Baculoviruses and parasitoids are important biological control factors of insects in integrated pest management. Microplitis bicoloratus Chen (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Microgastrina) is a solitary endoparasitoid of beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) larvae. M. bicoloratus parasitized first to third instars of S. exigua and most effectively parasitized second instars. The survival rate of parasitoids emerging from S. exigua multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (SeMNPV)-infected hosts decreased with increasing SeMNPV doses at second to fourth instars. In addition, the mortality rate of the host was >80% when coinfected with SeMNPV and M. bicoloratus, regardless of virus doses or the timing of virus treatment. Occlusion body production was significantly reduced in parasitized hosts. A comparison of host weights showed that hosts coinfected with SeMNPV and M. bicoloratus were significantly lighter than those infected with SeMNPV alone, suggesting that the decrease in virus yield resulted from a reduction in larval growth. The viral genome copy number in parasitized host was significantly lower than that in nonparasitized host at 48 and 72 h postinfection. These results suggest that SeMNPV and M. bicoloratus are compatible as S. exigua control agents.
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Vol. 105 • No. 5