Parasitism of Plutella xylostella (L.) third and fourth instars was evaluated in a cabbage field in Geneva, NY, in 1999. Over the entire season, average parasitism was 33.6% for third instars and 53.6% for fourth instars, and the main parasitoids were Diadegma insulare (Cresson) and Microplitis plutellae Muesbeck. In the early season, total parasitism was low, and mainly caused by D. insulare. However, later in the season, parasitism reached >80% for the fouth instars and 50% for the third instars. Our survey indicated that M. plutellae heavily parasitized P. xylostella, and provided higher parasitism rates than D. insulare in the late season. Comparison of these two species in laboratory bioassays indicated there were no significant differences in susceptibility to four insecticides commonly used in crucifer fields. For both parasitoids, an experience with P. xylostella on a damaged leaf increased their host-searching efficacy. Compared with M. plutellae, D. insulare was a better host-searcher both for the naive and the experienced adults. Although both parasitoids can cause high mortality rates of P. xylostella, D. insulare may be more suitable to be released in fields to enhance natural control against P. xylostella.
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Vol. 94 • No. 1