Solanum tuberosum L.), tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.), and peppers (Capsicum spp.). The purpose of our research was to identify and determine the impact of natural enemies on B. cockerelli population dynamics. Through 2 yr of field studies (2009–2010) at four different sites and laboratory feeding tests, we identified minute pirate bug, Orius tristicolor (White) (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae); western bigeyed bug, Geocoris pallens Stål (Hemiptera: Geocoridae), and convergent lady beetle, Hippodamia convergent Guérin-Méneville (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) as key natural enemies of B. cockerelli in southern California potatoes, tomatoes, and bell peppers. In natural enemy exclusion cage experiments in the potato crop and in American nightshade, Solanum americanum Miller, the number of B. cockerelli surviving was significantly greater in the closed cage treatments, thus confirming the affect natural enemies can have on B. cockerelli. We discuss how this information can be used in an integrated pest management program for B. cockerelli.
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Vol. 105 • No. 5